{Five Faves} Five of my favorite apps by Smarty Ears: Phono Learning Center, Minimal Pairs Academy, Fun & Functional, Go-Togethers & Basic Concepts Skills Screener

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{Five Faves} Five of my favorite apps by Smarty Ears: Phono Learning Center, Minimal Pairs Academy, Fun & Functional, Go-Togethers & Basic Concepts Skills Screener.

I’m sure by now all of my SLPeeps have heard of Smarty Ears apps. They have a large line of apps specifically designed for SLPs by SLPs. This post is highlighting five of my faves chosen because they each meet a unique need. My comments are based on the features available in the most recent version of the app in the USA App Store at the time of this post. The cool thing about apps is that dependable app developers continue to improve apps over time based on the feedback that they receive from users and release updates to keep apps compatible with the latest iOS operating system.

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Phono Learning Center by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/aqv6M.i

How it’s unique: Specifically designed for using the Cycles Approach when working with kids with very poor intelligibility and several phonological process disorders.

In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/phono-learning-center/

Here’s what I love about this app:
* All of the target words were carefully selected for each sound level with co-articulation and facilitation considered.
* Easy user set up.
* If using the Cycles hierarchy, only one process at a time may be targeted. Targets are easily changed by editing the profile. If you chose not to be restricted to the Cycles hierarchy, it is possible to target multiple sounds at once.
* You can change the scoring style. The Standard scoring is incorrect, almost correct, and correct (or missed, almost, and got it). The Level of Prompts scoring incorporates the errorless learning theory suggested in the Cycles technique. With this style, it is expected for the student to be nearly 100% accurate and the level of prompts is used to mark if the word was produced prompted, imitated, or spontaneously correct.
* Includes an auditory bombardment activity
* Includes four game activities (inflating a hot air balloon, matching, shooting hoops with crumpled paper & filling in a jigsaw puzzle) and it’s very easy to switch between them without having to start over. Kids with severe phonological disorders can be challenging to engage in speech therapy so game-based activities like these are worth their weight in gold. Ever had a patient have earth shattering meltdowns at even the sight of traditional flashcards? You seriously need to consider other ways to entice engagement and this is a fabulous tool to have in your speechie toolbox.
* Single and multiplayer options
* Data collection and reports
* Lots of free printable homework sheets
* My wishes for a future app update are adding an option to slow down the pace of the auditory bombardment & make it more obvious when a target has been selected by either having a check or a darker highlighting around that item. It would also be nice to be able to see specific items missed in the user reports, to be able to share a report from a specific session and to be able to delete data from a particular session without having to delete the user.

Video tutorial:

More info about the Cycles Approach:

How to Use the Cycles Approach for Speech Therapy

http://www.speechandlanguage.com/ebp/pdfs/ebp_v5_article2_old.pdf

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Minimal Pairs Academy by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/oVi1C.i

How it’s unique: Targeting phonological processes via minimal contrast pairs.

In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/minimal-pairs-academy/

Here’s what I love about this app:
* Easy user set up.
* Includes auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, production (large card facing up that has the target word and a smaller card facing down that has the corresponding minimal pair) & fill in the blank phrases.
* Targets lots of different phonological processes (cluster reduction, deaffrication, devoicing, final consonant deletion, fronting, gliding, initial consonant deletion, prevocalic voicing, stopping & stridency deletion – many broken out into sub-categories) with the option to edit lists within each to deselect particular word pairs.
* In-app recording option
* Single and multiplayer options
* Data collection and reports
* My wishes for a future app update would be the addition of printable worksheets like those available in Phono Learning Center and a mini reinforcer game. It would also be nice to be able to see specific items missed in the user reports, to be able to share a report from a specific session and to be able to delete data from a particular session without having to delete the user.

Video:

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Fun & Functional by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/rskUD.i

How it’s unique: Goes beyond your typical name or identify vocabulary apps to get kids to think about the function or use of common items in the context of Wh-questions.

In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/fun-functional/

Here’s what I love about this app:
* Targets receptive and expressive language skills. Great options in settings area select to do just receptive, just expressive or alternate between them.
* Easy user set up
* Option to adjust the field of choices (2, 3 or 4) in receptive activities
* Options for setting what happens when an incorrect answer is selected (keep going, remove the item or buzz)
* Several categories with the option to toggle each on/off
* Option to select receptive vocabulary that is less similar to make the activity less challenging or more similar to make it more challenging
* Data collection and reports with basic info.
* My wishes for a future app update would be to have the option to toggle off the “yeah” auditory feedback on correct answers (it gets a little over stimulating after awhile) & to add a multiuser option to this app to make it more useful in groups. It would also be nice to be able to see specific items missed in the user reports, to be able to share a report from a specific session and to be able to delete data from a particular session without having to delete the user.

Video tutorial:

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Go-Togethers by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/FfRGE.i

How it’s unique: Targets the ability to identify and generate words that “go together” in semantic associations (a critical language skill that relates to vocabulary and word retrieval)

In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/togethers/

Here’s what I love about this app:
* Easy user set up
* Lots of categories of vocabulary and the option to select just the ones you want included. Easier categories are in Level 1 & more challenging ones on Level 2.
* The receptive activity can be done by either drawing a line with your finger to the correct answer(s) or tapping them. Some kids have difficulty swiping in a specific direction on the iPad so it’s helpful to have tapping as an option.
* The expressive activity includes scoring options for the child naming items that go with the pictured item separately from telling why
* The ability to delete data for a particular session without having to delete that user.
* My wishes for a future app update would be an easier to read font for the users names, add the option to toggle off the auditory feedback on correct answers (it gets a little over stimulating after awhile), add a multiuser option to this app to make it more useful in groups, make it more obvious on how to get to the category lists in the settings area and to be able to share a report from a specific session.

Video tutorial:

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Basic Concepts Skills Screener by Smarty Ears
https://appsto.re/us/I1h8N.i

How it’s unique: It’s an awesome quick way to assess understanding of basic concepts and is especially helpful for kids who are too old for standardized tests targeting those concepts.

In depth info: http://smartyearsapps.com/service/basic-concepts-skills-screener/

Here’s what I love about this app:
* Motivating format for assessing understanding of basic concepts
* No negative feedback is provided. The user gets the same feedback regardless of their answer.
* The app will not progress to the next screen until the NEXT button in the bottom right corner has been tapped. The picture that is selected when the NEXT button is tapped is the one that is scored. If no picture is selected when the NEXT button is tapped, a pop-up message will show explaining that there must be a selection made.
* The display in the corner lets you know that you have completed ____ of ______ items.
* The report provides a wealth of details about specific items missed, data by type of concept (comparative, quantitative, spatial, temporal) & percent by typical age of mastery (age 3, 4, 5 & 6)
* Options to do a quick screening (30 items) or a full screening (79 items). I always pick the full screening and can easily get it done in one session. But if needed, you can save the screening and continue later.
* My wishes for a future app update would be to make a couple of the images a little clearer (ex: beginning to grow – the plant in the hand is too similar to the smallest one in the ground; old – very few of my patients have tapped on the picture of the elderly man. I have wondered if it may be due to that Smarty Symbol not having clothes and the other 3 do) and to add the option to either turn off the auditory feedback when a selection has been tapped or to make it quieter (it can be a little over stimulating for some patients but I don’t want to turn down the sound on the iPad due to that impacting the loudness of the voiceovers on the testing prompts).

This app is seriously one of the most used on my iPad. I work with kids up to 21 years of age and most are not functioning anywhere near their age level. This app has come in very helpful in identifying gaps in understanding of basic concepts so treatment can be more specifically targeted.

Video tutorial:


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Disclaimer: I received all 5 of these apps via promo codes from the developer. No compensation was received to review them and my opinions are strictly my own.
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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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