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:
4th of July
St. Patricks’ Day
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 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.
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.
Special education apps are increasing its exposure on the internet and on iTunes. Apple once again spotlighted one of Smarty Ears apps. Two of our apps this week are not only amongst top 10 best selling education application on iTunes, but they have also been featured by Apple as “New & Noteworthy”.
Smarty Ears has had a history of very successful products which are recognized by Apple inc. as worthy.
Articulate it!: An application that helps children with speech delays practice their sounds, was also this week #3 best selling education application just one day after its release to the iTunes store.
Smarty Ears would like to thank our users for their support and positive suggestions that have allowed us to create products that help speech therapists, special educators and parents work as a team to help our children with special needs.
If you would like more information about Articulate it! Visit our website; if you would like to download it click the button bellow to see it on the iTunes store.
Match2Say has just been released and it is already a success thanks to all of you who love using Smarty Ears’ apps. Today Match2Say was featured on “New and Noteworthy” on iTunes. This is another great accomplishment for Smarty Ears, speech therapists, teacher and most importantly children with speech delays.
At the same time on 11/07/2010 Match2Say was the top #5 Best selling education app:
They seemed like a match made in heaven in the eyes of every friend, but their passion for helping children made Jonathan and Barbara Fernandes an even stronger couple. For the last year Barbara, a speech therapist and Jonathan, a Dallas ISD English teacher have been creating apps that can help children with a variety of delays to communicate better.
Barbara and Jonathan have created nearly 20 applications within the last year, all of them towards helping children with a form of a communication difficulty. Barbara has always been “geeky” and started experimenting with graphic designs and programming by the age of 11. Jonathan is a passionate artistic English teacher and the voice featured in almost all of their applications.
“We love spending time together, recording and editing our voices that will be used to help so many children all around the world. Some of our apps feature both of our voices. It is a lot of fun to see the result after many hours of work!”
As an English teacher and artist, Jonathan is responsible for making sure children are learning good English skills. As a speech Therapist, Barbara makes sure all apps are appropriate to target some skills that are affected the most by children with language disorders. They are building the bridge between regular and special education by working as a team.
Speech Therapy most of the time is expensive and the parents rarely have access to the same materials used to practice speech and language skills. While Smarty Ears’ apps do not replace speech therapy, the developers love being able to tell a parent that they can now also help their children at home with these apps in order to maximize the results. It is a well know fact that the more children practice the quicker we are to accomplish results; parental support is the key to success.
“Our apps are simple to use and can also be used not only by special education teachers but also by teacher in regular education that should always be providing support to children with speech delays” says Barbara Fernandes.
Smarty Ears has apps such as: Articulate it! Or /r/ intensive that are designed for children that have difficulty pronouncing some sounds. In order to improve the ability to say certain sounds, children will need lots of practice daily. Parents can use these apps to help their children at home with drills based on the sounds they are having difficulty with. One of our apps called Match2Say is a matching game that organizes the sounds and allows children to play while practicing the sounds they have difficulty with.
Smarty Ears also has apps for children and adults who stutter, and also apps such as iPractice Verbs and WhQuestions for children with language delays. This month we will also be releasing our first Augmentative communication app: Expressive. Expressive is an application designed to help individuals who do not communicate verbally to be able to express their basic wants and needs. Expressive is an alternative communication application that is intended to be functional and easy to use. It is very easy to program and make the words fit the child’s need. We also plan to release it in Portuguese and Spanish still this year.
Apple has given our world an amazing set of devices. Developers can now make these products available to parents at a price that is a fraction of what comparable technology or services would cost.
We are always very happy when Apple decides to feature Smarty Ears’ apps on “What’s hot section” on iTunes. This is not the first time Sunny Articulation Test has been featured on What’s hot! Actually, both Sunny and Mobile Articulation Probes are often features by Apple. This is a sign that not only consumers love our apps, but also Apple as well.
Mar 19, 2010 – A company created in August of 2009 has been the new breakthrough in the area of speech and language therapy. This company that has been releasing innovative products that combine technology and speech and language sciences, making speech therapy more affordable, fun, and greener. The company has been named “Smarty Ears” and it comes as a fresh, innovative, mesmerizing solution for a variety of issues in the profession. Smarty Ears has been creating innovative iPhone, iPod and iPad applications for speech and language therapists, as well as for individuals with a communication disorder such as stuttering and their parents.
Smarty Ears has already released 10 products on the app Store as of March, 2010 and it is expected to release at least 3 new products per month. Amongst its most popular products is “Mobile Articulation Probes” – an exciting original app that allows for practicing and probing of articulation errors, “WHQuestions” – a great app that provides over 120 Wh questions for practice, “ iPractice Verbs” – an innovative app with visual and auditory information on over 130 verbs at the word and phrase level, “Fluency Tracker” – a handy app that allows for tracking of changes in behaviors associated with stuttering. Smarty Ears will be releasing apps in the area of dysphagia and aphasia within the next month, as they are very enthusiastic to help improve every aspect of speech therapy.
In the past, parents had limited access to Speech and Language materials, which are not only expensive but also usually only advertised for Speech Pathologists. Smarty Ears gives parents the ability to provide their children additional practice in those areas affected by a speech or language disorder. Smarty Ears’ apps are both affordable and easy to use by both parents and children with a communication disorder.
Up until recently Speech Therapists have been limited to ordering paper & pencil activities or creating their own materials to be used with children with communication disorders. These materials are often expensive. Smarty Ears adds one additional possibility to the market, which is the ability to instantly download materials on the iPhone or iPod as well as the ability to order materials way below the price they would pay for flashcards or other paper and pencil materials.
Smarty Ears gives speech therapists a “green” friendly alternative to other speech products such as flash cards because by using their iPhone apps Smarty Ears improves their product whenever there is an application update that users who have already purchased the product can download for free. Printed materials and traditional publishers by contrast are neither generous enough to issue updates to customers that improve their product for free nor consciousness of the waste produced when an older product becomes obsolete. No more having to create eventual waste and fill landfills with products that eventually wear down, get damaged, or become obsolete. Smarty Ears appreciates and listens to both their customers’ needs, and recent research in the speech community to keep their products relevant in an ever changing world.
Not only is Smarty Ears a more environmentally conscious method of conducting therapy it’s also in most cases a more convenient one. Speech therapists often have to move therapy materials from one room to another and often may have wished that everything was more compact. With Smarty Ears, products are all conveniently at your fingertips on the one item that goes everywhere with a person—their iPhone—no more having to search the room or strain one’s arms to gather therapy tools or hope that there isn’t a piece broken or missing.
Children with communication disorders sometimes have reduced attention spans, which makes it difficult for improving their language or articulation skills. Smarty Ears adds the component of technology that children from this generation in particular love, increasing their attention span and making therapy, practice, and progress a much more intrinsic experience.
Smarty Ears is the result of the efforts and creativity of Barbara Fernandes, a licensed and practicing speech and language pathologist. She is a trilingual speech and language pathologist that currently works for a public school district and has worked with children from a variety of multicultural and linguistic backgrounds with a myriad of different needs. Barbara plans to create apps in a variety of languages, which makes Smarty Ears ever more important as the world becomes more and more multilingual and multicultural.
The amount of materials for Speech therapists in languages other than English is very limited. Smarty Ears will be a game changer as publication of its products become available in more and more languages. Smarty Ears already has released two apps in Spanish- “ Mobile Articulation Probes” and “ My bilingual baby”. Bilingual speech therapists are celebrating this new very welcome addition to their “library”.
Smarty Ears mascot “Clever” has added a key feature to Smarty Ears products. The response we are getting from the addition of a mascot to our company has been great! He was first utilized as part of the app iPractice Verbs. “The kids love how funny and silly he sounds!” Says Barbara Fernandes, owner and director of the company.
Smarty Ears has already sold hundreds of applications worldwide and it is now one of the finalists for receiving the IMPACT award for making a significant impact in the area of health sciences.
For more information you can visit their website at http://www.smarty-ears.com
To find all Smarty Ears apps just search on your app store for the key word “Smarty Ears”.
Now speech therapists can count on an application that will provide more than 200 questions ready to be used in therapy. The questions are grouped in 5 categories: what, where, who, how, and why.
Often times, parents may feel discouraged with practicing with their child who has the need simply because they don’t feel they have the tools accessible to give their child the much needed help. “WHQuestions” is designed to empower the parents of children with difficulty answering questions with the ability to practice this language skill with their child at home at any time.
In addition, “WHQuestions” comes equipped with the ability to track the percentage of accuracy so that the speech therapist can focus more on the therapy itself instead of the tracking data.
If “WHQuestions” becomes as big of a hit as Smarty Ears’ first application “Mobile Articulation Probes” the company will have to start creating new applications every month. This is Smarty Ears’ second release in one month!
It seems that Speech Therapists are finally joining the group of professionals that embrace that technology is just part of the reality of this new century. Are you ready for it?