Thursday, July 10, 2014

Great App for Auditory Skills: Sounds at Home by Virtual Speech Center Inc.

Welcome to Mama Bear's House! A new app has been created by Virtual Speech Center Inc. to help improve auditory awareness, phonemic awareness and following directions, all by using auditory skills.  Come on in and join the fun! It's a great way for young children to practice identifying and learning environmental sounds, initial and final sounds of words and listening to instructions.
If you would like to download Sounds at Home ($6.99, iPad), please show your support by using our link:


** Please note: This app has external links to other related app purchases, but they can easily be disabled in the settings of your device. There are also links for providing feedback.

Virtual Speech Center Inc.'s new app, Sounds at Home, targets children ages 2-6. This app focuses on three different rooms in the house, with each room targeting a different skill.

Let's start to play in the living room. Children will have the opportunity to listen to various sounds and need to identify the source by touching the appropriate object in the room. This activity is great for identifying environmental sounds, which is an essential step for learning to listen.

In the kitchen, there are three auditory skills to work on. The three games available to play are rhyming, and identifying initial and final sounds of words. There are a few items displayed in the kitchen, and the child is required to choose the correct picture after the prompt.  An example might be, "I see something that starts with a 'sh' sound.  Can you find it?" Rhyming and final sounds of words follow the same pattern. Listening skills for rhyming, beginning and ending sounds are often goals for children who have special needs.

The last room is the playroom, which is my personal favorite. The four skill levels available to practice listening are another way to target auditory memory with objects and directions. With the familiar room being a playroom, it takes the guessing out of the objects themselves, and only focuses on the auditory process.

Once the child completes a chosen number of activities that can be set by the user, then a puzzle reward is provided.  The puzzles have three levels of difficulty, the more difficult of which could be used for an older child.  The game reminds me of the old plastic square toy that we would get as children. Plastic squares had to be moved strategically to create a picture.  It was always easy to see the general idea of the picture but, not as easy to move that last square without moving all of the other pieces.  Great way to add in some strategic play into the app.

For the price, this is definitely a creative app that targets many listening skills to work on auditory memory. I plan to use kitchen games for my school age children, who are deaf or hard of hearing. I look forward to using this app with a number of my students!

From iTunes:
Welcome to Mama Bear’s house! Here children aged between 2 and 6 years can practice a range of auditory skills. The Sounds at Home app was designed by a Speech and Language Pathologist to help young children be aware of sounds in their environments and sounds in words as well as following instructions which requires auditory memory. 

All this learning occurs within the context of a house using familiar vocabulary. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between phonological awareness and early reading skills (T. Hogan, H Catts & T Little. 2005; S. Rvachew. 2007). 

Mama Bear welcomes the children to her home where they will experience 3 different rooms that target many different skills.

1)Auditory Awareness - sounds in the living room 
Children will listen to various sounds and identify the source of the sound that they hear.

2)Phonemic Awareness – in the kitchen
There are 3 levels to the game with 20 directions each. The children find rhyming words and identify initial and final sounds in words.

3)Following directions – in the playroom
There are 4 levels with 20 different directions each. 

The instructions become increasingly difficult ranging from identifying objects, following simple instructions, following 2 step and temporal instructions.

Children are rewarded by building a puzzle when they accumulate enough points.

The Sounds at Home app is easy to navigate and allows users to employ several tools to perform the following tasks: 

-Enter multiple students
-Change settings and use randomization
-Select auto-paging
-Enable and disable score sound
-Track correct and incorrect responses 
-E-mail results at the end of the session
-Backup and restore data

T. Hogan, H Catts & T Little (2005).The relationship between phonological awareness and Reading: Implications for the assessment of Phonological Awareness. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools October 2005, Vol.36, 285-293.
S. Rvachew (2007). Phonological processing and reading in children with speech sound disorders. American Journal of Speech and language pathology. Aug 2007 

*** Wendy is back from her conference at Disney and is very happy to be on summer holidays!

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