Speech Buddies Review

I’m sure you’ve all heard the hype about Speech Buddies, right? Well a few months ago I was lucky enough to receive a full set to check out. I waited anxiously for the package… and then it arrived!

I opened it up and was immediately impressed by the professional packaging…

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And the amazing travel case:

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When you open the case, it looks like this:


The direction packet is really great… really. See below for an example of one page. I think this is what makes Speech Buddies so great for parents. Between their online resources (including exercises with data tracking) and the booklet, there is no shortage of information on their use!

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In case you need a little background information, Speech Buddies are a new tool that can be used to teach clients the correct production of problem sounds. They do this by utilizing the tactile learning method aka by providing tactile feedback to get the tongue into the proper placement. Speech Buddies can help to teach proper tongue placement during actual speech for 5 sounds: R, L, S, SH, and CH. Below are links to the instruction manuals for each sound:

Cheetah (CH)
Lion (L)
Rabbit (R)
Professional Set 
Seal (S)
Shark (SH)

If you’ve read other reviews, you will know that nobody’s experience with Speech Buddies is the same. While one review may say that /s/ was the least effective, another might say the opposite! What this means is that Speech Buddies aren’t effective for every single case. But the overall impression from reviews I’ve read is highly positive.

Before using the Speech Buddies with any clients, I had to test them on myself! I try to always do things myself if I’m going to ask a client to do it! 🙂 Thanks to the fantastic instruction guide, it was easy to figure out how to place the Speech Buddy in my mouth. I practiced saying each sound with my tongue lightly pressed up against the Speech Buddy. Overall, if I were a child in speech therapy who was using Speech Buddies, I would be thrilled to use these over tongue depressors. They are small and coming from a bit of a texture person, the texture is so much nicer! The feedback was also very specific. There was very little room for error for my tongue placement! Last, I would guess that Speech Buddies would be much less scary to a child when placing them in the mouth. They are small, good looking, and have a fun, child-friendly name!

Because I’m in graduate school, the Speech Buddies set had the opportunity to travel around and be used with multiple clinicians and multiple clients. The great part about that is I was able to make sure they were easy to use and helpful for many people, not just myself! EVERY PERSON I lent the Speech Buddies to loved them. I don’t think there was a negative (or even neutral) experience in the bunch. The R (or Rabbit) Speech Buddy definitely got the most use due to the clients that tend to come to our clinic. The Speech Buddies were fantastic for some really tough /r/ cases. Some of these kiddos have been in therapy for 8 or so years and have residual issues with /r/. 50 minute sessions twice a week targeting /r/ can get exhausting, and I think the Speech Buddies were a welcome change by both clients and clinicians. The clinicians who used them thought they were effective, and many stated they now hope to get a set if/when they need them in the future!

-Portable, easy to carry around
-Effective for many clients
-Child friendly
-Provides tactile feedback for tricky sounds
-Great instructions
-Online exercises (Speech Buddies University) including word guides

-Must be cleaned between clients (although this is fairly easy with rubbing alcohol or Clorox wipes)
-Not an instant fix for all clients
-Not available for all sounds
-Very difficult to use on some children who have missing teeth!

Honestly, I get the apprehension about spending so much money on a set of Speech Buddies. I will not say they are an instant fix for every client, but they are for some. And they are helpful with most… So overall, if you are considering purchasing Speech Buddies, I would say go for it! They are a lifelong tool, and have been absolutely fantastic in my experience! I cannot wait to continue using them and see the progress!

Thanks for reading! Do any of you own them? What do you think?

*Disclosure Statement: A Speech Buddies set was provided in order to complete this review. No other compensation was provided.

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9 Comment

  1. Reply
    Anne Harvey
    May 20, 2013 at 8:06 PM

    I bought these last summer but returned them after reading in the manual that they are intended to be used with only one client. I am not comfortable putting something in a child’s mouth if I am not using it as recommended by the manual. Many other types of equipment provide instructions for cleaning and sanitizing between clients, but speech buddies did not.
    Have they changed the manual to document how the tools can be sanitized for use by more than one child?

    1. Reply
      May 20, 2013 at 9:38 PM

      Thanks for your question! I asked the company themselves and here is their reply: “While we do recommend that one buddy be used per child, we do realize that this is not always the case. You can clean the Speech Buddies with mild soap and water, or you can submerge the Buddies in a 70% isopropyl alcohol and rinse thoroughly with water. Both of these cleaning methods will work. You can also refer them to our FAQ page on our website.” Hope that helps you!! 🙂

  2. Reply
    May 21, 2013 at 5:23 PM

    Doesn’t the /r/ speech buddy teach the retro flex /r/ and not the high back /r/?

    1. Reply
      May 24, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      Yes, that’s true!

  3. Reply
    Sharon Swindell
    May 21, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    I have the good fortune of owning a set of Speech Buddies (my school district purchase them for me!) and I have found them helpful. I have found the most success with the /s/ speech buddy. It was very dramatic! The /r/ speech buddy was not as helpful, but I’m not giving up!

    1. Reply
      May 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

      That’s so great! What an awesome district! Thanks for sharing your experiences with Speech Buddies! 🙂 I love hearing how they’ve worked for everybody!

  4. Reply
    August 13, 2014 at 5:01 PM

    Has anybody had success with the ch speech buddy with a child with a lateral lisp? I am thinking about purchasing the set as I have some very tough client’s with R errors and laterla lisps who have been in therapy without improvement. The price is what is stopping me from purchasing them at this point.

  5. Reply
    November 7, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    I am wondering if it is normal practice for a speech teacher to use a multiple shared speech buddy letter R device with my daughter. She has an IEP for speech/ language. Her teacher never mentioned or discussed a device like this before. My daughter has never had any type of mouth exercises ( not even a tongue depressor) before Only speaking games for her IEP.

    1. Reply
      November 7, 2015 at 5:54 PM

      I would email your SLP and ask about specifics! Good luck! Sounds like you’re a great parent 🙂

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