Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Smarty Ears' Describe It To Me, Custom Boards, & Phono Learning Center {App Reviews & Giveaways}


In case you aren't aware, I love using apps in therapy. The iPad has not only provided me with LOTS of new therapy activities, but it has virtually done away with me having to lug a therapy bag filled with tons of materials all over the campus. There is at least one good app out there for every goal my students are working on. And even when we aren't using specific apps to target goals, iPad games for reinforcers have proven to motivate even the unmotivatable!

Many of you have been asking about my favorite apps to use in therapy. As I was thinking about my top favorites, I realized it would be easier to just highlight my favorite app company. By far my favorite app company is Smarty Ears. Not only do they have great, affordable apps, but their team of employees and customer service is unmatched in my opinion! I have reviewed several of their apps in the past, and you can click on the links below to read my former reviews. As with all of my reviews, a copy of the app was given to me by Smarty Ears, but no other compensation was provided. The opinions expressed here about the Smarty Ears company and their apps are mine alone.

Describe It To Me App Review

Custom Boards App Review

Phono Learning Center App Review

Basic Concepts Skills Screener App Review

I'm so excited to have a few codes to offer to you guys today:

The first giveaway code I have is for Phone Learning Center. You can read my review of this app by clicking on the link above. Phono Learning Center is available for $19.99 in the iTunes store. You can see it by clicking HERE.

The second giveaway code is for Expressive: The Expressive App is a great app for entry to mid-level students requiring the use of pictures to communicate. It includes over 10,000 Smarty Symbol images to help students communicate their wants and needs through the use of pictures. It is easy to use, wonderfully organized, and is easily customizable as well. I love using this app to introduce AAC devices to students! The Expressive App is available in iTunes for $25.99. You can view it by clicking HERE.

And the third giveaway code is for Sunny Articulation & Phonology Test: The Sunny Articulation & Phonology Test allows you to either give a full assessment or a quick screening to individual students. The phonetic transcriptions of each word are already written on each page and the examiner simply touches each phoneme that is pronounced incorrectly. The individual student's name and age is entered prior to the start of the assessment, and a standard score is calculated at the end of the test. The examiner is able to score the student's overall intelligibility percentage and make notes after each word. I absolutely love the ability to quickly screen students and obtain a score on the iPad, without having to carry a test, protocol, pen, and paper around the school! The Sunny Articulation & Phonology Test is available for $49.99 in the iTunes store. You can find it HERE.

You can enter to win a copy of each of these apps below:

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Thanks so much to Smarty Ears for making the giveaways possible! Make sure you go to the Smarty Ears Facebook Page and show them some love! You can see these and other amazing Smarty Ears apps by clicking HERE.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Norm" Testing Starts on Day One: The Newborn Hearing Screening

Hi Everyone!

I've been a mommy for a week now, and I have to tell you...it's the greatest thing I've ever accomplished. The past week of having and bringing home a baby has brought on all kinds of emotions. I start off each morning thinking I couldn't possible love her more, and then she sneezes, or smiles, or scrunches her nose, and my heart soars! I've spent so much time this week just looking at my little girl. Imagining how her life will go. Holding on to every little move she makes. And Praising the Lord for the miracle that she is. And I've also spent a lot of time thinking about the parents of my students at school. As much as I thought I could empathize with some of them before, I realized this week how unbearable it would be to hear that something was "wrong" or "abnormal" or "delayed" or "disabled" or "impaired" with my child. Because in mine and her daddy's eyes, she is undeniably perfect. As a service provider, I know the benefits of early intervention, and thus recognize the importance of hearing that there might be a developmental concern in a child. But until I became a parent myself this week, I couldn't fully grasp the concept of what parents go through as they observe the developmental progression of their child and watch them grow and learn.

Take the Newborn Hearing Screening, for example. My little girl was less than 24 hours old when an Audiologist came to our hospital room to test her hearing using ABR (Auditory Brainstem Response). As an SLP, I knew about the test, its importance, what it entails, and what the results mean. And even though I had tons of background knowledge, I still found myself holding my breath until the Audiologist said she passed. (See pictures below....isn't she adorable!?!?)

The truth is, had she failed the hearing test, I would've still thought she was perfect. And then we would've figured out the next steps for us after that. But it did get me thinking about those families who are told their children didn't pass. Or the families that are told later on that their child has a speech impairment, or language delay, or even Autism. According to "the norms," these children might have "delays" or "disabilities" or "impairments," but they are still perfect individuals, and helping these children is why I entered this field. Although I have always held a special place in my heart for those children with disabilities, becoming a parent has given me an even deeper love and appreciation for their families.

Even though I typically post on the school-aged population, I'm going to take advantage of the play-by-play action I have with my little girl and do some occasional posting on childhood development. As an SLP, I know I can use the refreshers, and as a mommy, I hope diving back in to normal child development will help me celebrate the developmental milestones Halle Jane reaches, and alert me to any difficulties she, or any of my students, may have.

So here we go: After the hearing screening, the hospital gave be a nifty magnet with hearing norms for children birth-12 months. The information was provided by Florida Newborn Screening: Children's Medical Services, and can be found at www.cms-kids.com

It should be noted, however, that the following norms are averages, and some children may meet these milestones before or after the ages listed and still be considered "average." Should you have any concerns about normal childhood development in your child, you should always seek medical advice from your pediatrician.

Birth to 3 months:
Jumps or blinks to sounds
Stirs or wakes up when someone talks
Produces vowel sounds such as "ooh, ahh, ehh"
Is soothed, quiets down, or smiles if spoken to

3-6 months:
Looks for sounds with eyes
Responds to voices even if they cannot be seen
Enjoys sound toys
Enjoys music
Begins to babble (mama, dada, baba, etc)
Produces several different sounds, squeals, chuckles

6-9 months:
Turns head towards sounds (localizes to sound)
Responds to his/her name
Begins to imitate speech sounds
Understands "no-no" or "bye-bye"

9-12 months:
Repeats simple words or sounds
Uses "mama" or "dada" correctly
Responds to music and singing
Points to toys or objects when asked

Are there any areas of child development you are interested in reading about? Oh-and I wanted to share our birth announcement with you guys, too:

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