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…
And the amazing travel case:
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!
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:
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
-Provides tactile feedback for tricky sounds
-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.