Monday, August 11, 2014

Articulation Test Center App Review

I just love the Articulation Station Pro app by Little Bee Speech, so I was over the moon to have an opportunity to review their new Articulation Test Center app.  I have an old paper screener the SLPs in my district created using clipart pictures that is at least ten years old, and I will be glad to replace it with this app.  The iPad is so motivating to my students, so a screening and/or full artic test that can be given on it makes this SLP's job a little bit easier.  A review copy of the app was provided for free, but the opinions about the app are strictly my own!

Let's start with the screener.  The Screener shows 48 pictures and scores errors by age.  Enter a student's name and birthdate and the quick screener is ready to go.  An audio icon is on each stimulus card with a language prompt if the student is not sure what the picture is, or if they say another name for it.  I love this feature because it  makes it so much easier to see if the student can say the sound without a model given first.  
The app is so easy to navigate and use-  just tap the letter for the sound being assessed if it is incorrect or twice so it turns yellow to mark an approximation.  An arrow by the word can be tapped to reveal a menu for substitutions or phonological processes that you quickly tap to mark the error or process. 
A neat feature is that student responses can be recorded on each page to score later by simply pressing the red record button on the screen (a nice feature as I have some students who worry what the color might mean or if they are "doing it incorrectly").  A notes icon is on each card as well so the therapist can add notes about the sound errors (i.e. improper placement, etc.).
The Full Test has 59 stimulus cards but you can also pick and choose what position you would like to assess sounds in (initial, medial, final, blends), as well as vowels, r sounds, and an option for a speech sample.  There are three colorful picture scenes for the speech sample.  The SLP can touch parts of the screen (or the student can do it) to highlight a part of the picture and a written prompt (i.e. "Have you ever held a rabbit?  Tell me about it").  The neat thing is that the recording and the place to type up the sample is on the same page:
This makes transcribing really easy! 
The best part of this app is the report it produces.  It is very thorough and quickly sent to your email with all important information on it.
No app is perfect, and I would make the following suggestions to the developer of the app.  First, I would suggest a way to mark if a student makes a frontal or lateralized lisp-  I can add it to the notes section, but a button I could tap with this on it is much easier than typing out lateralization repeatedly in the middle of a screening.  Second, I would have the screener use less stimulus cards as many of my students would have a hard time sustaining attention to the task.
The pros, however, far outweigh the cons.  I really like the use of real photos for the stimulus pictures, and as I mentioned before, the scenes for the speech sample are colorful and engaging.  They can also be used as language prompts to determine syntax, vocabulary deficits, MLU, etc.  A video for all of the features of this app is available, but the design of the app makes it simple to use right away after spending just a few minutes playing with it first to learn its capabilities.
So, overall, what do I think of this app?  Outstanding is the first word that comes to mind-  it is thorough, easy-to-use, and makes screening and assessing articulation a breeze.   And to make things even better, Articulation Test Center (and Articulation Station Pro) are on sale August 12-14 this week! For 3 days only these 2 apps will be 30% off for a back to school sale.  Make sure you stop by iTunes to pick up one or both while they are on sale!

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