There are articulation apps available that those of us who travel will find handy because they save us the hassle of schlepping cards around. They are not animated so they get no points for animation and interactivity. But then the iPad is a convenient tool as one may find this app to be as well.
Articulation Station Pro: This app is nicely laid out and easy to use. Pictures are offered for consonantal phonemes in initial, medial and final positions of words. One can select to work at the word, sentence or story level. The phonemes are written in phonetic and phonemic forms. After one selects the targeted phoneme, a new screen appears with various options. At the top right is a light bulb. Tap on it and a new screen appears. This screen explains how the sound is produced. Below the targeted sound are three buttons: words, sentences and stories; tap on the level desired.
The word level offers 20 pictures in flashcard form or as a matching game. There are two types of sentence presentations: rotating and unique. In rotating sentences, the sentence stays the same while the target word changes after one taps on the spin button (pictures rotate in slot machine form). Unique sentences show a picture of the targeted word and a sentence with the word highlighted in red. Stories are divided into levels 1 and 2. Level 1 contains pictures in the middle of sentences, whereas Level 2 is straight text. The stories are short, three to four sentences, but contain numerous words using the targeted sound. There is one story for each level. Following the story are three questions about the story. Each question has three answer choices. The child taps on the correct answer.
The photographs used throughout the app are clear and attractive as is the layout and design of each screen. Tap on a sound, picture, word or sentence and it is narrated. I found the rate of narration to be excessively fast, as if the narrator was in a hurry. I would have a preferred, at a minimum, a normal rate, if not slower, and with emphasis on the targeted sound in each word.
I felt that the number of words and sentences was sufficient. However, this app falls short in the number of sentences offered in stories. I counted anywhere from three to five sentences per story. Also, once the story level is completed, the tutorial states, “Once the target sound has been mastered at the word, sentence and story level the sound should transition into conversation with minimal to no prompting.” To the contrary, I have found that the conversation level is the most time intensive and most difficult transition for children and adults to make. Suggesting otherwise can lead one to have unrealistic expectations of the client. This can lead to frustration for parent, therapist and client. As it is, there are those who feel that once someone can produce a sound then the next step is using it all the time. I frequently have to dissuade parents and clients of this notion by explaining that sound correction is a process with using the sound in conversation the most challenging step.
This app has a scoring feature and contains a database for an unlimited amount of children. The scoring feature is manual. One taps on the green button if the child says the sound correctly or the red button if the sound is incorrectly said. The child’s score are visible on the top right hand side of the screen. Another app feature allows one the option of combining any number of sounds in flashcards simply by tapping on the balloon+ icon at the bottom of the home screen. This app also allows the child to record and play back her production of the sound, word or sentence.
Articulation Pro is not a complete sound correction program. It offers words, sentences and stories, in an attractive format, that one can use as supplements to therapy. Additionally it offers a video tutorial for those who would like to view how to use the app.
Developer website: Littlebeespeech.com
Cost: $49.99 each for the Pro version which includes 22 consonantal phonemes. The free version charges anywhere from $2.99 to $5.99 to purchase each phoneme set separately.