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Enjoy 25%OFF selected Smarty Ears apps this week.

Enjoy 25%OFF selected Smarty Ears apps this week.

Smarty Ears’ best selling apps are on sale!

We want to celebrate various state convention by offering you a chance to download our six best selling apps 25% OFF their regular price. The sale ends February 27th at noon. Here are the six apps you might want to purchase this week. You may click on the app name to be re-directed to the app store.

 


1. Articulate it: A state-of-the-art comprehensive articulation app for therapy. This app will knock your socks off for sure. It includes a variety of amazing features including themes for your articulation therapy sessions.

2. BAPAThe first and only standardized assessment that can assess articulation and phonology of monolingual English or Spanish speakers, as well as bilingual students. The app automatically analyses all the data and provides a comprehensive report.

3. Custom Boards : Create custom visual support materials with this easy to use app filled with Smarty Symbols and hundreds of templates.

4. iTap: iTap is one of Smarty Ears latests apps and is a sister app to the BAPA app. This app includes norms of the monolingual English speakers group used on the BAPA app.

5. Language Empires:  The most comprehensive language therapy app available on the app store. This fun app, uses the themes of various ancient empires to target goals such as inferencing, whquestions, predicting, figurative language and more.

6. Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test: Comprehensive and revolutionary! Sunny is one of Smarty Ears’ most adored apps. It includes an articulation screener, a full test and an R screener. The app includes assessment of American English vowels, and phonemes at the sentence level.

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Using themes in articulation therapy

Using themes in articulation therapy

Oh! The thematic units, don’t we all love them? Theme based intervention is a common practice during speech and language sessions. Generally speaking, using themes is something that we think about more for language based interventions than speech and articulation interventions. Many school-based clinicians use themes in their sessions; especially the themes that fall along with the themes being used in the classroom. When a clinician makes the decision to incorporate themes into a session many times they have to create custom materials to fit the classroom theme, especially if we are talking about articulation materials.

Some clinicians have go-to materials for each theme, which makes our lives so much easier. While it is possible and somewhat easy to adapt any articulation material for articulation, it is even better when the articulation material not only integrates the theme, but adds to the beauty of using a theme during a session. Many SLPs now use iPad apps as the go-to for articulation therapy, however not only we get tired of using the same app over and over again, but we all know the children also do. Articulate it is the one and only app that allows users to switch themes on its activities.

Articulate it includes 18 themes that allows clinicians to finally offer children a fresh look into each articulation and phonology session.

Clinicians can tap on the menu and select from the following themes:

  1. 4th of July
  2. Cinema
  3. Christmas
  4. Dog
  5. Fall
  6. Halloween
  7. Ninja
  8. Pirates
  9. Princess
  10. Space
  11. Spring
  12. St. Patricks’ Day
  13. Summer
  14. Super Heroes
  15. Thanksgiving
  16. Underwater/Ocean
  17. Valentine’s Day
  18. Winter

The themes change the skin within the screen on the matching activity, the flashcard activity and the guess what activity. Let me show you guys what some of the themes look like on all three activities:

Besides changing the skin, children can experience a few other changes such as the audio feedback for each activity. The fall theme for example has a gobble gobble audio feedback when switching from one target word to another.

Since Articulate it also offers an activity called ” Guess What?” which used questions to elicit the target word, the app is often used by clinicians with mixed groups of articulation and language students. Therefore, having the theme built-in the app can also make the app a tool for kids working on specific language skills when a thematic unit is in place.

Some themes within Articulate it can actually be a part of several other themes. Clinicians often used the ocean theme on ” Talk like a Pirate” week. However, the now have a dedicated pirate theme.

If you are not yet using thematic units within your therapy session, Kristin from Simply Speech has a great table with ideas for themes here: http://kcummingsslp.blogspot.com/2012/09/tuesday-therapy-n-themes.html

If students are older or have moved from word to more complex levels of practice, many of the ideas used for language-based therapy such as reading a thematic book or having a discussion using target words are also excellent ways to integrate themes into articulation therapy.

 

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Three essential apps for individuals with aphasia

Three essential apps for individuals with aphasia

three essential apps for individuals with aphasia

When individuals suffer a stroke, the changes in their lives can have devastating effects. With the help of skilled professionals such as speech-language-pathologist, occupational therapists and physical therapists, stroke survivors can learn to cope with their disability of recover functions lost. There are a lot of apps in the market that can also have a positive effect in recovering language skills lost due to a stroke. Apps such as some developed by Smarty Ears were designed with stroke survivors in mind.

Language Trainer was created specifically to help individuals improve their mastery of spoken language. Designed by a certified speech-language pathologist, Language Trainer is perfect for working on vocabulary, word finding, stuttering, and receptive or expressive language therapy. Language Trainer compliments and facilitates the work of the busy speech-language pathologist or caregiver. Language Trainer includes four activities within one application. You can download it from iTunes here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/language-trainer/id733555247?mt=8

 

Another app that is essential to stroke survivors who struggle with reading is called Reading Rehabilitation Toolkit. The Reading Rehabilitation Toolkit integrates six state-of-the-art reading activities at the word and phrase levels all specifically crafted to promote success in reading rehabilitation. Learn more about it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/reading-rehabilitation-toolkit/id590202982?mt=8

 

The third essential app is called iName it. iName It is specifically designed to help individuals with difficulty recalling the names of common items found in the home. Developed by speech-language pathologists, iName It provides users with a systematic way to recall functional words needed for activities of daily living. iName It consists of fifty nouns that are displayed within the context of the rooms where they are typically located, such as bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, etc… Each target word can be elicited by using one of more of the five different types of cues available: phonemic, phase completion, whole word or semantic. Learn more about this app here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iname-it/id486781414?mt=8

 

 

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The anatomy of an educational app update

The anatomy of an educational app update

We have been making apps since 2009 and throughout the years we have made hundreds of updates throughout our apps. Creating educational apps requires a great deal of upkeep. We always want to make sure our apps don’t get left behind. When we started creating apps in 2009, the iPad was not even out yet. While it does seem like another lifetime, it was just the other day. Our apps back then were the most advanced apps at the time they were created, however if you were to play with some of those original versions today you would certainly be disappointed in Smarty Ears.

As Apple makes each device more advanced, we also strive to make sure all our apps are also as wonderful as each new device. Updating over fifty apps take a significant amount of time and effort on our part and we absolutely love looking at our apps with critical eyes and ask ourselves ” how can I make this app better?”. Each year, we probably release updates to each app, as Apple updates their iOS systems.

Updating apps is a must at times, when Apple’s operating system goes through major changes and makes apps simply stop working or causing strange behaviors.

Customer feedback is also something we always take note when updating our apps. We love receiving suggestions from our customers and we try very hard to look at every suggestion and criticism as an opportunity to make our app better.  While our apps go through in-house testing, clinicians and parents out there can have major insights as to how certain features would be helpful to specific children and adults we aim to help though out apps.

Many times, when we create a new app we realize we should have used that new feature on all previous apps and that’s how we go back and start implementing that new feature on all our apps, such as the compatibility with the Therapy Report Center app.

Some other source of insight of our updates comes from chatting with users at conventions. As we have just returned from the 2016 Asha Convention in Philadelphia, we are pumped with ideas of new features for some of our most loved apps. If you have a suggestion, write to us, we would love to hear from you.

Ultimately, we strive often to make sure anyone who opens and buys Smarty Ears apps feel like  they have just unlocked the best of what is out there, regardless if that app is a brand new release or an app that was created in 2009.

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Bridging the Gap Between Reading Comprehension and Speech Difficulties Through Apps

Bridging the Gap Between Reading Comprehension and Speech Difficulties Through Apps

Reading and speaking are directly related. Though you can read without speaking, thoughts usually come from absorbed information in which reading is a big part, and speech is the expression of thoughts.

Reading, including reading comprehension, therefore, can be a problem for children with speech difficulties. In fact, studies have shown that children who have difficulty with spoken language are often at risk of having reading problems.

Phonological processes have also been found to be critical in learning, and acquiring different fundamental skills like reading and spelling. Phoneme awareness is also used as a predictor if a student will turn out to be a good or poor reader at the end of third grade onwards. A high level of accuracy in the projection is reached using phonological tests.

Apps to the Rescue

Considering that today’s generation relies on mobile devices, a technological approach to the aforementioned dilemmas will be effective. The use of technological learning environments usually fall into two categories: to remedy specific skills through individual and repeated practice, which means self-use or; to bypass barriers of the disability through compensation, which means external assistance.

Apps generally fall under both, meaning they can be operated by the user again and again, and they can provide the support the user needs. As such, they become effective tools for aiding children and students who lack reading skills and/or have speech deficiency.

Reading Comprehension Camp is a collection of stories, spread across multiple levels to facilitate and measure improvements in reading skills. There are quizzes, which can further gauge the development of the user.

It also has in-app data logging system to help educators, therapists and speech-language pathologists who use the app as a teaching tool. A microphone feature is included as well to record the student’s progress in fluency and intonation.

Sentence Ninja, on the other hand, works more in a game-like experience. Understanding sentence structure and word order is a crucial piece of developing reading comprehension skills, and the app makes for an engaging and fun way for students to learn these subjects.

Bridging the gap, however, can also go the other way around. Users can start on the other side with articulation apps like Articulate it! for practicing pronunciation skills. Aside from single player, it has a multiplayer option, which can give clinicians the edge when working with a small group of students.

Built-in text-to-speech (TTS) functions of smartphones are also now used for reading practice to bypass several reading issues. These include decoding and low levels of phonetic awareness. Additionally, TTS can decrease reliance on human support, providing a sense of independence for the reader.

Virtual assistants (VA) work in a similar way, albeit in a conversational manner. Tech resource O2 mentions that premium handsets like the iPhone 6S now have a smarter Siri, along with other enhancements. It can be used as a practice platform, which may be available 24/7 for the user.

Furthermore, since VAs are computer simulations, users will not feel the fear of being judged and/or receiving feedback, given that students who lack skills and have deficiencies normally have low self-esteem and self-confidence. Same with other apps, these types of software let the user learn at their own pace and comfort level.

When using technology and apps as tools, improving reading comprehension and overcoming speech deficiency is made easier. Students, parents and corresponding medical and psychological professionals all benefit from the process, considering that for learning to be more effective and successful, a collaborative effort should be applied.

Exclusively written for Smarty Ears Apps
by Teaching JB

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Why is the Social Quest app so Successful with Students Struggling with Social Skills?

Why is the Social Quest app so Successful with Students Struggling with Social Skills?

social-quest-img2There is a lot of social fabric that we take for granted because it just seems invisible to us. It’s so integral to our everyday lives that it just fades into the background, but that simply isn’t true for everyone…
Little social norms that seem like nothing to you and me can be really overwhelming and daunting to many students. This can be even more pronounced of a problem for students with autism or other special needs, as it can even cause a fair degree of anxiety. Social Quest has become the go-to-app for older students who struggle with social skills as it gives real practical practice for learning to reflect, predict and practice good social etiquette and problem solving skills within everyday life so that they feel better prepared and less stressed as they encounter social situations in real life.

Practice Real-world situations in the home, school and community —- This app does a brilliant job of covering real life things that will likely come up in the places they will spend the most time. This pragmatic approach makes it easy to see the real world carry over.

social-quest-img8

A third of the app is based where kids spend the most time— HOME: If you’re a parent you know first hand that just getting kids to get along better with those they live with is so important for the quality of life to both the child and the rest of their family. Basic family life has so many important social situations many of which will be vital for the rest of their lives. Home includes the following areas as sub targets with — living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and the garage/yard.

Another third of the app is based on SCHOOL— let’s face it if you’re a teacher or an SLP you really want things to go smoothly for your student, not to be selfish but it makes your day go so much smoother and you feels great knowing the student can move from different areas of the school without you there to help them. If you’re a parent, you don’t want to be worrying about what goes on when you’re not there. You’re probably already aware of the difficulties your child has in social situations and it is a big relief knowing your kid is walking into them a little more prepared. School includes the following areas as sub targets with classroom, auditorium/library, cafeteria, hallway/office, yard/gymnasium

The last third is divided into common areas in the Community— eventually you want the student to be successful not just at home and at school but at places they will most frequently visit. Community includes the following areas as sub targets with grocery store, mall, restaurant, neighborhood, movies, doctor/dentist office

There’s more than one right answer— time to promote flexible thinking! — rarely is life like a math equation with just one right answer. So often there are multiple appropriate decisions that could have been made. Teaching flexible thinking is crucial in getting students to start making better social decisions. By recognizing that there is more than one right way can alleviate the stress of the situation. It also builds those critical thinking skills that are so important in day to day life.
The receptive mode (multiple choice) of the app contains two correct answers for every question. In the settings you can decide whether the student must find both correct answers or if one correct answer is sufficient. This is great as a scaffolding technique so that the app can be more at the student’s current individual level. If the student is very successful finding both correct answers in the receptive mode then we have a more challenging setting to match their needs “expressive” mode.

social quest
In the expressive mode (open ended responses) of the app students can receive credit for multiple correct answers. You can mark multiple incorrect answers too, but the importance is that it is a big progression when a student can finally start envisioning for themselves the multiple appropriate ways to handle a situation!

There is an enormous amount of content on Social Quest— 850 questions. Don’t settle for all these second rate apps in the app store that are out there that only have 10, 20, 30, or 50 questions. Fortunately, Social Quest was developed by Smarty Ears who has been a leader and an innovator that have over the last 7 years solidified their status as the Gold Standard of apps in the Speech therapy and Special Education community. They design all of their apps to make sure that it is something you can use often without much repetition. All of their apps have been thoughtfully designed from the inside out by a real SLP and a real teacher— this is not just lip service they know what its like to be in the classroom and they care about the experience that both the adult SLP or teacher experience as well as they care about the success of the student.

It has a Fun Game-like-approach that makes being a “social detective” engaging.
From the “teleporter” than brings students to their target areas, to the “Hall of Rewards” that stores the trophies students earn while playing the receptive mode, this app incorporates some of the techniques that make video games fun to teens to make for a more engaging experience while practicing Social Skills.

Learn more about Social Quest here: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/social-quest/

You can also download it from the app store here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/social-quest/id556089006?mt=8

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Screening or Testing Articulation on the iPad. Which app should I choose?

Screening or Testing Articulation on the iPad. Which app should I choose?

Throughout the years we all have gotten the routine of articulation testing down: Look for clean protocols, or buy them if we run out, find the test and dig out the scoring book. During the test we rush to transcribe what we have heard and then we spend double the time we spent with the child scoring and writing the report for that assessment. Yes! It was painful. Lucky someone said, “There has to be a better way!”.

Technology and brilliant minds have made the process of speech assessment so different. Back in 2010, a screener for articulation was released called Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test. It could be used as a screener or as supplemental data from your traditional paper and pencil test that we have all used for way too long. The Sunny has been sold around the world and it has conquered the hearts of thousands of speech paths around the world. It was way ahead of the curve and it still is the best articulation screener available on the iPad.

sunny-img11

The reality was that many school districts and governmental agencies still rely and demand the use of standardized assessments. That’s when Smarty Ears partnered with a company in Texas to create and standardize an assessment tool that would be universally used for bilingual students as well as monolingual Spanish or English speakers. That’s how the Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Test was conceived. BAPA uses the technology behind Sunny to become a stand alone fully standardized articulation and phonology assessment tool. It was released in 2013 and it has quickly become the preferred choice among bilingual clinicians in the assessment of articulation and phonology skills.

In 2015, Smarty Ears listening to the feedback from clinicians, decided to create an English only version of BAPA, with a lower price point for clinicians that are only performing English assessments. Using the data collected for the creation of BAPA, Smarty Ears separated the English only portion of BAPA and created iTAP, the Test of Articulation and Phonology.

The bottom line: When it comes to Articulation screeners/ Articulation tests there are really only 3 apps worth your consideration: Sunny Articulation & Phonology Test, iTap, and BAPA. Which one you pick will depend solely on your needs as a clinician.

All three app are wonderfully designed to make your life as a Speech Therapist as easy as possible. They all feature:

a. Ability to enter student’s name and track progress over time;

b.Tests all phonemes of the English language including clusters;

c.Offers two options: Screening & Full Assessment

d.Ability to record student’s production with the same tool you are using to administer test;

e.E-mail test results immediately after administration;

f.Provides immediate positive feedback to students throughout the test administration;

g.Sample recording of target word is available as you touch each image;

h.Ability to add notes on the app during the assessment.

Which one to pick really depends on your needs.

Here are the real key differences that set them apart:

iTap

  1. iTap articulationIt is Standardized
  2. English Only

 

 

 

bapa-img1BAPA

  1. It is Standardized
  2. for English monolinguals, Spanish monolinguals, and English / Spanish Bilinguals

Learn more about BAPA here.

Sunny

sunny articulation

  1. is NOT standardized (a qualitative assessment only)
  2. English Only
  3. includes vowels screener
  4. includes sentence screener
  5. includes an “R screener”

Learn more about Sunny here.

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Which one is (really) the best articulation app for iPad?

Which one is (really) the best articulation app for iPad?

We’ve seen the question a million times on Facebook, twitter and other social media:

“What is the Best Articulation app?”

This well intentioned question often comes up from someone who is either just became a Speech Therapist or is a Newbie to the world of app on the iPad, or perhaps someone who is just overwhelmed by the amount of apps that are out there and available.  Usually a host of passionate responses spark up. If we are being honest though, its really hard for most people to give a completely fair response.

Usually this is because:

People vouch for what they have, but it really isn’t fair to call it the “best” when they haven’t experienced most or all of the other Articulation apps. (Imagine If you called one grocery store the “best” because you liked it, but had never set foot in the other major chains nearby?)

People often base their experience off of free apps or apps that have a free version. Its understandable people go this route as it can make it easier to sample more things. But again using the grocery store anology is it fair to rule out a Costco and Sams club because of the “membership costs”. Yes, they have a cost but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have a value that may outweigh this factor.

As we were at Texas Speech and Hearing Convention this year we had several customers who had experienced all or most of the Top Tier apps out there and they resoundingly and unsolicitedly wanted to tell us “Articulate it! is the best.

 

We wanted to share why…

Why is Articulate it the Best Articulation app?

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 5.24.43 PM

It has the most content of any Articulation app out there (and you can even add more to it by adding “custom words”!). No articulation app has more words, sentences, phrases, and  stories. With a built in “Matching game“, a “Guess What” game, a “Stories” section, in addition to the traditional route of working on phonemes and clusters, that If this app was in paper form you would probably need a large file cabinet just to store all the decks of cards.  People who have this app tend to use it everyday; this wouldn’t be realistic if it didn’t have enough content to do this.

articulate-img11

It is the most versatile and powerful articulation app.

It has phonological processes, mirroring capabilities, up to 6 players during the same game (each with their own objectives, the ability to add custom words, over a 100 fun avatars that could represent the player, , . When presenting this app to someone who has never seen it before it can be hard to remember to show them ALL of the features. A common chorus from the SLP is usually is a breathless sincere ,“You’ve really thought out everything on this app …haven’t you?” And they’re right, rarely does an app give a user such a COMPLETE EXPERIENCE.

It has homework— sooooo much homework. Every single phoneme at the word, phrase and sentence level (almost 200 worksheets). All of it can be emailed or printed to be sent home for your students to work on. “this app is worth it just for the homework,” says pretty much every SLP ever who has opened up the app and even glanced at the homework.

articulate it built in homework best articulation app

It has Themes- This allows you to change how the app looks and sounds to match a particular holiday or season. What a way to increase student engagement!!! Our users tell us all the time “this is the one app I use EVERY DAY.”  With 13 themes to choose from, students love how it feels like something new every time the theme is changed.

articulate it by smarty ears themes

It has Stories (& 7 questions about the story each of which target the phoneme)— Other apps that have “stories” tend to seem about as fun as the old “Dick and Jane” book series from the 1930-70’s. Articulate it has fun (and often funny) stories that not only target the objective, but make for an engaging experience for the learners. How cool is it that you can work on reading skills and Articulation at the same time? Seven different Wh questions (whose answers  always target the selected phoneme) and you have a brand new way to target a wide host of speech goals from auditory bombardment, production, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension.

articulate it stories best articulation app

It has a built in “Guess What” game— Tired of practicing in the same “flashcard style?” Well, guess what?– we got something even better:How about a guessing game where your students work on articulation and language skills at the same time? This fun activity is just one more reason why Articulate it! is the best and more versatile app available on the app store.

ARTICULATE IT best app ipad

It really is designed by an SLP. Our CEO Barbara Fernandes is an SLP,  she is always involved in every aspect of the app creation, and she is often consulting from her large network of SLP friends and colleagues to make all of the apps the best they can possibly be for the SLP community. She’s super passionate about helping improve and innovate technology in every aspect of the speech therapist world and when she is working on area that requires very specific expertise, she makes sure there are even more SLPs involved directly in the project. We’ve been to every ASHA over the last 7 years and we know that even though a lot of companies claim to have an SLP involved it is sadly very often at just a very superficial level (particularly from big publishing companies), or we’ve even seen where it is pretty much an outright sham (often from computer programmers or tech experts hoping to make a quick buck). Smarty Ears has innovated the speech therapy world with its apps, but a big chunk of that comes down to really being involved in the speech therapy community.

Comprehensive Data tracking—- The app seemlessly lets you switch between word, sentence and phrase level while working on phonemes; likewise it is dividing the specifics of that data as you click the correct, almost or incorrect buttons so that you don’t have to be thinking out the specifics. It even stores the recordings and lets you review which words were targeted. With clear charts and percentages: data tracking has never been so easy. With the ability to email the results to parents and the ability to export into Therapy report center, Smarty Ears understands the data driven world of Schools and have given you the simplest tools to get it done.

articulate it data tracking best articulation app

Intuitive, User Friendly, and Tools of Support. We know one of the reasons you probably like using Apple products like the iPad is its user friendliness. We want you to feel that experience is the same with our apps. With a “instructional audio” , that can guide first time users as they learn the app, a built in video tutorial (that makes learning the features of the app quick and easy), and a simple way to reach out to us by emailing us from the app, we are dedicated to making Articulate it! the best possible user experience out there.

articulate it by smarty ears

Because it is a Smarty Ears app:

Now this might seem humorously self-congratulatory at first glance … but there is a very serious reason why brand name matters in the business of apps. We were the first to make any app for Speech Therapy that was not an AAC app, and for those who have been using iPad apps since the beginning know Smarty Ears is the gold standard. Every app they make we have continually updated it to make sure that it will work with the newest iOS, and we are always looking back at how we can improve our existing library of apps . What was great in 2009 often doesn’t cut it by 2016 standards and we know it.

Other speech therapy app companies die off.. and they often let their app die with it. (No more updates to keep it compatible with the iOS).  For us making an app doesn’t ever end. We constantly update our apps to make them the best out there. We’ve seen the sad looks on someone’s face when they thought they had our articulation app (but didn’t and had something that seemed good— so they assumed it was Smarty Ears— yes this really happen ALL the time). It’s because those who know Smarty Ears know the value they are getting and that they are always getting a cutting edge app, and we won’t let those fans down EVER.

Screen Shot 2016-04-24 at 4.41.23 PM

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Creating multilingual apps for speech therapy: The challenge

Creating multilingual apps for speech therapy: The challenge

The iPad has allowed publishers to expand their reach across borders. As apps are created and published on the app store, the developer has the choice to make them available around the world. Developers can specifically select in which countries they want their app to appear.
When it comes to speech and language apps things get very complicated. While most of these apps are available world wide, only a portion of the world speaks English, and therefore despite the availability, only a handful of apps really have an international appeal when it comes to apps targeting speech, language or communication skills.
Having learned two languages, English and Spanish, as an adult and being from Brazil has led me to have an added interest to making sure the apps I create were available in as many language as possible.
Despite of what many of my non-SLP friends think, being an SLP and being a language expert, does not mean that all SLPs are experts in all languages. (We could only wish).
While translating some non-language based to other languages may in of itself be a challenge and require the skills of a trained translator, translating speech and language apps pose yet another set of difficulties that require not only a translator but most likely the supervision of a speech pathologist with proficiency in both languages.
I am fortunate enough to be trilingual, and have some basic proficiency in a couple other languages. However even being a native speaker of Portuguese has led me to make some mistakes when creating speech therapy apps in Portuguese, despite having some of my training done in brazil. One quick example was when creating an articulation and phonology assessment in Portuguese. The way the position of each sound within the word are accounted for and classified are completely different than the way we do in English, for example in the word sapato / sapatu/ (shoe) – the phoneme /t/ is considered a sound in the final position of the word for being in the final syllable. So when we created the app we had to make sure syllables and sounds are appropriately classified according to the Brazilian standards, not the American. This is something I had to discuss with a local speech-pathologist and it was a big “aha” moment for me when we tried to match our classifications when selecting the words. The app, Avaliação de Fonologia e Articulação do Português has been now available since 2012 and is widely used by speech pathologist in Brazil. It is the only iPad based assessment app available to SLPs in Brazil.
Today, I am proud that Smarty Ears has made significant progress in making our apps multilingual. All of our apps were adapted to other languages with the help of other speech-language-pathologists from around the world.

The importance of bilingual apps in service delivery of bilingual children

The fact is that most of the population in the world speaks more than one language. Even in the United States alone the number of bilingual homes is enormous. “The 2007 American Community Survey found that a bit more than 55 million inhabitants spoke a language other than English at home.” Grosjean, 2010.
Unfortunately, as a bilingual clinician in the United States, I know firsthand that there is still a significant scarcity of materials that are made in languages other than English .
The need to assess and treat speech and language in both languages makes it all more fundamental that we make language options within the app available. This is a step we have worked hard to make a reality over the years.
It would be instrumental for a bilingual SLP to have an app that can easily switch languages within the task to offer the child exposure to practicing that skill on both languages.

Language specific apps

Whenever possible we try to add the language as an option within the app, however this not always works as the differences between the structure of the languages can be significant as to require that we release a completely different app on that language. A few examples of this are our articulation and phonology apps for both assessment and treatment. We have released articulation assessment apps in both Portuguese and Spanish.

iOS Simulator Screen Shot Aug 4, 2015, 8.03.30 PMThe Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment which is now standardized was designed to be used by clinicians in assessing children coming from Spanish/English homes or environments.

As far as articulation therapy apps we have Spanish Artik and Academia da Articulation in Spanish and Portuguese. Neither one of these apps would have worked as a language option within our existing English articulation therapy app Articulate it.

One other example of apps that might require separate apps for each language are syntax and grammar apps. A while back we attempted to make our app Preposition Remix available with a language option in Portuguese, only to find myself stuck with the fact that some prepositions in English are represented by the same preposition in Portuguese. We have yet to make a Prepositions app in other languages, but we will get there.

Changing or adapting cultural items

Another consideration we must have when adding a language within the app is making sure we consider cultural differences, not only across the various languages and specific tasks but also across countries.
While we try at times to incorporate American culture into our apps, we have attempted to make our apps as international as possible. This has been instrumental in making sure that our apps remain appropriate for users in other English speaking countries such as Canada, Australian or England.
We receive compliments often from our users in Australia about how some of our apps such as Reading Comprehension Camp has stories that are very friendly to children no mater their background.

At times, we know that when we offer the change of language within the app we must make sure all items are still appropriate for children of other backgrounds. One recent challenge we had was on the latest addition of Spanish as a language option to Describe it to me. A few of the items made references

The dialects of the languages

We all know that not all speakers of English sound the same. If you consider just English for example, we have regional dialects within America (e.g. east coast or southern) as well as more distinct dialects of Britain or Australian English. We have yet to make any adaptations to the different dialects of any language. This can pose a challenge mostly for articulation and phonology apps where some words can be grouped completely different based on the dialect.
The same difficulty is true for all other languages. Spanish is spoken with a different dialect everywhere in the world. Since most, if not all, of our apps include some sort of an audio component deciding which dialect to use can be a topic of consideration.
We recently had a user of our recently translated app Language Trainer from the Netherlands complain how the dialect used in the app was from Belgium. We just had to remind her that no dialect is better than another and the SLP in Belgium had provided an appropriate translation for Dutch speakers, and despite the slight variation the app was now available in Dutch and we should all celebrate it.

Creating and adapting apps into other languages is one of the goals of Smarty Ears and we hope to continue to lead in this area. If you are looking for apps in languages other than English see a list of our apps below currently available in various languages.

Available Smarty Ears apps in languages other than English

Spanish:

  1. Spanish Artik
  2.  iName it
  3. Describe it to me
  4. Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment
  5.  Reading Rehabilitation Toolkit
  6.  Language Trainer
  7. Go Sequencing
  8. Auditory Memory Club
  9. Dysphagia2Go
  10. Adjectivos Remix
  11. WhQuestions
  12. Yes/No Barn
  13. Fun & Functional

Portuguese

  1. WhQuestions
  2. Adjective Remix
  3. Dysphagia2Go
  4. Auditory Memory Club
  5. Go Sequencing
  6. Language Trainer
  7. Reading Rehabilitation Toolkit
  8. Academia da Articulation
  9. Comunico
  10. iName it
  11. Yes/No Barn
  12. GoWords
  13. Basic Concepts Skills Screener
  14. Fun & Functional
  15. Boca Feliz
  16. Avaliacao de Fonologia e Articulacao do Portugues

 

– Dutch

1. Language Trainer

2. Reading Rehabilitation Toolkit

 

– French

1. WhQuestions
2.Dysphagia2Go

 

-Italian

  1. Dysphagia2Go

References

 

Grosjean, Francois. The extent of bilingualism. In Grosjean, F. (2010). Bilingual: Life and Reality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

ASHA. (2013). Bilingual Service Delivery. Retrieved from: http://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935225&section=Key_Issues

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Smarty Ears 2015: Year Review

Smarty Ears 2015: Year Review

 

The year 2015 just flew by, didn’t it? It is at times hard for us to believe all that we accomplished this year. As early as the 8th day of the year, Smarty Ears was pleased to announce the release of our first app of the year: Yes/No Barn. Designed and authored by Barbara Fernandes, Smarty Ears founder and CEO. This app was a result of the increased number of requests in 2014 by our customers to start creating apps for the younger children.

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In February we took a chance creating an app that stretches us a bit further than we are used to with speech and language apps by creating Smarty Spell. Smarty Spell allows children to practice spelling over 300 words organized into word lists from Kindergarten to 6th grade.

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In the Spring we released two great apps: Auditory Memory Club and PrepPositions. Auditory Memory Club was one of our favorite apps to develop from start to finish. Authored by Barbara Fernandes, this app includes four activities and features  graphics that are very both attractive and fairly distraction free.

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PrepPositions, authored by Rosie Sims was released late in March and it was one of our first attempts into gaming as a reward for each activity.

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In the spring was also when we attended two state conferences: The Texas Speech and Hearing Convention and the California State Convention. We also worked very hard to update our website and include as much information as possible about all our apps. This is still an ongoing process though. 😉

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In the Summer, Barbara got inspired by her toddler and released Smarty Ears, GoWords, which was designed to help improve vocabulary in very young learner. Go Words is available in English and Portuguese.

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Lots of Smarty Ears apps received a face lift with either new content or updated graphics. We significantly improved the design on Social Quest, allowing for a distraction free user interface, and we also added audio to over three thousand answer options. Other updates include adding two new activities on Articulate it: Guess What and Stories.

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Social Quest now includes audio for each question and answer.

Our assessment app BAPA received a ton of updates based on feedback from users like you.

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Despite the fact that we spent most of 2015 working on a certain app, you didn’t see it until it was done. In the fall, we released our super popular app GoSequencing, authored and designed by Smarty Ears founder, Barbara Fernandes. Go Sequencing is without a doubt one of our greatest apps, it includes amazing illustrations, state of the art technology and a lot of content. We really pushed our imagination on what it could be done on a new sequencing app. We wanted to release something better than anything on the market.

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One of the highlights of our year was for sure the release of our first paper-based product. We released in November the GoSequencing: Self Help Skills flashcard deck. The GoSequencing flashcard was a huge hit and it is now on sale on Amazon.

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Smarty Ears attended the Asha convention in Denver this year, and once again we had the great pleasure of being an Asha convention sponsor. The convention is by far one of our favorite times of the year; it is the one time we get to be together with our great app authors and friends. This year we gave away over one thousand lanyards! Our lanyards were such a hit.

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At the end of the year, to close it in great style we did an amazing update to Language trainer and added Dutch as a language option. Last but not least, we release the last app of the year, iScreen Aphasia, in collaboration with Dysphagia2Go co-author Tiffani Wallace. iScreen Aphasia was made available on the app store right after Christmas. iScreen Aphasia makes it the fourth app we have created towards SLPs who work with individuals suffering from communication difficulties due to aphasia.

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This was another wonderful year for Smarty Ears, and we are already starting to work on our upcoming updates and new releases. If you are wondering what it is up and coming from us, make sure to sign up to our newsletter on our website. Thank you so much for being an amazing supporter for the past six years.

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