I’ve posted before about the value of visual feedback and my experiences with a palatometer and the Vowel-Viz app, both from CompleteSpeech. While the cost of the palatometer is likely to be out of reach for most school districts, the Vowel-Viz apps are certainly affordable…and worth every penny.
Over the summer I upgraded to Vowel-Viz Pro, which provides motivating graphics and photos of words for vocalic /r/ practice. I had enrolled a student toward the end of last school year and had done the foundation work for vocalic /r/ — placement, tactile feedback, auditory discrimination. After a quick review when the new school year started, her production didn’t show any change. I then brought out my iPad with Vowel-Viz Pro; within that one session, the student was able to produce a great /er/, and could do it over and over and over! After drilling with the app, I took the iPad away and — yay! — she was able to maintain correct production on a whole list of words. Not only did she sound great, I could see from the “aha” look in her eyes that she would now be able to duplicate this production outside the therapy room.
While Vowel-Viz has been my go-to app for vocalic /r/ for the past couple of years, I’m also pleased with the students’ reactions to a new app from CompleteSpeech, Speech Racer. The boys on my caseload are especially attracted to this app, which uses a drag-racing light tree and gas pump meter to show them how close they are to the target sound. Instant feedback, self-scoring, 36 lists of /r/ words, over 300 flashcards, and cool sound effects are some of the features included in this $19.99 app. Best of all, you can test-drive a free “lite” version before purchasing the fully functional app.
I only recommend what works for me. These apps definitely do!