Articulation Vacation by Virtual Speech Center is an engaging app to encourage carryover of articulation therapy. It can be used on both iPad and iPhone. Virtual Speech Center is a developer that offers multiple apps for a range of speech and language domains including Auditory Memory Ride, Articulation Carnival , Social Norms, Magical Concepts and Apraxia Rainbow Bee which we have previously reviewed. Virtual Speech Center apps are applicable for reinforcing language skills, articulation skills and auditory processing. The developer is easily accessible and answers questions and concerns quickly.
Articulation Vacation was created to enhance articulation learning, the graphics and animations are both engaging and creative. The vacation theme allows the child to practice many skills in four different “vacation” activity modes: Fishing, Parachuting, Hidden Treasure and Picture Taking.
The app covers most, if not all, phonemes and blends that child might encounter in the English language. The opening page of the app is directed at set up and beginning the game. Like other Virtual Speech apps, at the start, a student must be chosen or added. Multiple students can be added and multiple students can play at a time with the app having them take turns. Once the desired student is added, then the customization begins. There is an option for position (initial middle, end) and for the desired output (word, phrase, and paragraph).
The app can be adjusted for desired phoneme that the child is practicing, so as their targets change over time you can adjust what they are working on. The settings allow for many options, such as text on and off, number of trials for each game before moving on to the next game, selecting multiple phonemes, and auto scoring. Child’s voice can be recorded and played back.
Each activity has a different approach.
In the fishing game, the kids pull back the fishing rod and “fish” in the ocean for a target.
In the beach treasure hunt the child digs in the sand to uncover a picture representing their target word
During the parachute option, the children are directed to release the target word from a parachute and catch it on a floating raft.
In picture taking the objective is to take pictures of the target word, by moving a camera back and forth. There is a red button next to the viewfinder that turns green once the target has been found. There are so many target words that the students can have multiple tries before words are repeated.
In all of the activities , in order to hear the word, the child must press an arrow located on the side of the picture. Each page allows for recording of the client’s voice and the ability to mark as correct, so-so and wrong. Scores are automatically recorded and can be easily tracked. In the settings options, scores can be erased or saved for the next sessions. Reports can be viewed in graphic or table section.
There are quite a few things that I really like about this app. The voice that accompanies the images is a pleasant, very articulate male voice. However, for many of the words, he adds a schwa or elongates the phoneme. For those children imitating him, they will add that extra phoneme. I would like to see the option of a female voice as well. The app is easy to manoeuvre and a very short learning curve. There is limited animation on each page, so the child is not distracted. The number of phonemes covered is exceptional. It allows the SLP to alter the target multiple times in each session. The student can easily “grow” with this app.
There are some additional options I would like to see added: target voiced as it comes on the screen, instead of having to touch an arrow, for the camera be able to move up and down, or perhaps be moved by moving the iPad, and ability to choose length of syllables for target sounds. Currently there is no reward system for the students, perhaps the developers can add a sticker system to the app after achieving a certain number of correct productions.
Articulation Vacation by Virtual Speech Center is an engaging app that can be used both in therapy and as a follow up for home reinforcement. The students I tried it with loved the games and the quick pace of the app. I would highly recommend this app for SLPs and for parents with therapist input.
by Virtual Speech Center Inc.
Price: $29.99 USD
"These innovative games cycle through as the students target their articulation goals in word, sentence, or story level. This has become my new favorite articulation app...This app has been a huge hit.
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