Articulate It – A Review
An app for speech sound disorders to be utilized by Speech-Language pathologists. The app allows for targeting articulation or phonological processes at the word, phrase, and sentence level while collecting data. The app was recently updated to version 3.2.1 in April 2013, so there are new features to the app to check out.
- Whether you are using a Van Riper (1978) approach to target a specific phoneme or are targeting multiple phonemes, the app is set up to select activities based on one or several phonemes at the word, phrase, or sentence level. For instance, you could just select the phoneme /p/, then select initial, medial, or final position to target. Before starting the activity, the word list appears to turn on/off specific words. It does have a the option to target /r/ in initial, medial and final positions, but it does not distinguish the various /r/ types.
- The app has 8 phonological process word lists to use as targets, including fronting, backing, stopping, gliding, final consonant deletion and others. For instance, if targeting backing, a word list with phonemes produced in the front appear, such as “ball” and “soap”.
- Syllable Structure:
- For those students omitting or reducing syllables, the option to target 1, 2, 3, or 4 syllable words is present. This is also useful for clients with low inteligibility on multisyllabic words or those who reduce or delete syllables. Again, the option to target at the word, phrase, and sentence level is availble.
What I Like
- Data collection allows for correct or incorrect options. The “report cards” for students keep track of percentages for each level, activities practiced, and an overall accuracy to-date. You can then share via e-mail or keep within Smarty Ear’s Therapy Report Center
- The pictures are realistic, not drawings or illustrations. Over 1,000 images. Some of them might be more abstract in meaning, but still I enjoy the realism.
- The phonological processes activities are included and can provide a basic word list and flashcard activity which makes this more than an articulation app.
- Recording utterances at the word, phrase, and sentence level is a great option within all activities. Recordings are saved for each individual word and are displayed in the client’s report card. Again, all shareable via email. Hearing their own productions and receiving feedback has been an excellent motivator. I love that you can save and go back to listen!
- Once you edit a word list or settings for each player, the app remembers all the settings from previous sessions.
Suggestions and Dislikes
- Organization – I wish the four activity options – phonemes, phonological processes, manner, and # of syllables – were combined in a different way or weren’t different activities at all.
- For instance, I want to click on phonemes and they be organized by manner of articulation or voicing (which they aren’t currently).
- Word lists – The word list for all activities are ordered alphabetical and time consuming to select/deselect. I prefer/need organization by syllables. If the organization were different, I believe this wouldn’t be as much of an issue.
- Age-Appropriate Words and Pictures – The words for sounds such as /p/ in initial position include “pork”, “path”, and “perfume”. I want more word choices like “pet”, “pit”, “pat”, “pad” that don’t have later developing sounds.
- All the word lists and include appropriate targets, then overly complex words that yes, include the targets selected, but miss the mark for beginning stages. It is easy to find word lists on the internet like the ones offered in the app. When this app is marketed to “SLPs and educators”, I expect that level of detail, such as word lists which factor in age of acquisition and complexity of phrases and sentences.
- At the sentence level, it only compounds on complexity. Such as the target for final /b/ –> “The baby loves bathing in the bathtub”…talk about a mouthful! True, I’m not taking data on the other words, but if the client can’t get past the “th” sounds, the final /b/ might not be successful either.
- Vocabulary – The design of the app appeals to a younger audience, yet some of the words and pictures don’t directly illicit the target word. For instance, on the word “hot”, the accompanied picture shows a woman who looks like she’s sweating (hot flash, maybe?), rather than a picture, such as a hot stove, which a child may be more familiar with.
- Phonological Processes: The phonological process such as final consonant deletion includes a word list of almost all the words in the entire app. What if I just wanted to target words ending in /p/ and /b/ for young kiddos? Not only do you have to work through the list looking for the orthographic endings, some words like “cape” don’t end in /p/ and might be overlooked.
- I should probably use the phoneme activity for /p,b/ in the final position, but why have phonological activities if you can’t customize for age-appropriateness?
Given the multiple options in iTunes and the higher cost of these apps, it can be difficult to determine which to purchase. Based on how many suggestions I had and the extent to which I had to alter my interaction with and use of the app, I do not currently recommend purchasing Articulate It. In all fairness, I want an app I can manipulate with ease and other apps I have used provide this level of use. Perhaps in future updates these suggestions will be addressed and I can revisit my review. Other SLPs really enjoyed the app and discussed their findings in the reviews listed below. While there were many features I did enjoy, my standards for an articulation app were not met with Articulate It. You be the judge if you have purchased or plan to purchase. I’m open to second opinions as always.
- Other reviews of Articulate It by SLPs: Cooking Up Good Speech, Speech Time Fun, The Speech Bubble
- Smarty Ears’ video demonstrating the app in use