{Articulation Testing Apps} Reviews and Comparison of Articulation Test Center, Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit & Test of Articulation and Phonology (iTap)

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This review is a comparison of 3 articulation testing apps based on full versions of each app updated to most current versions in the USA App Store on 5/7/16:

Test of Articulation and Phonology (iTap) – FULL by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/4DCKab.i, regularly $74.99, on sale for $44.99 on 4/30-5/8/16. App video tutorial:

Full info about this app has not been posted yet on the company’s website.

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Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/xNuiw.i, regularly $49.99, on sale for $29.99 on 4/30-5/8/16. In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/sunny-articulation-phonology-test/. App video tutorial:

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Articulation Test Center by Little Bee Speech
https://appsto.re/us/C59VP.i, regularly $49.99, will be on sale for $39.99 on 5/10-5/13/16. In depth info: http://littlebeespeech.com/articulation_test_center.php.

App video tutorials:

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So here are my thoughts in comparing all 3 apps:

  • I like the exporting options in iTap & Sunny. It’s nice to have the option to export the results as a PDF as well as editable text. Articulation Test Center just exports it as editable text (adding a PDF option would be a wish for a future update for this app).
  • I like more of the features in Sunny vs. iTap. In particular, the info that shows x of x is helpful to know where you specifically are in the test (also used in Articulation Test Center) vs. the progress dots at the bottom of iTap. I also like the testing options available in Sunny: quick consonant screener, r screener and full test with or without scoring vowels. The scoring seemed to be a little more intuitive in Sunny vs. iTap.
  • There are even more testing options available in Articulation Test Center: Screener (quickly test sounds based on age: 2 yrs, 3-4yrs, 5 yrs, 6+ yrs) & Full Test (within that you can do the entire test or specify what subareas to target: initial sounds, medial sounds, final sounds, initial blends, vowels, r sounds and speech sample). And based on your selection, the app tells you how many stimulus cards will be included.
  • In iTap and Articulation Test Center, I like that you can add a photo or avatar for the student. This is not an option in Sunny.
  • In iTap and Sunny, the scoring is initially more intuitive but Articulation Test Center is also very easy to score after watching the in app tutorial. Articulation Test Center provides additional info that makes scoring vowels and phonological processes easier.
  • Articulation Test Center allows you to fully score each part of a blend separately. This is helpful when you have a patient who exhibits errors on both parts.
  • All 3 apps have a way to adjust the setup when a patient is seated across from you vs next to you. In iTap and Sunny, test probe word can flipped. In Articulation Test Center, the test probe picture can be flipped.
  • Articulation Test Center includes 3 options for speech sample scenes (Mountain Adventure, Beach Day & Fun At The Park). Each scene has the option to toggle the background sounds off/on, swipe to explore the scene, discussion prompts that pop up when you tap items in the scene, in-app recording to record a speech sample and the option to rate intelligibility. It is especially cool that you can choose to just use this portion of the app. The scenes are filled with great details that would lend themselves well to speech-language therapy. It would be really cool if the app developer added them to their Articulation Station App in a future update.
  • Sunny has 11 sentence scenes with in-app recording, the option designate the production as reading or repetition & the option to enter notes. Targeted sounds can be scored as correct or incorrect but no other specific scoring of errors is available in this portion of the test (which makes sense since you would lose the flow of the sentence if detailed scoring was attempted).
  • Articulation Test Center includes suggestions for sounds to target based on developmental norms and the age at the time of testing.
  • Sunny is a “universal” app that works on an iPad, iPhone or iTouch. iTap and Articulation Test Center only work on an iPad. This is not an issue for me since I only use my iPad in therapy (the facility where I work prohibiting us from carrying cell phones in areas where patients are present). I would imagine that scoring might be difficult on an iPhone unless it was the largest size. But folks who don’t have access to an iPad but do have an iPhone may want to consider Sunny as an option.
  • I see some potential problems in using the iTap as a “standardized” test. The test was only normed on 199 children ages 3;0 to 10;11 in central Texas. This may not be an issue if you are dealing with private pay clients but will likely pose a problem with other payers such as Medicaid or private insurance. I have requested a copy of the normative data to look it more closely. BAPA norming info is available at: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/bilingual-articulation-phonology-assessment/.
  • A suggestion that I have for all 3 apps for future updates would be to add an easy scoring option for frontal and lateral distortions on sibilants. These are common errors and it’s important to be able to distinguish between them. Having these quick scoring options would be easier than having to document this in a notes section. Another suggestion for all 3 apps would be for the app to automatically determine a phonological process based on the error entered on that sound. It’s a bit time consuming to have to select info in both places for each targeted sound.

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A few screenshots (tap each to enlarge):

Articulation Test Center

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Sunny

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iTap

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So as you can see, there are features that I like in each app. I have used all three and pick one in that moment based on the features I need for a particular patient. But not everyone has access to all three apps and I have seen questions several times in a variety of SLP Facebook groups asking for purchasing recommendations/advice. I always hate to pick “faves” since I run the risk of offending app developers who have been very generous to provide access to their apps but enough SLPs have asked for advice that I am making an exception to my usual “rule”.

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The bottom line: At this point in time I would recommend Articulation Test Center by Little Bee Speech as my first place pick with Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit by Smarty Ears being a close second. If you happen to work in Central Texas, then you may want to consider the Test of Articulation and Phonology (iTap) – FULL by Smarty Ears as a standardized option. For those of us outside that geographical area, the cost difference is not warranted and the norms will not really benefit you.
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Disclaimer: I received all 3 of these apps via promo codes from the developers. No compensation was received to review them and my opinions are strictly my own. Apps and the features within them change frequently as app updates are released. Both of these app developers have an excellent track record of supporting their apps and providing frequent updates. So my recommendations may shift in the future based on whatever features are available at that moment.
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My dream articulation testing app: I dream of an articulation testing app that is standardized on a nationwide basis in the USA and has all the features, in-app scoring and reporting options that the three apps described above have without requiring you to purchase protocols (either in printed format or as in-app purchases) or pay an annual user license. But given the costs associated with standardizing a test on that broad of a scale and the $$$$$ that traditional test companies make on us having to purchase protocols, I’m not sure we will ever see an app like that. But a speechie can still dream 🙂
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Angela Moorad, MS, CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Founder of OMazing Kids, LLC – inclusive wellness & educational activities for kids of all abilities
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Angela Moorad is the founder of OMazing Kids, LLC and is an ASHA certified & licensed pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Kids Yoga Teacher with over 26 years experience working in a variety of settings (early intervention, schools, teletherapy & a nonprofit pediatric rehab hospital for children with developmental disabilities). She is an app beta tester for educational & therapeutic app developers and loves sharing info about great apps, products, books & toys to use with kids of all abilities.
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