Countdown to the Holidays-Speech Buddies Review

On the 2nd day of posting this Speech Lady gave to me, some tools that help speech sounds. 
The generous people over at Articulate Technologies sent me Speech Buddies to trial with my kids.  I had been hearing about these tools for quite sometime and had only heard positive reviews about them.  So naturally I was super excited when I was given the opportunity to try them. 

Speech Buddies is a set of tools designed to target the five most difficult speech sounds R, S, SH, CH, L.  The tools are designed to teach proper tongue placement through the method of tactile bio-feedback.

I tried all of them on myself first so that I would know how to use them properly with my students.  Each specific sound tool has detailed instructions on proper placement and method in which to achieve each sound.  Below is a table provided in the pamphlet, but each tool has more detailed written descriptions on how to use them. 
I was really excited to use the /l/ speech tool with one of my kids that was really struggling to achieve proper placement.  I was nervous the child wasn't going to let me use the tool, but he thought it was pretty cool.  We used the tool the entire 45 minute session and by the end of it, he didn't need the tool to get /l/ in the initial position of words.   After seeing what these tools could do I was excited to try out the others.  Next up was the /s/ tool.  I was working with a child that has an interdental lisp.  I was worried he would just push the tool right out of his mouth as his tongue moved forward.  The first couple times that is exactly what happend, but then after some verbal prompting and pulling out the mirror he got the sound spot on. It started in isolation and then by the end of the session we were able to get an /s/ in CV words.  After perusing the Speech Buddies website I saw a testimonial that suggested using the "ch" tool to elicit /k/ and /g/.  I was excited to try this as any velar sound is difficult to show and/or describe to children.   This one was a bit more tricky as my student wanted to push it out with his tongue the whole time, but at the end we got that /k/!
Fortunately for me and unfortunately for my review, I do not have any children working on the /r/.  I work with pre-school aged children so /r/ goals are few and far between.  That being said I used the /r/ tool on myself as if I turned my /r/ to a /w/ and was able to understand and appreciate all this tool can do for that pesky sound. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how effective these tools really are.  That tactile reinforcement that you get from using these is so beneficial, especially for my preschoolers.  My preschoolers tend to have difficulty and lack the attention that is required to listen to me describe and watch how to appropriately achieve placement for these sounds.  They are enthralled with these tools.  I don't blame them, because finally they have success with a sound they're working on!

Another great resource from Articulate Technologies is the Speech Buddy Blog.  They've got some great articles and information for SLPs and parents. 

If you are still skeptical about these tools, here is the research that Articulate Technologies provides on their website. 

I'm really excited to continue using these tools and they have become quite a hit in our speech office.  I have a lot of materials that I've collected over my short time as an SLP and these are by far the items I get asked the most for.  Do any of you use Speech Buddies? Which one have you had the most success using?

Thanks Articulate Technologies!

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