Toddie Downs’ App Review (3) – Articulation Station
Contributed by: Toddie Downs, M.A., CCC-SLP
Our office just got a really nice articulation app for the iPad called Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech. This is a relatively straightforward app, much like a good set of flash cards that every speech language therapist has in her toolbox – except these cards come on an iPad.
For therapists, the app is very well thought out. It has every sound covered, in initial, medial and final positions. It offers activities at the single word, sentence, and paragraph levels. At the sentence level, it offers pivot sentences (it calls them rotating sentences) where the sentence stays the same and only the word changes, as well as novel sentences for each word. At the paragraph, or story, level, it offers either a pictogram story bombarded with the target sound or a text only story for older children. Especially nice for therapists is the ability to mark a production as correct or incorrect and have the app collect data, including for groups of children. But perhaps the nicest feature is the ability to record the child’s production, play it back, and have the child be able to listen to the production and assess its quality. The graphics are clean and well organized.
The biggest downside to the app is that it is so straightforward. With all the potential of the iPad, one might have expected there to be some real creativity in the games thought up to engage children. Instead, it’s basically a set of virtual flashcards. For the relative expense of the app ($49.99 for the Pro version), if a therapist doesn’t already own a complete set of articulation flashcards, this is a relatively good investment. But if a therapist does already own a set of flashcards, there’s little you can do with this app that you can’t with the physical flash card version. To be fair, though, a child may be more enticed to engage in a matching game on the iPad by sheer virtue of the fact that it’s an iPad.
For parents, it is absolutely not worth the expense to purchase the entire set of sounds in the Pro version. Few children will have enough speech sound errors to warrant the expense of the app. There is a free version of Articulation Station that only has the /p/ sound included. However, you can make in-app purchases of whatever sound your child needs to be working on, with prices ranging from $2.99 (for most sounds) to $5.99 (for /r/ and /s/, which have more contexts that need to be worked in, such as blends).
Age range: 3+ years
Target skills: Articulation, auditory discrimination
Type of play: Structured
Cost: $49.99 for Pro Version; Free for Lite version with in-app purchases ranging from $2.99 – $5.99