Cedar, like most children with Down Syndrome, has delayed speech. At 2 and 1/2 years old he has a number of signs he uses and he has a few words that he can say, the total of these two combined is around 20-24 words/signs that we can understand. Cedar does make sounds and I have heard a number of vowel-consonant babbles in his daily play. We have also worked with a speech therapist and we are currently doing sign language classes to help him learn more signs to communicate. I have been curious (especially since he loves my phone so much) if there were apps that would help him play and learn. Enter in Speech Blubs and their speech therapy apps for kids.
NOTE: This is a sponsored post as we agreed to use the speech blubs app and rate it in exchange for compensation. We are committed to honest reviews and want our readers to know that despite sponsorships, we will be honest about our recommendations.
We first went in the app store and downloaded the app and I was impressed at the number of questions that setting up Cedar’s profile entailed. It was an easy process, taking less than 5 minutes, yet it seemed that the creators put some serious thought into tailoring their app to work effectively based on what a child’s individual needs are. I was asked about what languages were spoken in our home, whether he had been evaluated by a speech therapist, whether he had any diagnoses, whether he likes to listen to stories and if he points at things he likes, etc.
At the end of the questions I received a “report” detailing some potential issues that we should possibly work on through the app, things like pragmatics, comprehension and talking (no surprises there). Then I was able to look at the areas identified as issues and get detailed information about each area and what it entails.
The creators of the app recommend consistency in using the app and that consistency is, of course, the key to seeing success. We decided that we would commit to using the app to play with sounds and words for 10 minutes a day, daily. For us, the best time to do this was first thing in the a.m. when Cedar usually ends up snuggling in bed with us for a few minutes before we start the day. By choosing a specific time of day implementing this habit was not at all difficult.
So, what did we notice? Cedar was very interested in using the app, the children used in the modeling videos for sounds and words were engaging and there were bright colors and funny video clips that he quite enjoys. There are a number of children represented modeling the words which allows the user to see various cultures represented as well as boys and girls.
When we opened the app there were choices for us to pick if we wanted to work on sounds or whole words. Each sound or word has a sticker meme and is repeated 3 times. After hearing the word or sound repeated 3 times you can click the sticker meme and see a funny clip that coordinates with the sound or word (we love the ape that slips on a banana followed by an explosion…Cedar laughs and claps every time.
The first sound available for Cedar was a buzzzzz bee and he loved it. The exciting thing for me was that the second day of using the app, Cedar started mimicking the buzzzz sound which was new for him. After 2 weeks of consistent use, Cedar has picked up a few new sounds and has tried to mimic 2 of the words spoken. It is slow going for Cedar, but that is with anything. The speech blubs app is one we will continue to use as I am encouraged by the progress we are seeing though it is with consistency and is not an overnight explosion for him.
Have you used this app? There is a free 7 day trial available from the app store but I highly recommend using it daily during the free trial so you can really get a feel for the app and its components. I am also impressed by the low cost should you choose a subscription to the app. We are giving this app a 5 star rating as it is easy to use, fun for Cedar, and effective.