Archive for October 2011

New iPad App Provides Convenient Visual Support for Children with Special Needs

The iPad has brought about a revolution in special education with its affordable and effective apps that are impacting children with special needs. While speech pathologists and educators have been searching for convenient and cost-effective tools that will provide visual support for children with Autism, Smarty Ears, an innovative company that specializes in creating speech therapy apps, is announcing the release of Custom Boards. Custom Boards is the first app of its kind and it is set to also bring about a revolution for special education. It was designed to serve as a board and activity creation center for speech therapists, special education teachers, and parents of children who need symbols for learning and communicating.


Custom Boards was created to offer teachers, parents, and speech therapists the tools they need to support learning for each of their students while providing parents with an affordable way to facilitate continued learning at home, creating a link between learning environments and strengthening students’ process of learning.

Custom Boards serves as a visual support system that enables speech and language pathologists, teachers, and parents to create and print meaningful activities, schedules, and communication boards. This excellent app allows users to select from a pool of templates in three areas: Communication Boards, Schedules, and Activities. Custom Boards includes over 11,000 symbols from the Smarty Symbols library. The Smarty Symbols library is advanced and comprehensive with vocabulary that is organized into semantic and meaningful categories (such as communication and expressions) and features a unique low frequency vocabulary not found in any other symbol library. By utilizing Custom Boards, users can save, print directly from the iPad, and email countless templates.

Custom Boards has the flexibility of being used on the go, at school, in therapy sessions, and even at home. “I created individual boards using Custom Boards for many of my students today. Articulation pictures for some, requesting for others and vocabulary for all!” stated Cindy L. Meester, an educator who recently purchased Custom Boards, “I even made a game board to use with a theme unit for fall. And I can save them to use again and again! I can print them off for home practice too.”  The reviews on iTunes also show the level of excitement that Custom Boards is generating: “A Must Have App! Intense! Universal! Multi-Functional! Adaptive! Ingenious! is this App. It is well-suited to meet any Therapist, Teacher, Parent, and Child’s needs. This app has set a new bar for board creations,” review by beVerbal.


Older computer-based programs charge between $399 and $799 for their software; Custom Boards, available in the app store for only $69.99, is a product that educators, speech pathologists, and parents can afford and use in various learning environments. Custom Boards is cost-effective, user-friendly, insightful, and easy to use.

Custom Boards can be purchased from the iTunes app store. The product was officially launched on October 6, 2011 and quickly became the #3 Bestselling Educational App on iTunes.

For more information about Custom Boards and Smarty Symbols, visit us and watch the video tutorial before purchasing at


Innovative Job Search app uses Google Maps to Locate Speech Therapy Jobs on the iPad

In the wake of companies across the U.S. facing difficulties in attracting and hiring speech pathologists, Smarty Ears, an innovative company in the field of speech pathology, has launched an app for the iPad that is currently used by thousands of qualified and tech savvy speech pathologists. SLP Spots is a free iPad app that allows companies to post job openings for a fraction of what they currently spend on traditional media advertising. It gives speech and language pathologists the opportunity to browse the job openings and post their resumes.


Companies that hire speech pathologists spend numerous hours making direct phone calls and browsing through online resumes, hoping to find a therapist to fill the thousands of open positions across the country. The current shortage in the field of speech pathology has forced companies, school districts, and hospitals to spend a great amount of time, making enormous efforts to find a therapist that is available for the position. At the same time, employment in this field is expected to grow 19 percent, thus companies need a clever and innovative way to reach them. In the past, companies heavily relied on websites such as and to post their job openings. However, their ads have become lost in a sea of countless irrelevant or unrelated job openings from companies across the globe.


The iPad and Google Maps are remarkable technologies that have been made available to us. SLP Spots has decided to take advantage of this opportunity to make job matching for speech pathologists easier and hassle free. The map feature allows speech pathologists to view the location of the available positions on the Google Map directly on their iPad; this map even allows speech therapists to actually see how far each opening is from their own home. SLP Spots will have each available opportunity mapped out so SLPs can see which cities are displaying the jobs they are specifically looking for.


Barbara Fernandes, the CEO of Smarty Ears, informs us that with SLP Spots, “speech pathologists can utilize a search filtering feature that was built specifically for speech pathologists and include filters such as setting, population served, and certification level. This is an extremely useful feature not only for SLPs but also for companies.”


SLP Spots is currently available in the app store. It has been already downloaded by nearly two thousand speech pathologists, and the number is rapidly growing daily. While SLPs download the app for free to use, post resumes, and browse through job posts, companies pay an affordable price through an in-app purchase to place their ad on SLP Spots. The ad will become visible, immediately after purchase on the app store, to the over 20 million people who use an iPad and purchase apps through the iTunes store. There is no doubt that SLP Spots give companies the resources they need to conveniently and quickly find the right candidate for their position.


Companies can start posting their openings immediately by downloading SLP Spots and making an in-app purchase. Prices start at $29.99 for a 30-day ad placement. For more information about SLP Spots, visit or send an email to Smarty Ears at [email protected].




Smarty Ears Launches Smarty Symbols Raising the Bar for Symbol Communication

In recent years, alternative communication systems have become more advanced in providing solutions and communication aids for people, especially children, with learning and intellectual disabilities. Smarty Ears was the first company to integrate speech therapy into mobile applications and it is now the leader in speech therapy mobile apps development with over 27 apps for iOS devices and 3 Android apps. The company was founded in 2009 by ASHA-certified Speech Pathologist, Barbara Fernandes. She has spearheaded many initiatives that have changed the lives of many people. “It is our goal to provide the best tools possible to engage every child in learning effectively, developing appropriate communication skills, and becoming better communicators. Our most recent innovation is the launch of Smarty Symbols.”

Professionals in the field had been relying on symbols developed in the early 1980s, and the development of a contemporary symbol set was overdue. Smarty Symbols is a symbol set that provides nearly 12,000 symbols for developers of educational or medical apps and manufacturers of AAC devices to use on their apps in order to promote the learning and development of communication skills for individuals with disabilities. By using symbols, many children have gained the ability to communicate with loved ones and many adults have regained their communication. The Smarty Symbols set is appropriate for all age levels. Through the presence of Smarty Symbols, developers and manufacturers of products for individuals with disabilities can create learning and communication materials that are more appropriate and attractive thus providing a more rewarding experience for children and adults with communication difficulties.

“Developers and AAC companies can license our high-quality product, Smarty Symbols for a significantly lower fee than our competitors. We want to revolutionize our field with Smarty Symbols. The current license options include a one-time payment for lifetime usage of 11,000 symbols, or a one-time set up fee plus a royalty payment schedule based on the sale of products using Smarty Symbols.”

Smarty Symbols has a modern, up-to-date, comprehensive and very transparent library. Vocabulary is organized into semantic and meaningful categories (such as food, animals, fruits, drinks, communication, expressions, and colors) and can be easily retrieved by the user. It features a low frequency vocabulary that cannot be found on competitors’ symbol sets such as adult intimacy, college life, employment, and Internet and social media vocabulary. Smarty Symbols is also currently being translated into Spanish and Portuguese.
Smarty Symbols will play a vital role in the communicative experience of children, teens, and adults with disabilities. Barbara Fernandes explains:

“We want to empower individuals with disabilities with a vocabulary that reflects the communication being used today by everyone which includes words that did not even exist five years ago. Smarty Symbols is a modern symbol set and allows users to express themselves fully like it should.”

Smarty Symbols is currently featured in some of Smarty Ears’ iPad apps available on the app store, Custom Board, That’s How I Feel, and Expressive. It has already been licensed to developers across the world to be utilized into apps, computer software, and traditional alternative communication devices that are currently in development. Soon, professionals and users will start seeing more and more products using Smarty Symbols.
For more information about Smarty Symbols, visit or contact Smarty Ears at contact(at)smartyearsapps(dot)com.
Twitter @smartysymbols