2nd Blogiversary Celebration Day 5

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 I dig activities based on books! It not only makes therapy easier to plan, but it often gives meaning to flashcards and worksheets for many of our kiddos!

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Enter in the Peekapak. Peekapak is a monthy subscription services that delivers a book with corresponding creative activities each month! The box contains activities, crafts, and other creative things that go along with an included book.

Below are some images of the Peekapak I recieved:

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My box, book, activities, and crafts were all about shapes.

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Everything (even the needed scissors) was included which is super nice! Just grab and go! No prep work necessary.

The included activities were simple, but very appropriate and related to the topic of shapes. My box included: a tangram puzzle, a kaleidoscope spyglass, and make your own parachute drop experiment. Additionally, a book and a set of scissors were included.

Interested in the Peekapak? Click here to head on over to their website and use the code SPECIAL10 to save $10!

There are also tons of amazing resources on Teachers Pay Teachers for SLPs to use with books. Check out two fun ones below:

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1) This is a fantastic packet for the book Rainbow Fish and the Big Blue Whale! This packet is super thorough so I can’t even list everything included but some of my most used parts have been the game board, character and setting cards, and the sequencing cards. And who doesn’t love the Rainbow Fish books? Interested? Check it out on TpT here.

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2) This packet is mine so I don’t want to weirdly talk it up too much but its fun and great and this book (The Great Fuzz Frenzy) is the best. Check it out on TpT here.

Want to win a month of Peekapak and these TWO fabulous book companion packets. Enter the giveaway below:

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2nd Blogiversary Celebration Day 4

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Today’s “theme” is all about social skills and FOOD.

The product up for grabs is this lunch bag, which is seriously perfection.

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I have been in a Costco kick lately and typically pack the exact same lunch every day: a Naked juice, a container of soup, and chicken salad.

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This lunch bag fits all three of the items shown above perfectly. It has a small pocket on the inside that I haven’t used yet but might be nice for a napkin, a card, or to put a spoon or something in!

Need a lunch bag upgrade? Click here to check out the beautiful lunch totes from Carried Away Bags. Keep the link up if you want to enter the amazing giveaway below for your shot to win one!

A blogiversary celebration wouldn’t be complete without some reviews of amazing TpT products. Well don’t worry, I have THREE for you today!

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1) Describing Donuts: You can tell when a product is awesome when it’s prepped and used right after you get it! That was this product for sure:

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I love how it provides tons of visuals and uses some of the same parts as the EET, something many of my kiddos are already familiar with. Wanna see more? Click here to check it out on TpT.

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2) Froggy Friends

I have SO MANY social skills kiddos so I was super excited to check out this product! There are three sections including manners, social situations, and feelings. Check out some example cards from each section below:

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Thus far, I’ve just used this product on my iPad but I really want to print it soon. It’s fantastic and I know will continue to get a lot of use! Click here to check it out on TpT.

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3) Who Wants to be a Social Skills Superhero

Who doesn’t love superheros? This product combines three popular topics: TV shows, superheros, and social skills. Great, great, great. Like with the last product, I’ve primarily been using this on my iPad. I just printed it and cannot wait to laminate and assemble everything!

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To check out this product on TpT, click here.

Wanna amp up your lunch time social group? Enter the giveaway below for your chance to win!

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2nd Blogiversary Celebration Day 3

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Who loves being an SLP?! ME ME ME. The giveaways today are all perfect for YOU.

First, is this tumbler which is SLP perfection in my opinion! Check them out:

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Click here to check them out on Etsy! They make perfect gifts and can be customized (the color + a name) if desired. Also, because Dana from 2MBowtique is fantastic, she has provided a discount code good through 12/15/14 for $2 off. Just use the code SPEECHY when you checkout. :)

Also, I have giveaways for two fantastic products for SLPs!

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First up is Common Core Task Cards for Speech & Language (K-2) from Busy Bee Speech which has been an amazing grab and go resource!

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Obviously I hadn’t prepped it yet in these pictures but imagine each desk of cards attached to binder rings so you can grab and go grade specific resources that are adorable and aligned with the CCSS. Click here to check it out on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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 Next is this invaluable resource from Allison’s Speech Peeps. I use it all the time! My current favorites are for /b/ and /p/ to work on adequate lip closure!

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I love how there are both student and teacher copies available so I can take data as my kiddos use the worksheets. The stories are pretty silly and definitely keep the attention of my kiddos. Check it out here on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Want to win ALL THREE of these amazing products? Enter the Rafflecopter below:

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2nd Blogiversary Celebration Day Two

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Welcome to day two of my blogiversary celebration!! Have an iPad? Love using technology in the speech room? Then todays giveaways are PERFECT for you!

The first giveaway is for an amazing product that I’m so, so, so thrilled to share with you. I work with a ton of kiddos who utilize AAC to communicate. It is always hard to find appropriate cases and ways for these kids to keep their device on them at all times. Enter in Chat Bag, a solution to this problem.

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Chat Bag is a truly amazing company founded due a need for a case that their daughter could use to hold her iPad and carry it with her. Chat Bag are great because they can fit around the iPad by itself (how I have it in the pictures) or around a case to make it more shockproof/durable.

Chat Bags have an adjustable strap so it can fit a variety of sizes of people! They are made so the screen is always accessible which is important when it is your voice! It fits me just fine (and is actually awesome to carry my iPad around with) as well as several children I’ve seen it on. After much testing and use, I can say that the Chat Bag definitely holds the iPad in place! No falling out or moving around!

One of my favorite things about Chat Bags is the the variety of prints you can get them in! Finding a device that is exciting and personal to a child is super important and this is one way to do that!

Below are some pictures of the Chat Bag in use. See the front and back pictures below:

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I picked this print because I think it’s a great gender neutral one for me to use with a variety of clients. I also love polka dots!

Below is how the Chat Bag can easily be worn.

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Since I put the Chat Bag on to try it out, it hasn’t come off! I just love how easy it makes carrying the iPad around. Instead of leaving it on the floor, I hang it up with my coats!

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Overall, I would definitely recommend the Chat Bag to those of you who work with AAC kiddos, have a child who uses AAC, or anybody looking for a way to make their iPad ultra-portable. The Chat Bag is made very well and fits like a glove. It doesn’t hurt that it can add a little flair to a child’s iPad either! ;)

To learn more about Chat Bags, the story behind the company, or to see all of the fun prints, click here!

Chat Bags can be customized in several ways and also made for other AAC devices like a GoTalk!

Moving on to another topic, APPS. If you have an iPad, you absolutely need to check out the My Playhome app. It is super engaging, functional, and you can target so much with it!

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Teach Speech 365 made this fabulous packet to go with one of my all time favorite apps. The part of the packet I use the most is the following directions pages (as shown above) but there are so many other topics targeted including great pages for targeting concepts! Two great things I’ve noticed: you can take data right on the sheet and it prints great in both color and black & white. Click here to check out this product on TpT.

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Another fun way to incorporate technology is to use to to motivate your kiddos!! This packet is FANTASTIC for your articulation students who are into Facebook. Let’s be honest, it’s way more fun to practice articulation words when it looks like you are reading off of somebody’s Facebook timeline. I sent home some of these pages in my articulation notebooks and had my kiddos design their own page!

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To check out this product on TpT, click here.

Want to win ALL THREE products above? Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

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{thanks for reading}

Blogiversary Celebration Day One!

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CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!!? Speechy Musings has almost been around for two.years. Um what?! That is seriously insane you guys. For those of you who’ve been with me since the beginning, I cannot thank you enough. For those of you just joining the fun, you are amazing. For everyone reading this, the next two weeks are for you. They will be filled with giveaways on giveaways, limited time freebies, products galore, and more! So stay tuned!

It is definitely getting to the time of year when it’s white white white everywhere here in Wisconsin! I always love the change in seasons and was so excited to wake up this weekend to this:

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So beautiful.

It’s only fitting that the first day of blogiversary fun is centered around all things winter!

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First up is this super fun game by Blue Orange Games. It is the Spot It! Frozen game. How many kiddos on your caseload are just obsessed with Frozen? I’d be willing to bet a large number of them. This is also the most portable game ever!

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I’ve used this game for tons of therapy objectives including comparing and contrasting, describing, story retell, and as a general reinforcer.

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For those of you unfamiliar with the Spot It! games, game play is simple! You flip over two cards and the first person to spot the one item on both cards gets to keep the cards. There are letters on these cards too so its great to sneak some letter identification in as well!

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Can you find the matches below?

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Not sure what the items are called that match in the second picture? Don’t worry! I didn’t either but Blue Orange Games thought of that and also includes a guide :)

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It’s super easy to learn and really motivating!

If that wasn’t enough fun planned for the month of December, I have been busy prepping some fantastic products including these three that I cannot wait to start using with my kiddos!

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I’ll be using this product primarily in my homework notebooks for my articulation kiddos. I really like the monthly calendars that detail activities to do each day! It is different than the other activities I typically put in their notebooks and I know my kiddos will enjoy that! Check out this product on TpT here to see all of the other things included such as a parent letter and no prep, black & white homework pages.

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Another awesome product for your articulation kiddos is Jingle Bell Speech! The included black and white sheets are my favorite – they are SO cute. There are also super cute cards for /r, s, l, k, g, f, v/, SH, CH, TH in the initial, medial, and final position. Click here to check out all of the other awesome goodies in this packet including game boards!!

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Last but not least are these fun Interactive Vocabulary Books for winter. My kiddos benefitted from the fall and Thanksgiving ones so I am super pumped to prep these!! How perfectly does the “Build a Snowman” interactive book fit with the Frozen theme? Click here to check out the product on TpT and read the awesome feedback if you’re not convinced yet!

Want to get ahead in your winter session planning? Enter the Rafflecopter below to win Spot It! Frozen and all three fabulous TpT products shown above!

PS: If you don’t like Speechy Musings on Facebook you probably should because some awesome freebies, giveaways, and announcements will be happening all week and I wouldn’t want you to miss anything! Click here to join the fun!

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{thanks for reading}

Looking for more winter activities? Check out some from my store below. Click on the images to check them out on Teachers Pay Teachers!

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Our Speech Room Staples Linky Party

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Sometimes searching on Teachers Pay Teachers can be absolutely overwhelming. It’s nice to search by top rated products or best sellers, but I know there has to be less popular products that others love and use all of the time. Those products can be so hard to find!!

Below are my favorite four products from other TpT sellers:

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1) Structured Sentence Building from Queen’s Speech: I LOVE using this product to expand sentence length and work on answering WH questions. They are also great to target basic vocabulary! My students love them, they are easy to prep, and black & white. Doesn’t get much better than that!

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2) Alphabet File Folder Songs for Basic Language by Super Power Speech: I use this product every day. There are so many songs in this product and they all target a variety of language skills. Not only that but they are engaging and my students love (and thrive on) interactive materials. I love that CC has thought of everything including file folder tab labels. I keep these all in a file folder bin and grab and go! Love, love, love these!! (and definitely check out her other file folder song products!)

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3) Tackling Apraxia: CV and CVC Early Sounds Edition by Mia McDaniel: Ugh flashcards ugh flashcards and ugh flashcards. My kiddos do not like flashcards and are not fooled by flashcards disguised with cute graphics. While flashcards can be great for their ease of use, they are not that functional and certainly not fun. This product is the best because it is motivating while maintaining a heavy emphasis on drill. AND it gets a ton of trials in each session, because my kiddos are having so much fun! Stop buying flashcards and check out this product instead!!! Pretty much every apraxic kiddo I’ve worked with has loved this product.

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4) Match It Quick by Speech Therapy with Courtney Gragg: You know a product is great when a kid comes in saying “That looks super boring and I won’t like it” and leaves saying “That game was the best!”. This product will do that. It is played the same as Spot It!, the popular game in circular metal tins but with a variety of articulation sounds targeted. It’s great for those kiddos that are doing great in highly structured environments but aren’t quite generalizing completely yet. She has them for a variety of sounds so definitely check out her store!

AND below are 2 of my products that I think you’ll use every day:

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1) WH Questions Binder: I love this product because it is interactive (with small, Velcro-ed icons) and targets WH questions in a much more functional way than flashcards (can you tell I hate flashcards?). Additionally, there is a huge teaching component to this product which makes it great for kiddos who are struggling to grasp the concept.

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2) Interactive Book Attachments Bundle: I realized that with many of my younger students, one of the biggest struggles when reading books was getting them to attend and synthesize the information. Using a book companion packet is fairly useless when the student was paying little attention to the actual book. So, I created the interactive book attachments that attach to the backs of common children’s picture books and provide a sentence strip to describe what is happening in the book. My kiddos have loved being able to find the icon that matches the page and use the sentence strip to tell me what is happening! It provides good visual support to keep your students successful and motivated!

So there you have SIX of my speech room staples. Check out the amazing blogger’s below to see even more products that you just gotta have in your speech room!


What is this EET I keep hearing about?

Do you feel like everywhere you turn you are hearing about the EET? I feel that same way, and I’m here to tell you what I’ve learned about the EET, or Expanding Expression Tool, in the past couple months. I love it, and I think you will too!

According to the Expanding Expression Tool (EET) website, “The Expanding Expression Tool provides students with a hands-on approach to describing and defining. As a mnemonic device, it provides visual and tactile information which facilitates improved language organization. The kit itself is designed to allow you to follow a hierarchical approach taking student’s expression from words to paragraphs to reports. Therefore, it can be used by a variety of ages.

The kit consists of the Expanding Expression Tool, a manual, stickers for written expression, object cards for describing activities and a poster.

The Expanding Expression Tool is color symbol coded. Students learn the code and from this code are able to provide detailed descriptions including the following elements: the category the item belongs to, the function of the object, the appearance, what the item is made of, the parts of the item, and it’s location.

This tool has been classroom tested in both regular and special education classes.”

I love it because it gives my kiddos a framework to describe and define items or words. If you’re tired of saying things like “Let’s think of other ways we can describe that.” or “Hmm… I’m not sure what you’re telling me about. Where did you see it?” then YOU NEED THIS TOOL.

Curious about the research behind it? Click here to see pretest/posttest results and learn about the research supporting the use of the EET.

Personally, I can attest that not only do my kiddos enjoy using the EET (we like to call it “the caterpillar”), but it has really helped organize their language when describing things. It’s multisensory, which I think is what makes it so successful.

Now that you know the basics of what it is… how about I show you around what comes with a kit when you buy it?

First, the kit comes in a handy little box that just happens to fit perfectly in my therapy bag that I carry around with me at all times. It even has space to throw it worksheet/activities that I use consistently with the EET (more on this later).

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When you open it, it looks like this:

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Included is a large EET strand (the basis of the program), stickers, foam dice, a visual stand-up board, cards, and a book containing worksheets and information about the program. I’ll go through each below:

First, is the book which explains how to use the Expanding Expression Tool AND provides tons of worksheets. The one thing I wish about the EET is that this book came with a CD to print the worksheets.

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Next, is the EET strand. You will probably use this the most of anything else in the box. My younger kiddos call it “the caterpillar”. Each bead slides up and down the string:

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Another way to make the EET fun and interactive is to use the included dice. For some reason, dice really get my kiddos excited:

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There is an entire deck of cards included, with simple pictures you can describe AND cards that outline how to use the EET for higher level skills like summarizing:

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Last, there is a handy stand up poster:

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This is what my box looks like:

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I like keeping extra worksheets and visuals inside so everything EET related is in one place since I don’t see kids in one room or office:

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The worksheet shown on the right above is part of a packet I made that works super well with the EET (or without it). Click here if you’re interested!

And below is a picture of EVERYTHING:

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Below is an example of the EET in use. I like to use my worksheets, the visual poster, a card, and the EET all at the same time. So much multimodality support going on here!

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When you go to order the EET, you will be given the option to add on several items that increase engagement with the idea and open the door to tons of fun and interactive treatment ideas. One of the fun add-on options is the EET Steppers. My puppy likes them too :)

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You can do SO many fun things with these like play baseball or musical chairs:photo 3

They are also great as puppy pillows apparently:

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So how do you use it?

Basically, for the younger kiddos, you find a simple object to describe. Each bead on the strand helps your kiddos remember various ways to describe objects. To teach the EET, I like to start one bead at a time. After your kiddos know each bead, they can simply slide each bead over as they describe the item in that way. For example, the top green bead reminds your kiddos to describe the group (green=group) and the next blue bead reminds them to describe what the object does (blue=do). It’s fairly easy to teach and I love that the large strand can eventually be faded to a visual using the included stickers that can be easily kept on a student’s desk.

Does it work?

YES. After teaching each bead, my students need substantially less support to describe items and are now able to describe them much more completely. If you don’t believe me, ask ANYBODY who has an EET and I’m sure you will hear the same thing, this thing works!

How do I get one?

I hope by now you are convinced to buy an EET. Because it is copyrighted, please purchase the kit and do not attempt to make your own. CLICK HERE to check out the website. There are very compelling videos and an online ordering form. From the site, you will be able to add on extras such as the

 Note: I was provided with an Expanding Expression Tool to write this review. The thoughts expressed are mine. No other compensation was provided.

ChatAble App Review

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Personally, I feel like AAC is often underutilized in our field. Oftentimes, this can be due to lack of access to the appropriate technology, cost limitations, or time limitations. We learned in grad school that AAC is appropriate for anybody who cannot meet 100% of their communication needs in a day. I love many things about ChatAble including its $159.99 price tag.

According to the Apple Store, you can, “Create and use symbol based grids…or use photos to make visual scene displays. Or, take both and create a hybrid page. The possibilities are endless with ChatAble. ChatAble is an easy to use communication aid app for people with communication difficulties who benefit from symbol and photo support. Parents, teachers and therapists can create page sets in minutes with an intuitive set up. The customisation options are extensive to enable people with a range of physical, cognitive and language abilities the opportunity to use the app to communicate at home, school or with their family and friends…. After entering your message you can also share it using email, twitter or facebook. As pages can be backed up and saved, you can share them with other students or friends too!”

For the past 2 weeks, I’ve been customizing and using ChatAble with a wide variety of clients. I made pages for myself to play around, and made pages that I use every day at work. I will admit, that like any AAC system, it takes quite a bit of time to get started. I wasn’t super impressed with the pages that come on ChatAble, but they do represent a wide variety of the features of ChatAble which I appreciated. I learned a lot about the amazing things this app is capable of by playing around with the boards that come on it!

Without more boring rambling, here are some amazing things about ChatAble:

 You can easily make picture scene displays. Check out the one that would allow me to share information about my dogs below:

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First, I chose this folder so I can share about my dogs in my about me folder. In ChatAble, you have the option of adding a grid, a picture scene display, or a hybrid of both. I chose Scene so then I can take a picture using the camera or use my photo gallery. Then, I can add hotspots that speak when touched. I can also schedule start times for when they should speak as well!

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Check out the finished page below. You can see the hot spots (that I customized the color of). When touched, they introduce my dogs (e.g., This is my dog Harper).

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Below is the board I’ve used most often since getting ChatAble:

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You can see I’ve put a message in the message window. Once great feature about ChatAble is that you can export these messages into iMessage, emails, Twitter, or even Facebook. Pretty cool, and so functional.

Below is currently how I have my homepage organized. Again, I’ve only had the app a few weeks so I know this will probably change daily for the next month or so, but it gives you a good feel for the app:

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Below is my Arts & Crafts folder, which is growing every day. When you click on colors, the second picture opens. You can easily go back using the back arrow in the bottom left corner.

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One thing that is totally necessary in an AAC app and ChatAble does well is customization options. You can make the grids a variety of sizes:

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You can use pictures or symbols. Here is an example of some of the symbol choices for “play”:

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You can make everything from simple, small grids to a hybrid picture scene display with icon choices:

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Two examples are below. The one on the left is a hybrid and the one on the right is a very simple grid (2×2).

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 You can change almost everything. The text size, font, border color, background color, etc… I love the features and options!

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Overall, I felt like everything was easy to learn and intuitive, all while maintaining many options without feeling cluttered.

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You can edit pages by using the menu in the bottom right as shown above. Below are two pictures of the MANY options available to you in the settings:

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PROS:
-Customization options
-Usability
-Picture scene display/hybrid option

CONS:
-Less symbol choices than I would like
-Voice output isn’t great
-Twice I’ve had small changes not save

OVERALL:
This app is a fantastic AAC app that has become a must have for me. I love the customization options and the overall ease of use. I haven’t even used half of the options available (e.g., using an icon to open a webpage, adding musicThe picture scene display option is amazing and so useful. I can see taking pictures of my game closet and putting hot spots on each game for beginner communicators to make choices. The ideas are endless. I would absolutely recommend this app for AAC users, parents, and SLPs.

Check out ChatAble in the App Store here!

{thanks for reading!}

Let’s Use Language App Review

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been extremely MIA lately! In the past month, I’ve graduated, started a new job, got ANOTHER puppy, bought a house, went on a vacation to the Dominican Republic, and was in a wedding. I’m.exhausted. So please excuse the lack of posts and new, fun materials! I promise they are coming!

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Today, I’m excited to share an app review of Let’s Use Language. It’s an app very similar to another one I’ve reviewed in the past, Let’s Be Social. I enjoyed that app (and use it often) so I knew right away I’d like this app as well.

This app targets: vocabulary, sequencing, categories, and opposites. You can also make your own books to target anything you’d like!

Vocabulary:

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 Below is an example story from the app. You can scroll down slightly but this is about the length of most! I really like how they are short and to the point.

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Below are some example question from the vocabulary section:

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Sequencing:

Below is a question in the sequencing section from the same story:

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Categories:

Below are some example questions from the categories section:

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I was slightly confused about this section. Overall, I wish there were more typical category type questions. Another book asked questions such as, “Do penguins fly?” Instead, I wish they had questions like, “A penguin is an animal. Name three other animals.”

Opposites:

Below is an example of  an opposite question:

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Each time the app provides you with instant feedback:

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And then after each “module” or book, your students can see how many they got correct:

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Pros:
-Good length of stories
-The stories are relatable and easy to understand
-I love how the app is set up. Easy to use and not too many graphics/extra things.
-Targets topics I need more materials for!
-So far, the app seems to be getting great reviews from SLPs!

Cons:
-Some of the questions are directly related to the section they are in. BUT they are all useful.
-Many of the questions asked are not directly answered in the reading passages.
-No data tracking, only the report at the end (if that matters to you).

At the time of this review (01/16/14) the app was $14.99 in the App Store! Definitely worth it! Check it out here.

Disclaimer: This app was given to me in exchange for my review. No other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed are mine.

App Review: Minimal Pairs Academy

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If you read my app reviews, you will know that Smarty Ears is one of my all time favorite app makers. I love all of their apps, and love that many are based on evidence-based practice which is so important!

This app is called Minimal Pairs Academy and is based on the cycles approach for phonology!

When you open the app, you are greeted with the picture above. I like that is bright and colorful, but not super overwhelming. From here, you can start the app or view previous reports.

To start, you can choose up to four students to play at once.

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You can also double tap the pictures of the students to edit their goals. Check out all of the options for targets below:

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This doesn’t even show all of the options (you can scroll to see more) so the variety of targets is fantastic. If you look on the bottom of the first picture above, you can see that you can target auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production, and phrase completion.

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Auditory bombardment is shown above. On this level, the app says a word and your student finds the corresponding picture until they are all gone.

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This is an example of the phrase completion level. As you can see, there is a phrase on the top and two minimal pair options below.

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The production level is the classic minimal pairs activity. The flipped over card is a minimal pair of the image shown.

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Last is auditory discrimination. Two images are shown with a word and your student must find the corresponding image!

One thing that you might have noticed throughout is that this app takes great data! You can either take it yourself (see the green, yellow, and red circles at the bottom of some screens) or the app takes it itself like in the auditory discrimination page. I love this feature. Check out some of the data it takes below:

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One great thing about most Smarty Ears apps is the ability to customize. In the settings, you can adjust word lists and more!

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Overall:

I love this app, and that it does most of the work for you. It does take a bit of time to get all of the students in the system and their goals set, but once you do it’s smooth sailing after that! This app truly does it all. I trust Smarty Ears apps to have minimal crashing and issues AND to be based off current research, which is very important to me. The voice in the app is surprisingly clear, as are the pictures used.

As I hope you can tell from this review, I’d definitely recommend this fantastic app for your phonology kiddos! It’s available in the iTunes store for $19.99 here.

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