Multiple Choice Articulation - She Says
Editor's Note: Last week, Jeremy gave high praise to Multiple Choice Articulation for school-aged children. Today, read what Megan thinks of the app, then leave a comment. A comment will be chosen at random for a lucky SLP to receive this app for FREE!
Recent research is suggesting increased efficacy of therapy when using pictures and stimuli that are atypical or unusual. When seeing or hearing the unexpected, or "silly" things, the brain has to work a little bit harder to process the information and figure out what's going on. It also takes more language to explain it. Someone who really understands the power of silly is app developer and SLP Erik X. Raj.
Mr. Raj displays his enthusiasm, imagination, and motivational talents on his blog, in his videos, and through his apps. His latest app is called Multiple Choice Articulation, a universal app for iOS priced at $9.99. This app extends articulation therapy on the iPad from the word to story levels found in many apps to the level of spontaneous speech. Taking seven of the most frequently misarticulated sounds in English (s, z, r, l, sh, ch, th, and their blends), this app asks more than 500 creative questions using these sounds in initial, medial, and final positions.
Each question can be read from the screen or heard by pressing the "Hear the Question" button. The target sounds are underlined in bolded words, with extra emphasis placed on the sound in the audio clip. Each question forces a choice (hence the title of the app) between two options and asks for an explanation. The answer should naturally contain at least one word with the target sound. Both making the choice and explaining the rationale are intended to target language goals as well as speech. As an added bonus, the app includes a well-organized response as a model for the user. The info screen is also worth reading for several therapy ideas and a taste of Mr. Raj's personality.
App navigation is simple: each screen contains only 5 buttons - forward and back, hear the question or the answer, and return to the home screen. There is no scoring in this app, no user profiles, and no group mode; it simply provides interesting stimuli to take articulation therapy to the next step on the hierarchy before full generalization to spontaneous speech. There is nothing childish about the design (intended for ages 6 and up), though many questions do assume the user attends school. Some questions are silly, some are gross, and some are quite practical. I appreciate that you can easily skip past questions that aren't appropriate for the client, whether due to age, vocabulary, or subject matter. Don't shy away from the gross, outrageous, or bizarre ones though - these are the questions that really get the brain working! Sure, I know I prefer non-itchy clothes to itchy ones, but having to choose between itchy pants or an itchy sweater? Now I'll have to think!
There are a lot of stimuli packed into this deceptively simple app. Use the audio clips of the question and answer to have the client count instances of the target sound. Use the questions as language or cognitive probes, even when articulation isn't a goal. You can also use the printed questions as added oral reading practice for fluency, aphasia, or sentence-level non-spontaneous articulation practice. The $10 price tag for Multiple Choice Articulation may seem a bit high for a single level of articulation practice with just 7 sounds and no scoring or groups, but with over 2.5 hours of audio, 500 questions, and so many therapy uses, this app will certainly prove useful for all ages and a variety of communication goals. I am excited to try it with adults with dysarthria, aphasia, and cognitive-communication goals and either skip or adjust the school-themed questions. If you work with children, it should work perfectly as-is.
Erik has provided a FREE copy to give away to one lucky reader who comments on this post.
What are your thoughts? How would you use it? Does your experience support that zanier stimuli elicit more thought and language?