App Review: Smarty Ears Apps for Special Needs Kids

Smarty Ears AppsSmarty Ears is a software development company that has designed several iPhone and iPad apps for speech development practice. Their apps are appropriate for all ages, and they even have some programs designed for use with toddlers. Speech therapists looking for alternatives to flash cards and other standard practice methods might appreciate the portability of these digital apps that can be stored in a single electronic device. Kids also seem easier to engage when the therapy involves a fun electronic device that includes sounds, images, and playback opportunities.

Pronunciation Practice in Your Pocket

Match2Say is one of the Smarty Ears apps that helps kids with specific pronunciation issues. The app includes a game played by repeating words. As the child progresses through the levels of the game, he or she is actually practicing correct punctuation skills. A speech pathologist created Match2Say as a convenient tool for patients to practice with in the office or at home. WhQuestions is an app specifically for working on the “wh” sound, one difficult for kids who have developmental delays. The app asks several questions that the child can answer in a fun, non-threatening format. R Intensive is another articulation app that focuses specifically on helping children pronounce the “r” sound correctly. The app can narrow down a patient’s area of trouble with “r” and is a fun way to practice the “r” sound.

Working with Verb Tenses

Games like iPractice Verbs will help children learn how to choose the correct verb tense in conversation. iPractice Verbs has two formats to choose from: Flashcard, which is a learning tool, and FindIt, which is a game. Each portion of the app is fully customizable by the speech therapist so that it covers the verb tenses that individual patients need to work on the most. Preposition Remix is a fun, whimsical app that helps kids learn how to choose the right prepositions. It works with the 20 most common English prepositional phrases.

Turn Taking Games

Some children with special needs can have a difficult time learning how to hold a conversation properly, especially if they are having trouble with articulation or slowed speech. Smarty Ears has developed an app for use as part of a speech therapy session to help kids learn how to wait their turn before they speak. The simple format and friendly graphics make it clear whose turn it is so that the child will have a visual cue to help figure out how turn taking works.

Simple Expression Apps

That’s How I Feel is a simple app that gives children three choices for expressing their feelings through a visual prompt. It works as a way to communicate with children who cannot express themselves, or as a tool for finding new vocabulary about feelings. Kids who have trouble forming any words at all may benefit from Expressive 1.2, which allows kids to use pictures to create communication.

Guest Contributor, Jessica Bosari, writes health and technology articles for AlliedHealthWorld.com. The site helps students find information on healthcare administration salary and careers, along with information about other medical training programs.
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