Monday, August 11, 2014

Articulation Test Center {an app review!}

If you are a big fan (like me) of Little Bee Speech's Articulation Station App, then I think you will love their new, improved Articulation Test Center App.  It’s a two-in-one tool a screener and a full assessment of articulation with all the crisp, kid-friendly photographs that we love from Articulation Station. 

Before I give you the lowdown, I should mention that I was given a free download of this handy app in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my very own. 

Perfect timing!! 
Last week was my very first week of school and I had new students who transferred to my school from out of district and out of state.  I jumped on the chance to use this app in order to assess these little guys. 

I watched the video tutorials first.  I’m not normally a tutorial-watching-SLP but this one was quick and painless and made using this app a snap.

Although this app gives you the option to have screen rotation which allows you to sit across from the student, I sat on the side of the children to adminster the test. 

I used the screener first.  I was so excited to see that you can choose the child’s age for the screener. If you do so, the app will only present the stimuli that is approrpriate for the child’s age.  

That was it.  
I was in love.  


The screener works very much like the full test so I am going to fill you in on my experience using the full test. 

First of all, In the settings, there plenty of smart setting choices.  For instance, you can turn off the option for the app to “say” the stimulus words when the picture is tapped.  I loved this option because I find my little ones very “tappy” with the screen which results in the stimulus word being said over and over again. 
Ever happen to you?  Oh yeah.  No more of that. 

I choose to administer the whole test but I was stoked to see that you can opt to assess only certain areas which would come in handy for re-evaluations for my students who only needed an /r/ assessment, for instance. 

The full test has 59 stimulus words but it still took very little time to administer- especially once I got familiar with marking the errors. 
No flipping pages- just flick, flick, flick.  
No hauling books around - just my iPad.  
~ Happy SLP right here ~

For each stimulus item, the target sounds in green at the top of the screen.  

When the students makes an error, you simply tap the sound until it turns red.  If it’s an approximation, tap the sound until it turns yellow.  
For omissions, you swipe the sound up and off of the screen. 

You can also record each production so you can listen to it later.  This is perfect for those days when I’m running around like a madwoman and don’t have time to mark errors right away. 

The app allows you to mark substitutions by tapping the arrow in the upper right corner which pulls up a pop up box with possible substitutions. Simply touch the sound substitution and drag it to the phoneme it substituted like I did here when my students substituted /s/ for "ch." 

In the same way, you can also indicate phonological processes (which I really like!)  Normally I keep track on those in my head.  
This way I don’t have to strain my brain :) 
I also really appreciate that it reminds me at what age the process I select should cease.  Good info! 

Again, you can also record each production so you can listen to it later. Call me crazy, but I love transcribing my students’ productions.  I need to see the productions in transcription to truly process the error patterns so I liked having the ability to listen and transcribe later ... dʒ^st tu mek ʃʊr aI dɪdənt mɪs ɛniθɪŋ

I would actually love it if the app came with a printable protocol.  
Does that make me old school? 

Once the test is done, you get the happy bee telling you you’re all done!
 If you’d like to, you can move on to the speech sample scenes to assess connected speech.  This is also a nice way to take a language sample even though this app wasn't designed for language assessment.  

There are three large sample scenes that are really colorful & irresistable. 
Lots to look at and totally interactive! 
If you tap an image, you get a nice close up and a conversation starter/prompt pops up. 
Talk about doing the work for you!! 
I didn’t even have to think of the questions! 
This could come in handy for those hectic days when I really feel fried.  
{Just keepin’ it real, y’all.}  

OR if you want to turn that option off, you can. 
Seeeee - the options just keep coming!  

After you rate the child intelligibility, you are done! 

Then here comes the best part- the results!!  
Little Bee Speech does a fantastic job of compiling the results in multiple ways.  
They really wrap up all of the data and let you view it many ways. 
Just beautiful. 
  1. You can view the errors marked according to position. The age the sound should be mastered is also indicated. I personally use different norms than the ones provided but this is great information. 

2.  The app creates a report that summarizes all of the information according to the child’s age.  It tells you recommendations about which sounds they need to address in therapy according to their age and which sounds are in error but developmentally acceptable. Again, it has done the thinking for us.  I actually love assessment so I kind of missed analyzing the data and coming up with my own conclusions (I’m nerdy like that) but this was a humongous time saver.   

3. Know what else I dig? You can print or email the results which is perfect for paper lovers like me. 

So let me sum it up, y'all: 

Overall, I think this app is the best iPad based articulation assessment tool out there, and I’ve tried them all!  
For an SLP on the go, it’s the perfect alternative to lugging around test booklets, and I don’t know any elementary student who wouldn’t respond well to it. 
 You can find it at iTunes for $49.99 BUT this week Little Bee Speech will have Articulation Test Center AND Articulation Station on SALE for back to school! Woohoo!! 
Both apps are 30% off from August 12-15! 
That means you could grab this app for $34.99 right now! 
  Don’t you just LOVE a sale!? 
So tell me, have you tried Articulation Test Center? I’d love to hear about your experience with this app!  Fill me in! 
Happy assessing to you! 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Liebster Award: My First Blog Award and 11 Personal Secrets Revealed

Hooray!! My very first award!  
Julianne from Something To Talk About SLP nominated me for the Liebster Award! 
                                                         TA DA!! 

How cool is THAT?! Julianne is an excellent blogger and I'm just excited that she even reads mine!  So when Julianne chose me for this award, to be honest, I had to google what it even was! I had never heard of it but soon found out it was legit!

It seems that liebster is a German word meaning sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome. Those are a lot of nice words! Aww shucks :) 

The Liebster Award is granted BY bloggers TO bloggers with fewer than 200 followers who they feel are "up and coming" and deserve some recognition and support to keep on truckin' - like a big bloggy hug and thumbs up!  
What a nice thing!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, Julianne, for nominating me! Please forgive me for taking so long to blog about it.  {It's kinda awkward blogging about yourself getting an award and it took me a long time to figure out how without being too bragalicious- I hope I succeed} 
If you haven’t done so already, go check out Julianne’s blog.  She has inspiring posts and great ideas for therapy! 
The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award
  1. Write a blog post thanking the blogger who nominated you for the Liebster Award, and link back to his or her blog.
  2.  Answer the 11 questions that your nominator asks you.
  3.  Post 11 random facts about yourself.
  4.  Nominate 5-11 bloggers of your own, with under 200 followers, whom you think are awesome and deserving of this honor.
  5. Create 11 questions for your nominees.
  6. Display the Liebster Award logo on your page.
  7. List these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)

My answers to Julianne's questions: 
1.   Are you a morning person or night owl? 
      I am such a night person, especially when I'm on break from school.  I always end up staying up wayyy too late reading, watching TV, crocheting or creating TpT materials.  Before too long,  I completely have my days and nights mixed up. I have never been nor ever will be a morning person, but I really wish I was! 
2.  What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? 
      OMG I love banana ice cream - even better - with walnuts in the mix.   I'm not much of a "sweets person," but I am a sucker for banana ice cream.
3.  What is your favorite summer memory?  
      My favorite summer memory is just the summer routine I had growing up in a small town (which is 1 square mile). Each day of summer, my best friend and I would take off on our bikes in the morning, and we often didn't come home until dusk.  We made the rounds to all of our friends' homes, spying on boys we had crushes on and looking for any adventure we could find. The freedom of summertime - drinking from the water hoses in random yards, setting up slip-in-slides on one of our yards, and just sitting in the grass telling secrets made for a fun childhood.
4.   Are you a chocolate person or a candy person? 
      Actually, I am not much of either.  I love salty treats! Pickles, olives, chips, and nuts are my vices, but I DO have a little weakness for Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and Laffy Taffy! 
5.  Are you a cat person or a dog person? 
      I love animals of all kinds and I actually do have cats, but I am a dog fanatic.  I have an 8 year old Lhasa Apso named Lola who is the furry love of my life.  When Lola was just a few years old I lost my first 2 doggie loves, Maggie and Bailey, who lived 15 and 16 happy years with my little family.  They gave me more happy moments than I could ever count.  I can't imagine ever living without a dog. 
6.  What do you want to be when you grow up? 
      I want to be too many things, and I keep adding to the list all the time!  My dream since childhood was to be writer, and as long as I can remember, I wanted to own a bookstore... until Kindle squashed that dream.  I'd love to be a restaurateur (old school Cajun cooking!), a travel agent, or a graphic designer.  Even more so, I can't wait to be a grandmother!
7.   What is one thing you try to do everyday?  
      I try to express gratitude to God everyday.  I feel so blessed to have a happy, healthy, family, to still have my parents, and to have overcome the obstacles I've faced in my 41 years.  I'm so thankful for the beautiful life God has given me that sometimes I feel my heart may burst.  
8.   What is your favorite childhood movie?  
      Ohhhhh myyyy goshhh.  This is soooo hard.  The first thing that pops into my head is the Neverending Story (circa 1984), but ET is a close second, and let's not forget I named my firstborn after Ferris Bueller's Day Off! 
9.   Who inspires you?  
      My mom inspires me to the Nth degree.  She is almost 80 and can do anything.  She is the strongest and most selfless person I've ever met.  She truly lives by the golden rule- treating everyone as her equal and treating them as she would want to be treated. She goes above and beyond for everyone from pauper to prince, taking in those who need, reaching out to those who others may ignore.  She'll also give you a good kick in the butt when needed.  My mom is a bad ass. 
10.  Where do you want to travel to (a place you have not been before)?  
      I am dying to travel to Europe, but how will ever I choose what to see there!!?  I want to see it all.  Every inch of it.  In fact, please tell me your favorite places.
11.  If you were a cookie, what would you be and why?  
      I would probably be a macadamia nut cookie because I'm sweet but definitely nutty.  

11 random facts about me       

       1. As a preteen, I caught my loooooonnng hair on fire running past a candle.  It    
            sounded like bees buzzing around my head.  Thanks to my mom's quick        
            move of throwing a blanket over my head and dousing me in the tub, I lived  
            to tell about it.  My hair never grew past my shoulders again. Bummer.
       2. All the through the 80s I thought I was Madonna.  I dressed like her "to the 
           max" and even used eyeliner to draw on her little mole.  I still have all of her 
           albums (on vinyl of course).
       3. The man I married was my neighbor from the age of 4 to the day we married.  
           We used to run outside at night and meet at the corner between our homes 
           to steal one last kiss. Our parents still have homes on the same block which 
           makes visits back home super convenient! 
       4. My parent and in laws' first language was French.  I am part of the first  
           generation of our family whose first language is English.  We are true blue 
           Cajuns  (and I should note we all speak correctly contrary to common  
       5. I drew the house plans for our current multi level home on graph paper.  1  
           foot = 1 square of graph paper.  Don't ever tell me I can't do something. 
       6. I'm petrified of frogs of all kinds.  In high school I stopped leaving my house 
           after dark, and my mom sent me to therapy for it.  Didn't work all that great-       
           moving off to college where there were less frogs worked better.   I chose my  
           college major (communication disorders) because it didn't require biology (ie. 
           frogs). My husband and sons are on permanent frog watch.  
       7.  I play the piano. 
             8. My dad never yelled at me once in my whole life (and trust me, I deserved   
                 some yelling!) He set the bar very high for all men in my life. 
9           9. I'm a complete foodie and everywhere we go, my husband and I try all the    
                 local dives.  They're actually on our vacation itinerary. 
           10. I wish I was outdoorsy, but I just am not.  Perhaps this is frog related. 
           11. Since my sons are grown, for my 40th birthday, I ditched my big SUV and  
                 bought myself a baby blue VW Beetle convertible!

                                       and my nominees are.....

1)Jeanette from Speak Well Read Well 
Speak Well Read Well is my go-to blog when I want to discover a new children's book to use in therapy. Not only does Jeanette explain how she uses the books she loves, she has great suggestions for crafts and activities. Occasionally, she even posts an author interview! She's been an SLP over 20 years and her passion for doing literature based therapy is beautifully displayed on her blog.  
Jeanette, I hope you'll accept this Liebster award!  

2) Kelly at Speech2U 
Kelly is clearly a talented SLP, but what makes her blog so special is that she is hilarious.  Her blog seriously makes me laugh out loud for real.  Kelly is informative and gives great therapy ideas while being entertaining and just clever.  Her quips about raising her equally hilarious son always leave me smiling, too.  TAG, Kelly, YOU just won the Liebster Award! :)) I can't wait to read what you're blogging about next!

3. Meredith at the Peachie Speechie
If you haven't been to this speech and language blog, you are missing out on some fun, fresh ideas for therapy.  It's a great mix of DIY activities, themed book lessons, handy tips and Meredith's ingenious 100 word challenges for articulation.  OH and she recently added the cutest SLP tees (and bags and mugs and pins- oh my! ) ever known to mankind. 
Meredith! I love your blog! 

4.  Abby at Schoolhouse Talk
I love that Abby mixes it up with speech therapy blog posts as well as motivational posts and personal tidbits. She has simple but brilliant ideas for therapy with the littie ones as well as fun craftivities!  I always look forward to her short "funny Friday" post, too!  YOU have been nominated, Abby!  I think YOU and your schoolhouse ROCKS! 

First, let me say I covet the name of this blog.  Being a self-proclaimed word nerd, this blog speaks my language.  If you are prone to being bookish, you should go directly to this little blog post haste.  It just makes me happy.  It makes me feel not alone in my thinking when I choose to spend my Friday nights having a hot date with a novel.  All fellow readers (and grammar gurus)click now and thank me later.  
This is just a little award, Word Nerds, but feel free to pretend it's a Pulitzer Prize. :)

           1. What's your favorite vacation destination?
           2. If you won the lottery, what would be your first splurge? 
           3. If you could learn to do anything at all, what would it be? 
           4. Since clothes "maketh the man (or woman)" what does what you're wearing 
               right now say about you? 
           5. What was your favorite childhood game? 
           6. What's the #1 most played song on your  smart phone?
           7. If you could close one fast food restaurant due to their disgusting food, which 
               one would it be? 
           8. What's your beverage of choice? 
           9. What's your favorite meal or the best thing you've ever eaten?
          10. What movie deserves a sequel? 
          11. What's your greatest accomplishment thus far? 

   Let’s keep the blogger love's your turn to nominate! 

         Now in my house when someone brags or toots their own horn, my son, Riley, always finishes off the conversation by saying "hash tag humble brag" so I think it's only appropriate to leave you with this.....

Thanks for tolerating this bragalicious post and celebrating my happy news with me 
(if you read this far:)


Sunday, June 22, 2014


I can't believe June is almost over!! 
How did that happen? 
My summer break is officially half way over...
somebody make it stop! 

As promised in my previous posts, my latest mission for summer break has been "OPERATION NOLA." 
I love NOLA {NOLA = New Orleans, LA}  
The quaint hidden cafes. The old world charm. The architecture. The oaks.
 The streetcars.  The food.  
You never know what surprises you'll stumble this cat we recently spied napping in the window of an art gallery....

You don't see that everyday. Anything goes in this strange and wondrous city. 

I've spent the end of May and much of the month of June in New Orleans for 2 reasons.

First, we spent an action packed weekend celebrating my oldest nephew's wedding. It was the most unique and fun-loving wedding I'd ever attended.  We'd been waiting for this wedding to happen for a long time.  
Aren't they a beautiful sight? 

The ceremony and reception was so lovely, complete with a “make your own bananas foster” bar?  My son, Riley, couldn’t eat at all the next day because of an overdose of bananas foster, a dish created in New Orleans in 1951.  If you haven't experienced the magic of bananas foster, you must click here because you're missing out. 
(if you follow me on instagram you already know what a major foodie I am :)

Cooked bananas. Ice cream. Brown sugar & rum. 
Essentially, it is heaven in a bowl.
But I digress.

The ceremony, the reception, the food, the family, the drinks, the music- all fabulous! Look at us in the photo booth trying to be cool...

Oh here's more attempts at coolness..
It was just fun :)

 As the reception wound down, a jazz band joined the festivities and paraded around the reception hall while we all "second lined."  If you're not familiar with what this means you can learn more about it here. Basically, it's a group of revelers parading through the streets- or in the this case the room- usually with parasols {that's southern for umbrella} and hankies- behind a brass, jazz band. 
It's most commonly done for funerals and weddings.  

When the jazz band paraded out of the reception venue, we thought it was over.  WRONG!  They headed into the streets of the infamous French Quarter - and so did we!  The NOPD shone their blue lights and cleared the streets so that we could second line down Bourbon Street!  The bride and groom danced with their parasols while we paraded behind them- sticking with the tradition of waving our handkerchiefs as we marched.  

It was around midnight by this time and French Quarter tourists parted the streets so we could pass. They snapped photos and boogied along with us.  

Stumbling onto a second line in New Orleans is always exciting - it’s not something you see everyday- like a parade just sprung out of nowhere!  

Next we pranced down Canal street, one of the busiest streets in New Orleans, once again stopping traffic.  It ended with us congregated at a busy intersection that the jazz band filled with music while we watched the new couple dance a little more.  You can see them in the video.   It.  was.  so.  much.  fun.  
I can’t even explain. What a great memory for my nephew and his new wife!


After the celebration, my husband and I hit the streets of the French Quarter with our extended family members. After all, the whole air conditioning system at the 4 star hotel where we were staying was broken and it was much cooler on the streets. 

Now a broken AC might not mean much in other areas of the country but LET ME JUST TELL YOU, New Orleans in the summer is like living in a mouth.  
Hot.  Wet.  Stinky.  
AC is a necessity- not a luxury.  When we gave up and rolled into our hot, muggy room somewhere close to morning, we slept atop the covers and wished for daylight so we could haul out of there! GAH!! 

But we were not done with New Orleans.  
Back and forth.  Back and forth.  We keep going. 
You see, my oldest son will be attending graduate school there in August, so we commenced the housing hunt well in advance. 
He had done that whole "live in squalor with roommates in crummy apartments and falling down houses thing" during his undergrad years and he'd finally outgrown that and was ready to return to quiet, peaceful, grown up, civilized living. 
 Well, we very quickly found out that NOLA real estate is something very similar to Manhattan real estate. OH MY!! 
Since Hurricane Katrina soaked much of the city, housing is a hot commodity, especially in the most popular, beautiful and safe areas. 
We quickly learned that for a small fortune, you can rent or buy a rotted, rusted shack of sorts or a small room in a mega mansion subdivided 8 ways that has seen much better days. 
Forget washers and dryers.  Those are apparently rare in NOLA.  Forget parking.  
Forget even central AC.
It’s been a challenge to say the least. 

So back and forth we ride down Interstate 10 to New Orleans to look (hopefully) at more dwellings.  My son isn’t picky; he’d live in a cardboard box and call it an adventure, but this momma wants him tucked away safe and sound in this notorious city- which happens to be at or near the top of every list for danger/crime/murder.  (gulp)

We eventually decided that perhaps we’d buy one of the tiny shotgun houses that color New Orleans.  It would be an investment and a place for us to stay for the weekends we spend in the Big Easy, and we would be the perfect landlords for our son. That’s not easy, y’all! When little houses hit the market, they’re snapped up in a day or two.  
I feel like I’m in an episode of House Hunters.  Not in a good way.

Back we ride on Monday to look at a handful of more shotguns.  Don’t know what a shotgun house is?  So classic New Orleans... 

Read about them, their history and how they got their name here.
In the meantime, wish us luck with the house hunt!! 


Monday, June 2, 2014


Well, hello there! 
I feel like I've abandoned my little blog :(  
Even though there are countless tidbits that I want to write about swimming around in my noggin all the time (and feeding my insomnia), I rarely get time to sit and write.  I post far too seldom, but that's about to change! 
Why, you ask?  

It's summer - that's why!!  SLP Mia is about to take a backseat to SUMMERTIME MIA!  Well, technically, I still do therapy in the summer with some private kiddos, BUT I just earned some serious “me time” to do the other things I love.  Not to mention, I get some time focus on my own kids and spending time with my boyfriend (ok he's actually my husband but it still feels like he's my boyfriend which is so cool.) 

You see, the school year wrapped up over 2 weeks ago for me.  
Can I get a round of applause for that lovely statement?  
 Isn't the last day of a school year just a glorious day?  
I mean, it’s not that I don’t love what I do or that I won’t miss my babies - because I definitely do and will BUT there’s just something about having those summer weeks without RUN-RUN-RUNNING around like a crazy person that helps me breathe better.  Helps me BE a better me.  No pressure........just ahhhhhhhh. 
Hear that?  That’s me exhaling. 

We ended the school year with our big end-of-the-year speech summer trivia competitions, heads up app fun, popsicle slurping and bubble blowing extravaganza...

.....and then we sent the kiddies away for the summer

These guys pretty much sum it up

I have been doing a little of this,

but the very thing I did was help my two sweet nieces (look at them below how cute!) throw a SURPRISE teacher retirement party for my sister-in-law, Lisa, and her best friend.  

My nieces and I all live two hours away from where the party was so it was quite a complicated operation!! Thank goodness my mom and a few others back in Mamou helped us pull it off.   

One of the things I was “in charge” of was making signs!! I put my TpT skills to use to bang out some signs for those 2 lucky first grade teachers!  That was so much fun - here are a few of my faves:

So my sis-in-law and her friend were tickled and I think the party was hit so my first mission of the summer has been accomplished! 

Speaking of bucket lists- I’m making my summer bucket list now. 
#1 on my bucket list- BLOG MORE! 

  Oh, and since the retirement party is checked off the list, my next mission was Operation NOLA (that stands for New Orleans, Louisiana) 
More on that next time! 
Stay tuned!

Hope you are basking in the joy of summer, too! If not, hang in there! 


Monday, May 12, 2014

Happy to be an SLP Blog Hop!

Yep, I'm so happy to be an SLP! What a great profession we have!  
Thanks, Felice (the dabbling speechie) for inviting me to share some SLP tidbits during this Better Speech and Hearing Month! 

When I was in graduate school at LSU,  my main responsibility as a graduate assistant was to maintain and operate the AAC lab. I was privileged to learn from and practice alongside the clever (and fun!) Dr. Judith Oxley. 
 I fell in love with AAC.  

For any newbies or students or non-speechies here, 
AAC stands for augmentative and alternative communication:
  • Augment means to add to or to enhance. For example, we can all augment speech by using gestures, body language, facial expressions. Individuals with communcation disorders who cannot be understand by speech alone, should augment their speech to be better communicators. 
  • Alternative means a choice or a substitute.  Alternative communication consists of using other means like pointing to symbols, “clicking” on pictures,  signing or spelling to communicate. 
AAC is the term used for all communication that is not speech but is used to enhance or to replace speech.  An AAC System refers to all methods a person uses for communication, for example, gestures, eye “pointing,” vocalizations and pointing to symbols all combined.  AAC systems can be temporary or long term.  They meet the need of non-verbal individuals (or those with limited verbal skills) to express their wants and needs and have some control over what happens to them!

ASHA explains it like this: 

AAC is truly multimodal, permitting individuals to use every mode possible to communicate. The ability to use AAC devices may change over time, although sometimes very slowly, and the AAC system chosen today may not be the best system tomorrow. In any case, an AAC system is an integrated group of four components used by an individual to enhance communication. These four components are symbols, aids, techniques, and/or strategies.

Check out these cool research based facts about AAC: 
  1. According to ASHA, by recent estimates, over 2 million people who with significant expressive language impairments use (AAC). This is, of course,  because they have difficulty communicating via traditional means (speech!)
  2. Although some parents worry that AAC may hinder their child from communicating orally, numerous studies have found that the introduction of AAC usually has a positive affect on speech; children who are given AAC often develop speech faster than they would have otherwise (Bodine & Beukelman, 1991).
  3. IN FACT, the introduction of AAC correlates with the improvement of natural speech—-even in situations in which no speech therapy has been given. (Berry, 1987; Daniels, 1994; Romski & Sevcik, 1993; Konstantareas, 1984; Silverman, 1980).
  4. Here’s some added bonuses:  Studies have shown that children who use AAC have shown improvements in behavior, attention, independence, self-confidence, class participation, academic progress and social interaction (Abrahamsen, Romski & Sevcik, 1989; Silverman, 1980; Van Tatenhove, 1987)
Over and over again throughout the years I have heard SLPs that they don’t know enough about AAC. For that reason many of us feel uncomfortable working in this area. 

 Remember when I said, I fell in love with it?  
Well, in all honesty, over the years, I fell OUT of love with it.  Why?  
Because it is tedious and time consuming.  The technology our there is mind-blowing.  With high tech AAC, the technical difficulties are sometimes frustrating.  With systems of all kinds, the troubleshooting can be exhausting and the need for updating and tweaking is constant.  When there is lack of follow through from teachers and others after setting up AAC systems, it’s discouraging.  
Have you been there?  I feel your pain.  
Keep in mind....
It will never be perfect.  We will never know enough.  Still, it’s important that we make it happen for our patients, students, clients, etc. because...
it changes their lives. 
In fact, that very idea is where my blog name and logo came from...

We really DO put words in the mouths of those we help. 
We have the power to give them a voice.  How cool is THAT!? 

Wanna know what has completely changed MY life?  
A free and fabulous AAC app iPhone or iPad called Sounding Board!
 It’s not perfect and it’s not made for every child, but for many children,  in my experience (especially those who cannot obtain expensive technology), it has been a great solution. It’s a great start for many. For ME, it has been a great solution in therapy because it’s fast, easy, and functional. 


 If you are a swamped school SLP juggling a {over} full workload, this may be your lifesaver. 
(Oh, and by the way, I am in no way affiliated with AbleNet- they don’t even know I exist!)

I’m always shocked how few SLPs know about or use this app. I couldn’t live without it now that I’ve found it.  Now that I have become good at (which didn’t take long),  I can create a customized, voice output communication board in under 5 minutes.  It’s SO easy.  

You can use the symbols and/or pictures that come with it or you can take your own photos in a flash using your iphone or ipad. You can purchase more images through the app (although I will say I wish there was a larger selection). 
I typically use it as a point/touch system but there are also options for switch scanning or audio scanning. The options will FREAK you out (in a great way).
Prior to starting an activity, I take photos of all of the items we will be using (or options for the students during the activity) during the therapy session.  You can also take pictures as you go if you prefer. Then I customize my board, adding the voice output (I record my voice right on the iPad or iPhone) and the written text.  Even for non-readers, the text is important because the ultimate goal - even for those who display NO emerging literacy skills - is literacy.  

You can even link other boards so that the choices become more dynamic or export boards to other devices which is a huge time saver if you have a group of kids all using their own iPad with sounding board. 

Once my students’ special ed. teachers saw how easy it was, they started created boards, too.  Now there are several paras on our campus who take the initiative to create communication boards. It’s like a sounding board lovefest around my school, and the kiddos are the ones reaping the benefits! 
It’s just perfect for schedules, requests, and storyboards.  I think the possibilities are ridiculous!  

I could go into great detail about “how-to.” but alll you really need to do is play around with it to figure it all out. 

Here are some examples of communication boards I have made for therapy: 

All of these were made in mere minutes with voice output and all :)  

 I hope this got your AAC juices flowing!  
If you’re a sounding board junkie like me, I’d love to hear YOUR tips!!
Now back to the blog hop...
Grab your letter below to help you figure out the secret phrase!

Head to the next blog to grab more tips and ideas!
Don't forget to enter the big giveaway at the last stop!  
Happy Better Speech & Hearing Month! 
Keep putting words in those mouths! 

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