Monday, July 17, 2017

Speech Blubs {app review}

A few months ago, I wrote a post about an app called First Blubs.  It was an app designed for early communicators to begin to imitate animal sounds.  The developers of this app have decided to discontinue First Blubs and focus their efforts on a new app called Speech Blubs.  Check out the new one below.

Let's get really honest and blunt for a second.  This is something I think you all need to know up front.  Normally, I don't post negative reviews.  However, I think it is important for me to post this, as I reviewed their first one and my name has been used in their marketing of this app.

The app is moving to a subscription-based model, where it will cost $9.99/month after a free trial. That's $119.88 per year! The previous app was a one-time cost of $6.99.  I do not agree with this model and think it is extremely overpriced.  So that being said, I cannot recommend this app. I don't think it's worth what they are asking, just to be 100% transparent. I find it extremely hard to believe that SLPs and parents would be willing to pay that price for this app.

So with that being said, here is what the new app is all about.  It is again an app designed for early communicators.  When you first start, the app will take you through a screener based on the child's age.

Based on the results of the screener, recommendations are made.  It says, "Therapist recommends," but I'm not sure who this "therapist" is since the app was not developed by a speech-language pathologist.  It is also somewhat misleading, as no app should replace speech and language therapy.  I also would like for me, as a therapist, to be able to change the recommendation.

The app currently has 3 different areas to practice: Early Sounds, Mouth Gym, First Words.  All of them are video modeling with elementary-age kids.  Early sounds is very similar to First Blubs in that kids will imitate animal sounds.  In Mouth Gym, kids will imitate speech sounds.  In First Words, kids will imitate simple words.

-video modeling can be effective
-the use of stickers, animals, and silly hats is engaging

Things to Update:
-the price to a one-time cost and not a subscription-based model
-to be able to change the time recommendations for practice
-not all models of the words and sounds are ideal--some are held out or the incorrect production of the sound

So you can decide for yourself if this app is worth it.   I would recommend doing a trial first to play with the app.  If you choose not to continue, make sure you delete the app and cancel the subscription prior to the 7th day.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Coming in November...

If you follow my Instagram account, you may have already seen this announcement:

My husband and I are expecting a sweet baby girl in November of this year!  We are so so so excited and blessed to be welcoming this little one into our family. Stay tuned for our story and pictures of her (once she's here).

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Social Detective Intermediate {app review}

I'll admit that I struggle with finding ideas for my older clients that are still working on social skills.  It can be hard to find ideas that are relevant to what they deal with on a daily basis.  I recently had the opportunity to check out the Social Detective Intermediate app, and it has been a great way to address their goals while still being relevant.  Check it out below.

This app is a companion to the You are a Social Detective book by Michelle Garcia Winner and Pamela Crooke.  It is part of the Social Thinking curriculum.  The primary focus of this app is to help clients determine the emotions of various people in given scenarios and make "smart guesses" about what they think each person will do next.

You customize it by allowing each client to choose an avatar that looks somewhat like that or that they want to use.

In the Notebook section, there are 42 questions about video scenarios.  Clients will determine a person's interpretation of the situation, identify his/her feelings, and make a smart guess about what the other person in the situation is going to do next.  Clients are given 4 answer choices to help them make the best possible guess.  These 42 questions allow for a lot of practice of these skills.

In the Flashlight section, clients will practice these skills more.  These are more video situations with a similar set up to the notebook session.  There are 41 questions in this section, which allows for a lot more practice.

Overall, this is a great app companion to You are a Social Detective.  We use the Social Thinking curriculum a lot, so it fits right in with what we are already doing and the vocabulary that my clients already know.  It is a great way for my clients to practice their social skills and target goals that they are working on with me.  It is engaging, and my clients enjoy watching the video scenarios.  I like that some of the scenarios show kids doing what's expected, and some show kids doing what's unexpected.   It definitely helps to have a background in the Social Thinking so that the vocabulary used doesn't seem strange.

Some of the scenarios are a little "young" for my older kids, but they are still a good way to practice.  I would also love for the video quality to be a little better, but my clients still understood the point of each one and what was happening.

I would love it if there were a way to have multiple students using it at one time.  It saves data for individuals, but I would love a multi-player option.  I've been making it work by having one client complete one video situation and then pass it to the next person.

If you are interested in purchasing this app, it is currently $19.99 in the App Store.  You can download it here:


Note: A copy of this app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine.  Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. 

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Building Communication E-Seminar {Hanen CEU review}

I have had many learning opportunities from Hanen, and I was excited to be with them in person two weekends ago for More Than Words.  I cannot wait to share my thoughts on that training with you, so be sure to check back soon. 

Today, I'm partnering with Hanen to bring you a different opportunity.  They just released a brand-new e-seminar called Building Communication: Supporting Parents of Preschoolers with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Social Communication Difficulties. It's a good one that you don't want to miss. 

How It Works:
You purchase access to the seminar online, via the Hanen website.  Then, you may view the videos within 30 days. This particular course is 5 hours in length and is broken up into 3 different videos.  You may watch it at your speed.  This is perfect for busy SLPs who may only have an hour or two at a time. 

The Course: 

The course objectives are for participants to: 
  • Explain the importance of including parents and caregivers in early intervention with children with autism or social communication difficulties.
  • Describe the four stages of communication included in the More Than Words Program.
  • Identify possible communication goals for each of these communication stages.
  • Describe three key interaction strategies known to support communication and help children achieve their communication goals.
  • Establish collaborative discussions with parents and caregivers and empower them to play a primary role.

This course meets all of its objectives listed above.  It provides many strategies for SLPs to introduce to parents.  Also included are handouts to give to parents.  Lisa is a great presenter and held my attention the entire time.  She does a fantastic job of explaining background information and the most recent research.  

If you've been thinking about participating in a More Than Words training, this is a great starting point to get a little bit of a preview of it.  

If you are interested in participating in this course, click below.  Five hours of learning for $85 is a good deal! 

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Articulation Essentials {app review}

My students love using the iPad, and I love articulation apps that have words/phrases/sentences all in one spot for me.  It makes for some easy planning on those busy days, as well.  I'm always excited when new ones come out and was excited when the developers of Articulation Essentials contacted me to review their app.

Articulation Essentials is a brand new articulation app out now!  It is very similar to other articulation apps out there, such as Articulation Station or Articulate It.  It is very user friendly and contains several fun games for the kids.

You can watch an overview here:

On the main page, select the target sound.  Then, select the level--words, sentences, or phrases.

Under Word-Level 1, you have the choice of two activities: flashcards or matching.  With each activity, you can mark the accuracy: correct, almost, or incorrect.  The app will track the data for you and save under the child's name.

Under Words-Level 2, you have two more choices of activities: Find the Sound or Sound Hunt.  Under Find the Sound, the student will determine if the target sound is in the initial, medial, or final position.  This is a great activity for readers, but non-readers may have some difficulty reading the buttons.

In Sound Hunt, you tap the image to hear the word.  You double tap if the target sound is in the selected position.  The buttons will turn green if correct and red if incorrect.

For the phrase and sentence levels, there are only flashcards.  The target word is highlighted in a different color to make it stand out.

The data is compiled by date, so you can easily track progress.

Overall, Articulation Essentials is easy to use and provides many opportunities for children to practice their speech sounds.  There are multiple levels to help with carryover.  Every sound is included for the low price of $9.99.  It is perfect for group settings because you can have up to 5 players at once.

For future updates, I would like to see symbols/images to accompany the position names in the Find the Sound game.  This would allow non-readers to participate more easily.

If you would like to try this app out prior to purchasing it, you can download the lite version:

If you are interested in purchasing this app, here's an affiliate link for your convenience:


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Note: A copy of the app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

CEU Course: Helping Parents of Late Talkers Use Gestures

I've had an influx of "late talkers" recently, so I've been looking for some continuing education courses in that area.  I'm going to the Hanen Centre's More Than Words program in April, which will be fantastic, I'm sure.  Hanen also has an e-seminar called Helping Parents of Late Talkers Use Gestures to Support Expressive Language Development.

Here's the description from The Hanen Centre:
"It’s well recognized that children’s gesture use is an important part of their expressive language development. What’s also well known is that children tend to use more gestures when they have parents who do the same. But for parents who are not natural gesturers, it can be difficult to consistently incorporate gestures into interactions with their child.
This e-Seminar explores what is known about the connection between gesture use and the development of word combinations, and helps you develop a plan of action for supporting parents of Late Talkers to add specific gesture types to their verbal language models to encourage their child’s expressive language development."
This seminar reviews the various types of gestures, the developmental milestones, and then how to teach kids gestures.   The course is full of videos to help you learn exactly what she is talking about.  The presenter also provides a lot of research/resources throughout.

Overall, this course was extremely helpful to me. I learned a ton of information that I did not know before. I can take this information and put it into practice today. I will now be looking at gestures more, include them in my therapy, and stress the importance with parents.  This course is 2 hours in length and can be done in the comfort of your home on you time.  I would definitely recommend this course to anyone who is working with late talkers.

If you are interested in taking this course, you can find more information here.  The Hanen Centre is graciously offering 40% off to all Home Sweet Speech room readers now through April 7, 2017. Just enter the code HSSR40.  That means you get 0.2 CEUs for only around $50! Super cheap for a great course.

Note: Access to this course was provided for me to review the course. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 

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Friday, March 3, 2017

First Blubs {app review}

I have a lot of apps that are geared toward older kids working on some higher level skills.  I don't have many apps for younger kids that are also specifically designed for speech therapy.  I was excited to see First Blubs, which is designed for those early communicators.

Affiliate links may be included for your convenience. 

First Blubs is designed to help young children begin to imitate animal noises. This is a goal I work on a lot with my late talkers.  The app is designed to use peer models. A child will watch videos of children saying the animal noises.

Then, the child has a turn to try the sound.  They will "become" the animal that they are imitating.

As a reward for watching the videos several times, a child receives a sticker, funny videos, or animal facts.

When you have completed the sound, you receive a sticker to place on the main page.

You can watch it in action here:

Overall, First Blubs is a very simple app to use.  It is engaging for young children.  My clients loved the ability to turn the camera around onto them and "become" the animal they were imitating.  It is a fun, new way to practice one of their goals.

In future updates, I would love for there to be a multi-user function that would save the stickers that each child has completed.  Additionally, not all of the sounds are true English sounds, especially the vowels.  I would really like to see accurate models of the sounds.

If you are interested, this app is FREE to download and has an in-app purchase of $6.99 for all animals or $0.99/animal.

Blub Blub has generously offered to give TWO readers a code for all of the animals.  Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: A copy of this app was provided for my review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed are mine. 

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