There 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.
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.
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.
About: The Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment (BAPA) was developed for the purpose of assessing the articulatory and phonological abilities of monolingual and bilingual speakers of English and Spanish. BAPA can also be used to assess articulation and phonology skills of either monolingual English speaker or monolingual Spanish spakers.
About: The Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit is a qualitative screening and assessment tool that can be can be used to identify articulation errors and phonological difficulties. Sunny can be used as a stand alone tool or in combination with other paper based testing materials. The Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit (SAPT-K) is an individually administered clinical tool for screening, identification, diagnosis and follow-up evaluation of articulation skills in English speaking individuals. Sunny is the application that will save you not just minutes, but hours on assessment procedures, error identification, caseload management and report writing. Test administration is not only more efficient but also more engaging for students. The results provide a complete written report and a comprehensive overview of the articulation and phonology inventory of the student tested.
3. Common Core Early Language Screener: ($24.99 – Now: $19.99)
About: The common core standards are expectations set out by the states regarding what students are expected to learn from kindergarden through 12th grade in order to be prepared for postsecondary education (www.corestandards.org). The Common Core Early Language Screener (CCELS) is a screening tool used to identify weaknesses in early language skills. The CCELS was designed to be used with Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and first grade aged children; however, the screener can be used for other groups if needed.
4. Basic Concept Skills Screener: ($24.99 – Now $14.99)
About: Basic Concepts Skill Screener (BCSS) is a quick, motivational screening tool created to help assess the basic concept skills in children. Designed by certified speech-language pathologists, BCSS uses technology to engage clients while assessing their school readiness skills. Perfect for all levels from preschool to early elementary, BCSS assesses the concept skills needed for pre-reading and math skills. The Basic Concepts Skills Screener is sure to be a great app for the busy speech-language pathologist, teacher, parent, or caregiver.
5. Profile of Phonological Awareness: (Full:$29.99 – Now: $9.99)
About: The Profile of Phonological Awareness (Pro-PA) was developed for the purpose of evaluating and describing the phonological awareness skills of children. Phonological awareness skills are related to speech sound and literacy development and should be assessed in children with difficulties in speech, language and/or reading (Catts, 1993; Gillon, 2002, 2005).
About: ATEval2Go provides a guide through the evaluation process and a thorough template for technology consideration including the ability to enter text, pictures, and audio about background information, environmental observations, tools already within the environment, student abilities based on targeted goals, and potential recommendations. Using the iPad’s multi-function capabilities, professionals can take pictures, record audio, and input text directly in the app generating rich, multimedia artifacts necessary for the purposes of documentation, analysis, and contemporary report creation.
Founded by a language and culture lover, Smarty Ears CEO, Barbara Fernandes is vested in providing quality apps that will help children not only in English but also in as many languages as possible. Smarty Ears has released a new version of two apps: WhQuestions & Fun & Functional that will help children with language difficulties reach their potential in their native languages. WhQuestion is now available in Spanish, Portuguese & French. While Fun & Functional is now also available in Spanish & Portuguese. All language are available inside the same app, users can switch language choices within the settings of each app.
“As a practicing speech-therapist, 95% of the children I saw were Spanish speakers; Spanish speaking clinicians end up pulling their hair out to come up with materials in languages other than English. I want to make sure other Spanish speaking therapists in the Unites States and around the world can have more tools to help children communicate.”
The latest version of WhQuestions includes a receptive and an expressive component to answering a variety of WhQuestions. WH Questions features over 400 opportunities to answer and ask real-world questions. With beautifully designed fun illustrations, and versatile yet real world questions, WH Questions is the “go-to” app for helping students attain proficiency at asking and answering basic questions. The app is available on the app store and compatible with the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Fun & Functional, authored by speech-language-pathologist Rosie Simms, was designed to help improve language comprehension and expression in individuals by enhancing the ability to identify and describe the function or use of real-world objects. Fun & Functional users can now easily switch language of choice of the app by accessing the settings function. Fun & Functional can be downloaded from the app store on the link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fun-functional/id498640017?mt=8
Smarty Ears is already one of the leading providers of apps for speech therapy in Brazil with over 14 apps in Portuguese. Smarty Ears has a dedicated website for their Brazilian users on www.ipadfono.com. Smarty Ears has also started building their dedicated Spanish website which will be released in the last quarter of 2014.
The company has spent a large amount of effort in 2014 in translating their apps into other languages. Some of Smarty Ears apps are now available in five languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German & French. Smarty Ears plans to release two additional apps in Portuguese and Spanish before the end of 2014, and to start offering more apps in French in 2015.
Smarty Ears has not only been the leader in app development for speech, language and communication apps, but also has started to push the development of the first apps in languages other than English for promoting language and speech development. Smarty Ears is proud to announce the release of WhQuestions in three additional languages: French, Spanish & Portuguese.
WhQuestions was initially released in January of 2010, and it was one of the first speech therapy apps on the app store. Since its conception and initial release, WhQuestions has gone through many updates and improvements. Most of what users see today is a result of a lot of hard work from all of our team members. The current version of WhQuestions, version 3.6, contains both a receptive and an expressive task. The receptive task was also introduced on this latest version of the app.
Barbara Fernandes, Smarty Ears CEO, has always had a commitment for offering apps in as many languages as possible. Smarty Ears already offers over 10 apps in Portuguese ( www.sefono.com), several in Spanish ( www.espanol.smartyearsapps.com ) , two in French and one in German.
Over the last four years, Smarty Ears and Bilinguistics have been working on the first and only articulation app fully standardized on the iPad. The Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment has been available on the app store since 2011 as a non-standardized qualitative assessment of Spanish only articulation and phonology skills. In 2012, BAPA was updated to include one of its kind feature on any bilingual assessment for articulation: the ability to evaluate both English and Spanish skills for each student. The application was also able to be used by English speaking speech-language-pathologists to assess English speaking students. BAPA quickly became one of the most versatile assessment options for evaluators, as it permitted the assessment of students regardless of their primary language.
In 2014, Smarty Ears updated BAPA to its version 2.0 to include standardization. This is a ground breaking advancement for speech pathologist who up until now had to rely only on bulky and outdated paper based evaluation tools, or on qualitative assessments of articulation and phonology on the iPad.
“We are very excited about the release of the version 2.0 of BAPA. As a speech-pathologist who did primarily evaluations with Spanish speaking students all over the Dallas area, having an iPad application that can automatically not only provide me with standard scores immediately after an evaluation but also an automated report, I can say this is one of the most exciting contributions I have made in my profession,” said Smarty Ears CEO Barbara Fernandes.
It is very important that English speaking speech-pathologist understand that the use of the term “Bilingual” on the name of the application, does not refer to the fact that the app was designed to be used only by bilingual SLPs, but to the fact that it can be used to assess two languages: English or Spanish or both.
Smarty Ears has been on the forefront as the only app developer to create iPad based assessments for speech pathologists. Smarty Ears has released evaluation tools for language, basic concept skills, phonological awareness skills and of course articulation.
Award-Winning producer of iPad apps for individuals with communication difficulties updates its iName It app in order to support iOS 7 and add two new languages, Spanish and Portuguese.
Dallas, TX – October 29, 2013 – Smarty Ears is excited to announce that it has updated its app, iName It, adding two new languages: Spanish and Portuguese. iName It was released in 2012 and developed initially for the one million English-speaking people who suffer from forms of Aphasia in the United States. Now, iName It will serve an even bigger population by reaching out to speakers of two additional languages. These individuals are unable to find the right word to describe an item, action or thing.
Since each person is different, creating an app to address everyone’s difficulty level was challenging. Clinicians had to develop a universal approach that would be suitable for all types of users. iName It combines multiple strategies that can assist patients who struggle in a wide variety of areas. The app has been effective at helping patients with different levels of communication.
iName It gives users a simple, systematic way to retrieve just the right word, using realistic visual scenes that are enhanced by the five methods of evidence-based cueing strategies. iName It allows speech therapists to use various combinations of cueing options in order to meet the requirements of each patient, regardless of their level of need. Each target word can be elicited by one or more of the available cues.
iName It is just one of the iPad apps created by certified Speech-Language Pathologists, Elizabeth Begley and Mary Pitti. iName it was developed under the guidance of seasoned app designer, Smarty Ears CEO and also speech-language pathologist Barbara Fernandes. Fernandes’ company, Smarty Ears, has developed over sixty apps for those with various communication difficulties, including children and adults in a variety of languages.
According to Mary Pitti, Clinic Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Ithaca College, “We’re excited to making some updates to our iName It app for iPad. By adding Spanish and Portuguese, we can now reach out and provide a tool to thousands more individuals who struggle with Aphasia around the world.”
Fernandes added, “This app has become an essential tool for SLP’s who work with those struggling with Aphasia. We zero in on basic words that people use on a daily basis. We’ve gotten great feedback from Speech-Language Pathologists in Brazil who already use one or more of our 15 apps that are available in Portuguese thus far and many of them urged us to develop a version of iName It for those who speak Portuguese.”
Smarty Ears is an award-winning company with an extensive line of educational and medical apps, many available in multiple-languages and designed to serve as tools for promoting speech and language skills to children and adults. The apps are designed for kids and adults alike and have become a favorite tool for speech pathologists and teachers working with those who have communication difficulties.
Smarty Ears has earned the “Teachers with Apps Certified Developer” certification. This Certification recognizes App Developers who consistently create educational apps for the mobile platform that are exemplary in content, presentation, and execution, as well as overall user experience.
iName It is currently available for $14.99 and can be purchased from the iTunes app store: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iname-it/id486781414?mt=8. The app is compatible with an iPad running iOS 5.1 or above.
You can watch a video to learn more about iName it here:
For more information about Smarty Ears or iName It, please visit smartyearsapps.com or email at [email protected]
About Smarty Ears
Smarty Ears is an award-winning developer of educational iPad apps for children and adults. Each app is designed to educate students while making the learning experience fun and entertaining. All apps are developed by certified speech-language pathologists & teachers with years of experience and training. Smarty Ears was founded in 2009 by Barbara Fernandes, a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association and was the first company to create apps geared towards speech and language therapy for mobile devices.
Award-Winning producer of iPad apps for those with learning disabilities launches its newest app, Sentence Ninja. Sentence Ninja is designed to help children and adults improve their English sentence structure skills.
Desoto, TX – October 5, 2013 – Smarty Ears is pleased to announce the release of its newest educational app, “Sentence Ninja”. This app was authored by Rosie Simms and designed by Barbara Fernandes, two speech-language pathologists and it was designed to teach how to correctly build phrases and sentences in the English language.
The app is a multi-level, multi-player game that combines the latest iPad app features with today’s best understanding of how to teach English language word order on simple phrases all the way to complex sentences. Sentence Ninja uses the creative and fun Ninja theme and includes numerous features and the flexibility to teach both kids and adults how to combine words and produce grammatically correct sentences. Sentence Ninja was created as an educational tool to be used by those who are trying to learn English or by children with grammatical difficulties or recent stroke victims.
Smarty Ears is an award-winning company that is well-known for its extensive family of educational apps that promote speech and language skills in children and adults alike. The apps are often used by speech pathologists, teachers who work with special needs students, homeschooling parents, or people who are learning English as a second language.
Smarty Ears has earned the “Teachers with Apps Certified Developer” certification. This Certification recognizes App Developers who consistently develop educational apps for the mobile platform that are exemplary in content, presentation, and execution, as well as overall user experience.
App designer and Smarty Ears founder, Barbara Fernandes, had this to say, “We are so pleased with our latest educational app and have already received very positive feedback from users. Kids, educators and parents are finding Sentence Ninja fun and easy to use. It is a great tool for individuals of all ages who need some help learning about sentence structure. Sentence Ninja is, in my opinion, one of Smarty Ears’ best productions yet!”
Sentence Ninja uses a delightful Ninja theme to engage individuals as they learn correct word order in sentences. The iPad app is easy to customize, and adaptable enough to adjust to meet everyone’s learning levels. There are 39 difficulty levels that range from simple two-word phrases to complex sentences. The app teaches and reinforces grammar rules in the English language.
A playful Ninja figure walks across stepping stones as players move from one level to the next. With each turn, words are displayed on pieces of paper. The player drags these words to a line at the bottom of the screen to form a complete sentence. If the sentence is not correct, the words return to their position and the student can try again. When a session is completed, a simple tap on the done button takes the user to a reports center where the student’s progress is shown. Users can generate certificates and win awards as they move through the levels.
About Smarty Ears Smarty Ears is an award-winning developer of educational iPad apps for children and adults. Each app is designed to educate students while making the learning experience fun and entertaining. All apps are developed by certified speech-language pathologists & teachers with years of experience and training. Smarty Ears was founded in 2009 by Barbara Fernandes, a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist certified by the American Speech and Hearing Association and was the first company to create apps geared towards speech and language therapy for mobile devices.
For more information, please visit: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/sentence-ninja/
Media Contact: Jonathan Fernandes Contact @ smartyears . com Smarty Ears De Soto, TX
Speech therapist Barbrara Fernandez foundedSmarty-Ears apps last January and has since created over 15 apps for the field. I spoke to her about Expressive (US $29.95) an augmentative-alternative communication (AAC) app that at first seems similar to the much more expensive Proloquo2Go, but it serves two purposes.
Like most AAC apps or devices, it allows those without the power of speech due to Autism, Downs Syndrome or even temporary verbal problems to communicate. Tapping on categorized symbols allow one to build phrases that are spoken. The app contains 450 pre-set symbols and more can be added.
The second purpose of the app is to teach language and the relationship between symbols and words. Many children have a limited vocabulary and too many unfamiliar symbols would be confusing and overwhelming. “You can start out and delete everything and slowly build the vocabulary and specifically design the application to meet the needs of a student. I think that’s the main concept here.” Expressive helps with “limited expressive language communication skills” so it’s appropriate of all levels of communication disorders.
Expressive is meant to be used by speech therapists in conjunction with parents to build a child’s vocabulary and communication skills. In its simplest iteration, you would start with a noun. When that has been learned, an instructor can odd modifying words and build up from there. Although it may sound simple, seeing a picture of a ball and understanding that it represents all balls may not be obvious for some. There is an edit mode where symbols can be added or deleted and a user mode that doesn’t allow changes. Without this a child could inadvertently delete everything.
Smarty-Ears also has apps for people with other communication problems. There are apps for those that stutter, and kids with articulation delays who have problems pronouncing specific sounds. A number of them are meant to be used by speech therapists, along with special education and ESL teachers. Barbara hopes to make all of her apps bi-lingual. Expressive will be offered in Spanish and Portugese very soon.
One of Barbara’s favorite apps is Pocket Pond HD, an interactive fish pond which she uses to teach the simple concept of interaction. The app looks great, and touching anything in the pond creates splashes while fish, lily-pads and other objects can be added. Cause and effect is not always a simple concept.
Currently, only about 15 percent of speech therapists are using AAC apps but the number is growing and Smarty-Ears will be in the forefront of the field.