The Virtual SpeechCenter has published their newest app, Phonological Processes, for ipad. The app features the minimal pair contrast therapy approach and covers the following Phonological Processes: Affrications, Deaffrication, Cluster Reduction (R, L, S and mixed), Final Consonant Deletion, Fronting, Gliding (L, R, and mixed), Provocalic Voicing, Stopping (fricatives, affricates, and mixed).
The app developers cite the following research: The minimal pair approach to phonological remediation teaches children the function of sounds, emphasizing that changing sounds changes the meaning of a word (Barlow & Gierut, 2002). Minimal contrast therapy targets pairs of words that differ only by one sound. It may focus on the perception of contrast or production of contrast. In the perception task, the child is asked to point to target words when presented with two or more pictures (minimal pairs). In the production task, the child is asked to verbally produce minimal pairs (Bernthal and Bankson 1998). Start by adding your clients. Then choose Flashcards or Game Board before selecting the ‘next’ button. I’ll start by reviewing the Flashcard options.
Select activities for your client by choosing targets. Here, I chose fronting and final consonant deletion. On the left hand side you can select the level at which your student is working (auditory bombardment, auditory discrimination, minimal pair production or single word production.) I selected minimal pairs for this trial for Ms. Rayburn.
“Jenna” is working on auditory discrimination for stopping of affricates. The prompt asks, “Show me the jog.” The page offers to opportunity to record the student production or listen to the prompt again. Data is kept on the right side of the screen.
Auditory Bombardment of Cluster Reduction of /s/ plays two minimal pairs. The student is not required to do any tasks and no data is taken. The recording feature is still present as an option for practice.
Each child takes turns spinning the spinner. Their fruit icon moves around the board automatically (a plus). If they land on a question mark, the learning target opens a new box. If they land on an animal, the animal dances across the screen and is then added to the cage at the top.
I loved this game board. It took just the right amount of time to play. I just wish there was a big finish! When a student lands on finish, the fruit tokens disappear and the animals are removed from the cage, but there is no ‘Jenna is the winner’ sign, song or anything. My kiddos were confused about what happened! As the students ‘earn’ animals into the cage I think the developers could add the opportunity to earn a trophy or safari hat for earning all the animals in the jungle. My 5 year old student said, “What happened to my animals?” The developers could open to a new screen after the game that listed the winner and pictured the animals learned (another chance for speech and language practice!)
So, what’s the bottom line? Pros: The app targets phonological processes and is broken down within those processes (ie: gliding /l/, gliding /r/ and mixed). This give the SLP a lot of flexibility in choosing targets. I like the opportunity to target auditory discrimination, minimal pairs, and single word production. I was able to use the app with a students at varying skill levels in the same app.
Cons: When you select two or more processes (ie: fronting and final consonant deletion) the app does not mix the questions. So it will prompt the child through all 27 Fronting pictures before it gets to the Final Consonant Deletion pictures. They need to be mixed throughout to get the type of data I am looking for!
I think adding a special ending to the game board would give the game more finality and an ending that makes sense!
REFERENCES Barlow, J. A., and Gierut, J. A. (2002). Minimal pair approaches to phonological remediation. Seminars in Speech and Language, 23(1), 57-67
Bernthal J. E., and Bankson N.W. (1998). Articulation and Phonological Disorders. 4th edition.