Social Norms by Virtual Speech Center Review

Social Norms by Virtual Speech Center Review



iPhone Screenshot 1

What we love…

Tons of short and candid stories to choose from and you can make your own stories too!

What we’d love to see…

A save and edit button for creating stories.

Summary

Through the use of short stories, this app effectively teaches children appropriate social behavior.

Our Rating

Social NormsSocial Norms by Virtual Speech Center is an app created by a speech and language pathologist specifically for children with autism. It contains over 50 stories that teach life skills (i.e. hygiene) and appropriate behavior whether at home, at school, or out in the community.
The stories in this app are short and to the point, making it perfect even for those with short attention spans. You can choose one or several stories at a time to read with your child. If you select more than one story, they will play in the order they were selected. By default, the stories will show text and be narrated. If you want your child to read by himself, you can disable the audio via the settings option in the main menu. You can also remove the text, and I found that disabling both text and narration provided not only a way to teach my child about social norms, but also a way to elicit speech and language by asking him to tell me what he thinks is happening in the picture.

iPhone Screenshot 2
Since each child is different, Social Norms also allows you to create stories specifically for your child. You can add text, audio, and pictures (from the camera roll) to your story. You cannot save your stories to edit or continue them later on, so you need to be prepared to finish it all in one sitting. I would like to have a save and edit button so that, if need be, I can finish my stories at a later time or make changes in text, audio, or pictures. I would like the title to be editable as well so that changes and corrections can be made as necessary.

iPhone Screenshot 3
I am very excited about this app because next weekend my family will be going on a mini getaway. My son who has autism can have a very difficult time adjusting to new situations and I am going to create a story that will help prepare him for what he can typically expect when going to a theme park and staying at a hotel. From experience, I know that that while it may not completely make him feel at ease or behave as we would like him to; it does make it a lot easier for him when he knows ahead of time what is going on.

 
Social Norms is a great app for teaching children appropriate social behavior. It is also helpful in preparing them for something unfamiliar or new to them such as going on a movie theater, flying on an airplane, or having a new sibling. It is an excellent tool to have for speech therapy and I certainly wish I had this when I was a student clinician. Although it was specifically made for children with autism, I believe it is useful even for those without autism. I recommend it to both speech therapists and parents.

Social Norms – Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Social Norms Social Norms by Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Price: $9.99 USD

****I really liked this app. With lots of stories already pre-made it saves me a lot of time and means that I can access stories for my kids right away.(Maureen, M.S.CCC-SLP)****

The Social Norms.

Giveaway

If you would like to win one of 3 promo codes for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

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Fides and her husband have been married for 16 years. They homeschool their 4 children: two amazing sons and two beautiful daughters. Fides likes to walk and jog outdoors everyday and has as very difficult time resisting a slice of paradise cake.
Let’s Talk Speech and Communication May 2014 -Sales, Giveaways and More #BHSM

Let’s Talk Speech and Communication May 2014 -Sales, Giveaways and More #BHSM

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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM), and it is a time to raise awareness of Speech and Hearing issues, celebrate Speech Therapy and say thank you to SLPs (Speech Language Therapists) for all they do.  In 2012 The iMums decided to celebrate BHSM by putting on an event to showcase many of the great apps available for Speech Therapy – we called it “Let’s Talk Speech and Communication” and it was so popular that we decided to make it an annual event. so this is our 3rd annual Let’s Talk Speech and Communication Event.

This month is very dear to our hearts at The iMums as 3 of the 4 iMums (and many of our guest reviewers) have children in Speech Therapy. I myself have 3 children all of which have had Speech Therapy, each for different reasons. May 14th is also the 2nd Annual Apraxia Awareness Day and we’ll be especially celebrating children with CAS (Childhood Apraxia of Speech) on that day. Children with Apraxia have to work very hard and do intensive Speech Therapy to be able to speak intelligibly. I’m very proud of my daughter with CAS who turns 7 this week she has already been in Speech Therapy for 5 years – she is a hard worker, determined and always has a smile on her face – she has come so far and faces every new challenge with a smile.

This year’s BHSM theme is “Communication Disorders Are Treatable”, and we will be highlight apps that can be helpful for SLPs treating communication disorders and for home practice in children receiving Speech Therapy. An article that very much suits this theme and that I’d recommend reading is When First Words Don’t Come Easily by Lynn Carahaly

We have reviewed many great Speech Therapy apps, and we will be putting them under the spotlight this month. We are working together with the developers of these apps and many of them are putting their apps on sale this month, you can find all the current sales here– Grace updates the list daily so keep checking it as many deals are only for a day or 2.

Our very generous developers are also offering lots of codes for giveaways – we’ll be launching new app giveaways all month long so keep checking back. We will have some other special giveaways up our sleeves too such as iTunes cards. You can check our open giveaways here.

This month ASHA (the American Speech and Hearing Association) will release new resources from the Identify the Signs campaign to educate the public about the early signs of communication disorders and how early detection can help. They will have a series of weekly podcasts, a Google+ Hangout and a Twitter Party, you can find out more information here.

We  have a Facebook Event that we recommend joining so that you don’t miss any of our new reviews, giveaways or sales, and we will have some extra code drops in there too!

Speech App Sales

Open Giveaways

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
 Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech -Review + Giveaway #BHSM 2014

Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech -Review + Giveaway #BHSM 2014




iPhone Screenshot 1

Summary

A very comprehensive articulation app that works at word, sentence and story level. It covers all 22 speech sounds of the English Language and includes, flashcards, matching game, rotating sentences, unique sentences and different story levels

Our Rating

To Celebrate better Hearing and Speech Month Little Bee has given us THREE copies of Articulation Station Pro (valued at $49.99 each) to giveaway. Please read our review and enter via the rafflecopter below.

Reviewed by Grace and Mary – app review originally published Aug 2012

Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech is a very comprehensive articulation app that provides multiple opportunities for your child to pronounce and practice all the 22 speech sounds in the English language. It is the first and only articulation app offering practice at the word, sentence and story levels.

You can start to work at any level in the app according to your child’s ability and needs. Regardless where you start, you always begin by choosing the sound that you want to practice before choosing to work at the word, sentence or story level. Then you choose the activity and finally the sound position (or a combination of positions) you want to practice the target sound.

There are 2 activities in each of the 3 levels. At the word level, you can choose to practice with flashcards or a matching game. Tap the flashcard and you will hear the word being read aloud. Not just the words on the flashcards, this app will read all the words and sentences in this app giving your child a consistent audio model to imitate. Then there is the essential recording option, which you can use throughout the app to record and playback the sounds, words or sentences that your child produces. This presents the perfect opportunity for your child to listen and evaluate his/her own pronunciation.

 

Even thought there are 20 flashcards included for each sound position, I find that there is room for a lot more words and other types of words to be added (there are only nouns right now). Furthermore, the words should be arranged in increasing number of syllables and difficulty to pronounce with an option to shuffle the cards. But if you ask me what is the ultimate wish I have, it would be the ability to customize – adding (a few of) my own words with audio prompts and the accompanying pictures. I think the ability to add and edit the list of words is a feature all parents (educators and SLPs) will welcome.

For reinforcement, the same flashcards are used in the matching game. As a card is turned, you can ask your child to say the word on the card and get more repetitions done. Kids stay engaged in the session for a longer period of time because they think that this is just a reward bonus game. It would be great if there are different levels of difficulty where we can choose the number of cards in a set (right now, it is always 16 cards) so that children of different abilities are able to play and progress through the different levels of the game.

iPad Screenshot 2At the sentence level, you can start with the ingenious rotating sentences where a carrier sentence is repeated with a different target word in the sentence (usually in the middle). Having the sentence stay the same allows the child to memorize the sentence and practice it with greater fluency. Besides the target word, each of these sentences has additional words with the target sound in it (e.g. Erik read about the target word in the book). The words are appropriate for the beginner reader and the nouns are accompanied by picture prompts (used in the flashcards), encouraging the child to learn to read the words at the same time.

What is fun about the rotating sentences is that a spinner generates the target word and you can see the pictures of the words spinning on a reel like a fruit machine. This spinner is such a hit with my son that he is very motivated to do the articulation exercises. I wish that there was more than one rotating sentence for each sound position.

The unique sentences, on the other hand, are targeted at the older child who can read. There are 20 different sentences for each sound position. Like the rotating sentences, the unique sentences have at least 3 words with the target sound in them. While we really like that the rotating and unique sentences give many more opportunities for practicing the target sound through multiple target words, we feel that we need easier and shorter phrases/sentences as well for a smoother transition from the word level to the sentence level. In this way, the child can begin with a single target word placed either at the beginning or end of the phrase, then progressing to longer sentences still with a single target word (placed anywhere in the sentence) and finally moving onto the current longer form.

iPad Screenshot 4When a sound has been mastered in sentences, the child can proceed to practice the sound at the story level. Level 1 Story (with its picture prompts) is for the non-readers while the longer Level 2 Story (with a larger vocabulary) is designed for readers. There are 3 comprehension questions at the end of every story, providing even more opportunities to practice the target sound as the answers always include the target words. Stories and comprehension questions are currently not found in other articulation apps.

As parents, we really like how easy it is to navigate and use the app. We also appreciate its other features like: –
* useful information on how to use the activities in the app and tips to help us elicit each sound from our children
* data tracking enabling us to monitor our children’s progress right down to the specific words
* ability to do multiple scoring for repeated pronunciation of the same target word
* ability to add notes to the overall data collected at the end of a session and email/print out for our kids’ SLPs to follow up
* ability to practice multiple sounds using shuffled flashcards at the word level.

iPad Screenshot 5

It is also good to know that parents have the option of downloading the free Articulation Station (includes the /p/ sound program) and purchasing only the sound programs that they need instead of buying the Pro version.

Overall, this is an engaging app that has everything you need in an articulation app and it is definitely one of the best available. We are pleased to know that the developer has plans to add more features to make it an even better app for parents and I do hope that they will add more content, greater customization, easier options and perhaps consider a more attractive price (afternote : the developer has made a permanent price drop for this app so that more families can benefit from it). Watch the overall tutorial video to know more.

Articulation Station Pro has just been updated to include:-
• Ability to choose specific words within the word and sentence level activities and SAVE your word lists!
• Addition of /sn/ /sm/ /pr/ blends
• Blends in the initial /g/ and /f/ removed and replaced
• Session details are shown when emailing multiple session data
• Time stamp added to saved sessions and emailed session data

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Articulation Station Pro – Little Bee Speech

Articulation Station Pro Articulation Station Pro by Little Bee Speech
Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 406.19 MB

$59.99USD

Articulation Station – Little Bee Speech

Articulation Station Articulation Station by Little Bee Speech
Category: Education
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone4-iPhone4, iPad2Wifi-iPad2Wifi, iPad23G-iPad23G, iPhone4S-iPhone4S, iPadThirdGen-iPadThirdGen, iPadThirdGen4G-iPadThirdGen4G, iPhone5-iPhone5, iPodTouchFifthGen-iPodTouchFifthGen, iPadFourthGen-iPadFourthGen, iPadFourthGen4G-iPadFourthGen4G, iPadMini-iPadMini, iPadMini4G-iPadMini4G, iPhone5c-iPhone5c, iPhone5s-iPhone5s, iPadAir-iPadAir, iPadAirCellular-iPadAirCellular, iPadMiniRetina-iPadMiniRetina, iPadMiniRetinaCellular-iPadMiniRetinaCellular, iPhone6-iPhone6, iPhone6Plus-iPhone6Plus, iPadAir2-iPadAir2, iPadAir2Cellular-iPadAir2Cellular, iPadMini3-iPadMini3, iPadMini3Cellular-iPadMini3Cellular, iPodTouchSixthGen-iPodTouchSixthGen, iPhone6s-iPhone6s, iPhone6sPlus-iPhone6sPlus, iPadMini4-iPadMini4, iPadMini4Cellular-iPadMini4Cellular, iPadPro-iPadPro, iPadProCellular-iPadProCellular, iPadPro97-iPadPro97, iPadPro97Cellular-iPadPro97Cellular, iPhoneSE-iPhoneSE, iPhone7-iPhone7, iPhone7Plus-iPhone7Plus, iPad611-iPad611, iPad612-iPad612, iPad71-iPad71, iPad72-iPad72, iPad73-iPad73, iPad74-iPad74
Size: 407.06 MB

$FREE

Giveaway
If you would like to win of of THREE promo codes for this app, please enter via the widget below. Winners will be emailed and must contact The iMums within 48 hours to claim their prize. This giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide, and an iTunes account is required to claim the prize. Please ensure you have read and understand our Terms & Conditions. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).
Live for Today While Planning for the Future – Traveling With Autism by Kirsten Ferguson

Live for Today While Planning for the Future – Traveling With Autism by Kirsten Ferguson

photo 2-1You know how we try to keep nudging our kids towards greater goals?  How we try to help them develop flexibility while at the same time respecting their need for consistency and structure?  How we try to gently push them out of their comfort zone so that they can experience more?  Learn more?  Grow more?  Well guess what?  We need to do that for ourselves as well.  Humans are creatures of habit.  We tend to take the straight line between 2 points – because it’s easier – and aren’t our lives hard enough already?  The thing is, when we stay on that straight line, we actually create more challenges for our kids with special needs in the long run.

 

For years I dreamed of a family vacation that my girls could enjoy.  But they’ve never flown.  But they haven’t slept away from home since they were babies – except for hospital stays.  But they have special diets.  But we can’t eat out at restaurants.  But we would have to bring so much food with us.  But they need structure.  But they need consistency.  But … but…but…but…

 

And then I realized that despite my best efforts I had begun to play it safe.  Community outings were far and few between.  We have a comfortable home and my girls were happy.  Play date?  Why don’t you come over for lunch?  It’s raining?  Let’s just stay in today.  School vacation?  Anyone want to come spend some time with us at our house?  Our home is predictable.  The girls are comfortable here.  We have our routines.  We have our structure.  It’s good here.  But…

 

They need more.  We need more.  We have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone just as much as we have to do that for them.  They deserve more – and so do we.  We spend so much of our time waiting … to get through the day … to get through the week … to get through the school year …

 

Here’s the message I want to get out there – As parents of children with special needs, we have to live for today while planning for the future.  That means taking risks now that will make a difference tomorrow.  Stop waiting until they are ready.  Stop waiting until YOU are ready.  Go.  Do.  Live.  But…

 

Do it responsibly.  Take baby steps.  Think things through and come up with ways to make it a little bit easier.  Here are a few steps we took to ensure a successful vacation (and by the way – I almost cancelled everything a week before our trip because I was afraid it would be too much):

 

  • We found a lodge that was 5 hours away (think of it as a get out of jail free card – we could always drive right back).
  • We got a place with a kitchen so we could prepare our own meals.
  • We brought lots of comfort foods so their eating habits didn’t have to change along with everything else that would be changing during our vacation week.
  • We called ahead and spoke to the manager to discuss our children’s special needs.
  • We took extended family members.  We had 2 grandmothers, an uncle and an aunt.  The girls were surrounded by people who loved them and were so happy to have this time with them.  (Cost sharing bonus here as well.)
  • We were careful not to over plan.  In fact, we didn’t plan anything.  We did a little research about what was available in the area and then we waited to see how things would go.
  • Before each outing we called ahead and discussed the girls’ needs.  Everyone went out of their way to make each excursion a success.
  • We found a restaurant that would allow us to bring our own food for the girls while the adults ate from the menu.  This was the first time since Ava was a baby that she was actually in a restaurant!
  • We came prepared with familiar books, toys and art supplies.

ava and autumn coloring

  • We brought a few novel books, toys and art supplies.
  • We brought their iPads fully charged with some new apps their teachers recommended.
  • We let them surprise us with what they could handle – and they really blew us away!

 

 

What did I learn?

I learned to no longer underestimate what my kids can handle.  I will not limit their experiences because of my own fears and insecurities.  I will challenge myself to expand their horizons.  And when it backfires I will adjust my plan and try again.  Because they deserve it … and so do I.

 

Time to start planning our trip to Disney 🙂

 

horse

horse2

 

 

Kirsten and her husband Eric (the girls’ step-father) live on Long Island in NY.  Kirsten is an early childhood educator with a Master’s degree in special education.  Eric is a computer engineer.  Together they developed So Much 2 Say, an iPad AAC app, to help their daughters communicate more effectively.  Their daughters, Autumn and Ava, have multiple disabilities.  They are non-verbal with cognitive impairment and they are both on the autism spectrum.  Although the girls share many medical needs, they are unique individuals with their own strengths and challenges.  These loving parents attribute much of their children’s successes to the large network of extended family members and friends who have always surrounded the girls with love and acceptance.

 

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