While there are several articulation apps available for speech-language pathologists to use on their iPhones or iPads, the new app Articulation Station is the clear choice for children’s speech therapists. I love this app and so does our team of speech-language pathologists at Chicago Speech Therapy. If you download and use this app – you will not be disappointed!
Articulation Station was developed by Heidi Hanks, a speech-language pathologist and creator of the acclaimed blog MommySpeechTherapy.com. Her engaging and extraordinarily well-designed app brings together the best elements of existing speech therapy apps while adding innovative new features to make the quintessential tool for therapists. There are so many wonderful features, it is hard to know where to begin!
The app is designed to focus on a single target sound at a time and features six different activities, broken down into word, sentence, and story levels for each sound. In addition, you can select the position of the target sound you would like to work with: the beginning, middle or end or the word. At the word level, the child can practice the sound with both a flashcard and a matching setting. The sentence level offers fixed sentences with rotating target words, or unique sentences that incorporate the sound. Stories use the sound in both short and long stories to accommodate different learning levels. The bright, colorful pictures are easy to identify and a clear, pleasant voice pronounces the word or sentence with a tap if the child does not yet read.
What really sets this app apart for speech therapists are the nuances that enhance the learning experience above other apps. In addition to a sleek look and fun, beautiful pictures, the sounds in Articulation Station are designed specifically help and encourage kids. The sound for a correct answer is bright and affirmative and the sound for an incorrect answer is a simple, low-pitched tone so you can easily move on. This little detail makes all the difference by letting a child know that their answer is incorrect without discouraging a child with a harsh sound or a disappointed “aw”.
In both the matching and flashcard sections of the word level, the sound cards stay in place after you have flipped them over until you choose to move on. This gives therapists a chance to continue to work with a sound to reinforce the child’s correct choice, instead of the cards immediately flipping away. The word level also allows you to record the child saying the sound. Children greatly benefit from the feedback of hearing their own voice saying the sound and find it motivating.
The sentence and the story level both make excellent use of the technique of auditory bombardment. This fills the sentence and the story with many occurrences of the target sound to maximize practice and familiarity with the sound. Pre-made sentences like “Shelly shopped for the ____” reinforce the “sh” sound twice before even reaching the target word. The stories as well are jam-packed with the target sound.
Perhaps the most innovative and exciting feature of Articulation Station is the spinner that determines which word will fill the blank in the rotating sentence level. Kids love watching the pictures spin around and anticipating which object it will land on. The same stimulating pictures accompany the words in the sentences and the first level of the story activities to help younger children who are not yet reading.
Beyond pure articulation help, the app incorporates a reading comprehension component to the story levels. Three questions for each story help the child demonstrate critical thinking about the content of the story while again going over the sound in the phrasing of both the question and the answer. Pictures help pre-readers with the questions as well.
Articulation Station makes the work of therapists infinitely easier by simplifying the logistic challenges of therapists so that they can better focus on the child. The app eliminates the need to carry and organize hundreds of flashcards, already has quality sentences and stories prepared for each sound, and has an easy, unobtrusive scoring system that that allows the therapist to track progress without detracting from the lesson. The therapist simply touches a button and the child’s score is automatically recorded. Later, the report can be emailed or uploaded to a computer for further use.
So many wonderful features make Articulation Station the new favorite app at Chicago Speech Therapy! The bright, stimulating pictures and pleasant, encouraging sounds and graphics support the detailed, thorough and well-organized content of Heidi Hanks’ fantastic new app. Speech therapists will love it, and parents, working with their children’s therapists, will love using it with their kids!
To learn more about Articulation Station and watch a video tutorial, go to www.LittleBeeSpeech.com, you can also read more about the new app on www.MommySpeechTherapy.com or purchase it directly on itunes by “clicking here“.