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Using Evidence Based Practice to guide the use of apps for Articulation

With the release of touch devices by Apple, inc and the development of several applications that target speech and sound disorders, speech therapists have the opportunity to deliver engaging therapy sessions. The feedback heard from speech therapists on how these devices have signicantly improved the quality and efciency of their services does not directly translate into the awareness of how these applications are not only a fun therapy tool that will maintain the students attention and interest for longer periods of time, but are also the result of the integration between evidence based research and one of the most advanced pieces of technology of the century. With over 14 applications for articulation on the app store, speech and language pathologists have the opportunity to deliver more entertaining articulation sessions that provide automatic feedback to us as clinicians as well as to the student. Articulation applications range from basic memory games to more complex apps that were designed to analyze and determine patterns in speech errors.

For Speech Therapy

Smarty Ears was founded in December of 2009 by Barbara Fernandes, a practicing Speech-Language Pathologist certied by the American Speech and Hearing Association. Smarty Ears was the rst company to create apps geared towards speech therapy for mobile devices.

Articulation & Phonology

All rights reserved to Smarty Ears




The Sunny Ar/cula/on Phonology Test (SAPT) is an individually administered qualita/ve clinical tool for screening, iden/ca/on, diagnosis and follow-up evalua/on of ar/cula/on skills in English speaking individuals. The Sunny Ar/cula/on Phonology Test can be used with individuals of all age groups. The Sunny Ar/cula/on Phonology Test is compa/ble with the iPhone, iPod Touch & the iPad.

This is not a test for determining eligibility- it is not standardized. This is a test used

for identifying patterns of speech errors.

The Sunny Ar+cula+on Test can be used to: - Collect informa/on regarding an individuals ar/cula/on skills; - Supplement data of a standardized ar/cula/on measure; - Determine the presence of an ar/cula/on disorder; - Measure treatment ecacy; - Determine a follow up therapy plan; - Quick administra/on of ar/cula/on screening; - Screens ar/cula/on skills to determine needs for further assessment.

Features of the Sunny Articulation Phonology Test:

a. Ability to enter students name and track progress over /me; b. Tests all phonemes of the English language including clusters; c. Oers two op/ons: Screening & Full Assessment d.Ability to record students produc/on with the same tool you are using to administer test; e.Complements informa/on of standardized measures; f. E-mail test results immediately aLer administra/on;

g.Automa/c analysis of speech produc/on by: i. Manner ii.Phoneme iii.Posi/on in the word iv. Voicing Features v. Error type/phonological processes on Full assessment only.
It provides immediate posi/ve feedback to

students throughout the test administra/on; Sample recording of target word is available as you touch each image; Compa/ble with the iPod Touch, iPhone & iPad; Ability to add notes on the app during the assessment.

Understanding the Sunny Articulation Phonology Test:

Transcribed word on top of the screen Note Taking capabilities

Voice Recorder

Sunny is an universal application which makes it fully compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad.

Target Word

How to enter the data on the Sunny Articulation Phonology Test:

1. As soon as you hear that the student is making an error on a specific sound; click on the green transcribed phoneme. A new window will pop-up and ask you to select one of the options: a. Deleted b. Substituted c. Distorted d. A specific phonological process

Simply select the error accordingly and go to the next image.

The Results:
Automatic analyses of speech errors is a dream come true to speech pathologists. The Sunny Articulation Phonology Test provides a detailed analyses of the childs speech abilities that can be e-mailed or printed right after the assessment containing information in six categories: 1. Position in the word; 2. Manner of Articulation 3. Voicing Features 4. Errors within specific words 5. Place of articulation 6. Types of Errors/ Phonological processes 7. Overall intelligibility

The Results (continuation):

This is a view of the results screen for manner of articulation. On the example provided the student is 60% accurate when producing liquid sounds. When you look closely you notice that majority of the errors were on the final position of the /r/ phoneme; therefore the problem in this case is not the fact that the sounds are liquids, but specifically final /r/.

Note the list of the transcribed words targeted. The phonemes in green are phonemes produced accurately; the phonemes in red were missed. The error/phonological process is presented next to the word.

The Voicing tab allows therapists to identify if articulation difficulties are related to voicing features of the phonemes.

The error type tab allows clinicians to identify the types of errors demonstrated by client.

The EVIDENCE: Phonetic placement has been shown to be effective for teaching a child how to say a new sound. (Powel, Elbert, Miccio, Strike-Roussos, & Brasseur, 1998).
This is a 3D demonstration of all sounds in the English language.Speech Trainer 3D is a tool designed to help individuals to practice every sound in the English language, including vowels and consonants. With detailed 3D animations that demonstrate the correct positioning of the tongue, lips, and mouth, it is a great model for children and adults who wish to work on learning to pronounce the English sounds correctly. This is a great visual tool for individuals who have suffered a stroke and are relearning speech, children with speech delays, or even as a tool for learning English as a second language. Speech Trainer 3D demonstrates the sounds in two views: Front and Side View. Speech Trainer uses the International Phonetics Alphabet, which is the best way to represent each sound. Speech Coach has 32 sounds represented; 23 consonants and 7 vowels. With this application speech pathologists can help students visualize manner and placement for all sounds in English.

Using the camera on the iPad 2 to provide feedback:

Speech Trainer uses the iPad 2 front camera as a video mirror to provide students an opportunity to visualize themselves while producing each sound.

Correct placement is essential to progress.

Bauman-Waengler (2004); Secord (2007)

Articulate it! is an application designed to help children practice their pronunciation skills. Articulate it! provides over 1 thousand target words, with associated images and audio modeling organized into three main categories: Phonemes, Phonological Processes, and Mode of Articulation.
Home practice has always been a challenge for speech therapists that usually have to find time on their already limited agenda to set up homework, and lists of words to send for home practice. ASHA, 2004 demonstrated that home practice leads to significantly faster progress and generalization. Articulate it! not only provides an immediate list of words for practice that can be sent home to facilitate generalization, but with the app store parents also have access to tools for at home practice which can be shared on a daily basis with SLPs for monitoring progress and generalization.

While applications provide a more practical and contextualized therapy session it also has its pitfalls: the need for ong oing research as new technology is developed and the temptation of the SLP to forget that they are still the therapist. Innovation in any field will first face the lack of research. They are almost in opposite sides of the spectrum. However, as more therapists use it, keep data, and explore its potential, we will soon be able to demonstrate the evidence of the therapy tool of the new millennium.

Articulate it! and the Evidence:

We know what works...
Mass practice is essential to progress (Skelton, 2004). With over 1 thousand target words in very portable and organized placed, speech pathologists can provide drill therapy and mass practice to students, while keeping data and engaging the student. 2. According to Ertmer & Ertmer, 1998, Cognitive monitoring of speech production is essential to progress.

TIP: Articulate it! also allows for

individual goal selection, and individual targets in a group setting; therefore when tr ying to build cognitive monitoring, clinicians can also facilitate that group members monitor each others productions.

Articulate it! provides two ways to guide students to monitor their productions: Students are able to check correct or incorrect for each time they produced the words which allows them actively monitor their production. Students are also able to record their own voice during practice and play it back for immediate feedback. It is also possible to compare their own productions to the production of an adult speaker built in the application as they touch the image. 3.It does appear that the decision to work on patterns of speech errors is more efcient and effective than teaching sounds one at a time (Almost & Rosenbaum, 1998; Bernhardt & Major, 2005; Hodson & Paden, 1983, Major & Bernhardt, 1998; Pamplona, Ysunza, & Espinoza, 1999) Articulate it! is the only application that allows Speech Therapists to group sounds by Manner of Articulation. We have also the selected words based on specific phonological processes: such as devoicing, weak syllable deletion, etc..

Articulate it! contains over 1 thousand images in all sounds of the English language! Let's take a closer look at the main features of Articulate it:

Over 1 thousand pictures and target words


Note taking capability: allows SLPs and parents to take notes during practice.

Ability to track multiple students at the same time with separate goals;


Offers word, phrase & sentence level

5.Ability to group sounds

by Manner of articulation, syllable number or phonological processes;


Extremely specic results screens: gives you percentages based on phonemes/ position in the words/ which words were missed and more...

Contains ALL consonants in the English language;




recorder allows the children to compare their productions to the audio recording;

Export Results to iBooks, TRC, email or printer.




Compatible with

12. It contains a
flashcard mode and a matching game

recordings for every word, phrase, or sentence on this app! You child can practice saying their sounds on their own by repeating the voice on the app;

the Therapy Report Center

13. The best app on the market

Record the voice of your student as you practice:

Target word/phrase/ sentence and image

List of students on the session

Using Articulate it to implement data driven therapy and establish

Speech and Language Pathologists are able to access a very detailed result summary after each session. Articulate it! analyses the data, and saves all the sessions and all the voice recordings from the sessions. Speech Therapists are able to e-mail the data immediately after the therapy session. This data can be used to demonstrate progress, and share with parents. One very handy feature on Articulate it! is Words to Work on section, which were collected based on each session. These words can be transformed into a immediate home work list. If more than one student was present on the session, each student will have their own results summary. This data will be saved on the device until the therapist chooses to delete it. This is the end of paper and pencil tallying!

therapy plans:

1. E-mail results : Keep a back up of your data. You never know when something could happen to your iPad or iPhone; 2. Review words after the session; 3. Send home the list of words practiced as home work to optimize practice; 4.Export your data to the Therapy Report Center - A free app

Articulate it! allows you to e-mail the results instantly though email. If you have recommended this application to parents; you can ask them to share the results of every practice with you. This way you can monitor carry over of targeted skills.


Articulation Scenes comes with 72 stunning built-in scenes and over 1200 practice words. Each scene contains 4 separate activities: 1.Find the hidden items: Allows children the opportunities to listen to targeted words and find them on each scene. 2.Tap and say it: Children tap on the items on the scene, which are isolated allowing the therapist to track and monitor their productions. 3.The movie theater: Children get the opportunity to listen to a story using the target words. 4.The production room: This is the activity that allows children to either create their own stories, record them and continue to practice.

Articulation Scenes includes features that are not generally found in any other articulation apps, which make it very unique. The ability to target the phonemes at the word level is a given on any scene, the app includes models for word level practice. Production can easily be prompted at the phrase and sentence level by addressing target phonemes in the context they appear. The production room also provides a story level sample story for each scene. The students have two options to practice correct pronunciation and also narrative skills.

Comparing Articulation Therapy Apps:


When choosing an app for your articulation therapy, many times speech therapists feel tempted to search for the app with the most features. It is important to compare the features, and analyze them to understand which features are important to you as a clinician. Many speech therapists do not need an application that will provide group therapy features such as Articulate it, and will be fine with an app that only allows for individual therapy. I have provided a table that compares two articulation applications developed by Smarty Ears to serve as a starting pointing when shopping for your articulation application on the app store. Sometimes, you will see that just as you probably have more than one deck of cards, you will also want to purchase more than one articulation application.

Articulate it!
Total number of images: 1600

Articulation Scenes
74 scenes

Levels of practice:

word, phrases & sentence

word, conversation, narrative, reading.

Age group:

All age groups


Number of activities:

Phoneme selection mode:

phoneme, number of syllables, manner of articulation & phonological processes

phoneme, position in the word

Built in voice recorder?



The flexibility of the menu was what seemed to grab public school therapists interest the most, particularly the ability to work with multiple students. "You mean I can have one student working on phonological process while the other is working on a specific sound?" said one therapist in disbelief as she watched the app automatically take turns between the two students for whom she had selected different goals. "How many students can I work with at once?" she immediately asked energetically imagining its practicality in her classroom. Articulate it! in its current version allows up to four students with specific goals for each student including one or more phonemes, one or more types of speech errors or one or more mode of articulation.

Source: New iPad Apps for Speech Therapy and Communication were a Highlight of ASHA 2010 Convention

R Intensive SLP was developed as a result of intensive requests made by our Speech Therapists. Smarty Ears is aware of the high incidence of students seen for their difficulties with /r/. This phoneme is one of the hardest phonemes for children to master. The speech-language pathologist in conjunction with the parents can use this application for helping the child practice correct pronunciation of the various types of /r/. This application can give children the motivation they need to continue practice and eventual mastery of this phoneme.
R Intensive contains 3 exciting activities:
1.Flashcards: Allows practice of the r at the word, phrase, and sentence levels. Multiplayer mode supports 1-4 players with individual targets for each student. 2.Matching game: 45 rows of cards (20 card decks) make working on your favorite type of R a skill of memory and articulation. Supports 1-4 players per game. 3.Guess What game: students will have fun guessing which R word is described, while at the same time practicing their articulation. If the description clue is ever too difficult simply tap on the hidden image to reveal the answer. Supports 1-4 players.

Other little things that make this app great:

a.Store, review, and email report cards from sessions. b.Print report cards directly from the app (when using an air ready printer) c.Student report cards feature easy to read graphs for the flash card activity that make analyzing results and progress simple and clear. d.Import a student photo, or choose from one of 50 quality avatars to represent the player. e.Quick play feature allows those unconcerned with student profiles or data tracking a quick way to start a session. f.Multiplayer capability-All three activities (flashcards, matching, and guess what) can support up to four players. g.Easy to use, intuitive user interface h.Build in video tutorial

None of the apps on this document require WI-FI connection. Once you download them to your device you will not need to be connected to the internet to use them in therapy.

Data collection?
PLC offers two types of data collection. In the Standard scoring style, the correct, almost, missed buttons are displayed on the screen. In the Level of Prompts style, the buttons provided are prompted, imitated, and correct. A simple tap of the button keeps data for each student. PLC provides the opportunity to maximize productions by allowing each word to be scored more than once and each child to say more than one word per turn.

Phono Learning Center (PLC) is not just another articulation app. PLC is based on the evidence-based Cycles technique used specically for those children who are unintelligible due to a sound-system disorder. Developed and designed by a certied speech-language pathologist trained in Cycles, PLC is a multi-player app that is colorful, fun, and easily adapted to t cycles or a traditional therapy approach.

The Purpose
PLC was designed to assist in sound production therapy for students who are highly unintelligible. PLC takes into careful consideration the theory behind Cycles and the coarticulation of target words1. A hierarchy of primary and secondary targets developed by Barbara W. Hodson (2010) was utilized to determine which patterns and phonemes would be targeted.

Because PLC is a multi-user application, it is perfect for group sessions. PLC allows data to be collected on multiple utterances for each student allowing for maximum therapy benet2 without losing the ease in data collection.

Four fun games

Auditory Bombardment Data collection for each student Literacy enhancement through visual print

I am a bilingual speech pathologist, and for those of you who work with Spanish-speaking children you know how frustrating it can be trying to get ready for therapy. Most of the time we are limited to two options: live translation of English materials or spending hours creating our own Spanish materials. The limited resources in Spanish pushes us to creating our own materials on a daily basis. This can be very difcult for us with an already very limited time on our hands to serve so many children. Thats why I created Smarty SpanishArtik!

This app allows therapists and parents to work on specic sounds. It works like ashcards. It contains over 500 ashcards in it separated by specic phonemes, mode of articulation, and phonological processes. This is a very useful app not only for bilingual therapists, but also for English-speaking clinicians who should work on speech errors in both languages when treating children with articulation delays.

Results are tracked overtime and can be printed or emailed.

Smarty Speech-Spanish is an universal application which makes it fully compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad.

These results can be shared between therapist and parents.

1. Each deck of cards represents a specic sound; 2. Contains all different types of r sounds; 3. Audio recording for all images with different voice characters; 4. Several difculty levels; 5. Over 1500 images in the whole app; 6. Contains a set for /s/ and /r/ clusters; 7. Universal app: Fully compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and the iPad.


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