WE ASKED MORE THAN 10,000 SPEECH THERAPIST: "WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIP FOR USING SPEECH BLUBS?"
We’ve gathered a ton of feedback and collected a bunch of tips on how to use the app effectively along the way. The following ideas come from our power users, an army of speech therapists who use Speech Blubs on a daily basis. We collected their best answers and turned them into this blog post!
Thank you all for participating in our study. It’s one thing to design an app in the comfort of our offices, but these wonderful people are on the front line, working with kids day in and day out.
So, without further ado, here’s their advice:
The important thing is to engage with your child. Be goofy. Become (yes you!) one with the model, but let your child lead and choose what he or she likes. Turn off the microphone feature (tap the icon) if it is too demanding for your child. Speech Blubs will become a powerful role-playing tool and a storytelling device.
Gently introduce the app to your child. Don’t just stick a tablet in your child’s hands and wait for results. Perhaps start with a sticker book (a list of animal stickers). Slightly unusual animal characters will attract your child’s attention. Then ask him or her about their favorite animal. Let the child show it to you. Talk about that animal, and be super excited about it! Now let your child find that animal! Can’t find your child’s favorite animal? Let us know, we might just be able to fix that in the near future!
The app is very user-friendly and easy to use. For beginners, we suggest using the Interactive guide that you can find in the menu. It will guide you through first exercises and help you get a hang of it.
Let the child be in charge!
Speech therapists advise you to let your child be in charge and allow them to choose what they want because that keeps them engaged. You will notice a better engagement when you will let them pick the sound or picture they want to work on.
Therapists have told us that many parents are prone to overreact when it comes to their child’s speech delay. That’s why Speech Blubs app starts with a couple of simple yes or no questions regarding your child’s hearing, social and communicative development. The questions were designed by professionals, and the results will tell you if your child is on par (developmentally speaking) within his or her age group. Using the app, you can even send the results to your email and show it to your child’s caregiver or SLP.
Turn speech practice into a fun daily routine with your child.
Repetition is extremely important! We recommend it as a quick daily practice to reinforce sounds. To achieve the best results, you should practice with your child on a regular basis. But don’t push it if your child lacks concentration or motivation at times. If so choose two or three days a week, at a time that you would normally play with your child (e.g. just before bedtime). If your child is already in speech therapy, you have to practice anyways. Use our app to playfully kickstart the home practice prescribed by your therapist.
Limit session length when using it so it’ll be more enticing to children every time they use it.
Therapist advise you to do it one-on-one for about 15-20 minutes at the time or until they have the motivation, energy, and concentration for it. Sometimes it works better for short periods. One therapist recommends short sessions, as this seems to be helping them to try difficult things, and you will definitely see improvements.
Your presence and enthusiasm act as additional motivation. Don’t hold back. Become that animal! Therapists have noticed parents holding themselves back when it comes to playing with their children. And here’s a tip for them… Role play like there’s no tomorrow! Get on all four legs and BECOME that bear. Or chicken. Cluck, cluck, cluck. Make faces like a chicken would? Become an angry chicken! Go “nuts” and your child will sooner or later follow your example.
Of course, there’s a child model imitating each of the animals, but the key element of this app is you, the PARENT. Sit in front of the camera with your child to get better results and keep their attention. Do the practice along with them so that they have a partner they will be less discouraged from participating.
Use it as an addition to one-on-one time.
Combine the app with other tasks, like books and an illustrated vocabulary. You can even pair it with real toys and let them identify the animal name and then go into the app to copy their sounds. You can use it for games like playing a simple memory game.
The app acts as a great reinforcement!
Therapists who use the app on a daily basis said every student so far has loved this app. Even if they are not really interested in speaking that day, they still use this app and they get very excited. They offer it often as an activity in their kindergarten classrooms and keep it fun to start. We want the children to enjoy their work without realizing that they are working hard!
Really earn that head prop!
After a while, a red line on top of the screen (progress bar) will load. This means you and your child have been really good observers. You’ve earned yourself a sticker! And an animal head prop. And guess what? You can now go to the mirror screen and see that head prop on your own head. Yay! Face recognition magic!
Take lots of pictures!
Children show great effort when you offer them to take a picture of you or themselves with our app. You can send the picture to your friends, family or even us! We would love to see the two of you enjoying our app and having fun. You can use it as a reward after the child completes the exercise.
Bribe your child with digital candy!
Every now and then a colorful surprise candy appears or an animal sticker. Say something like: “Become that bear and I’ll let you tap that candy.” Each candy is hiding a surprise. Sometimes it’s a funny video.
But the next time a candy appears you might find something even more interesting: Conversation starters. Tell your child the story that you see on the screen. Or ask him a question displayed on the screen. Keep the conversation going, it will help you get the child engaged, plus he or she will learn more about things.
Pause ... Just like your own child may become a handful at times, the children in our app can be a bit annoying. They are on a loop, after all. Adjust the volume accordingly and use the pause button. Press it and let your child mimic the animal while the model in the app is “waiting”.
Other tips and tricks ...
Use our section Mouth Gym to warm up and get ready to practice. The children love seeing themselves with a chicken on their head or kitty ears! You can use that to practice describing and using spatial concepts. Challenge the kids to have a conversation based on their character in the app. Use the app to elicit any sound vocalizations when they’re not quite ready for more structured drill work.
Therapists continue the activity from Speech Blubs and break it into smaller bits to help teach it explicitly. They slow it down to make it easier for the children to follow. Encouraged them to form the correct mouth movements, then adding the sounds later.
Therapists also suggest you use it for kids who don’t like to look at the speaker’s face and they are way too interested in “screen-time”…this at least help them to start talking and then you two can work on social aspects. Be sure to hold the device at an appropriate distance so that the camera catches the child’s face. In some cases, it’s best you hold the tablet or phone rather than the child. Or use a tablet/surface with a stand.
Some of our autistic friends, or maybe even just the really shy ones don’t like looking at themselves or don’t like the graphics added to their picture. Usually, they get used to it, but, if not, just keep it on the model.
To sum it up
The consensus is that our app works wonderfully with kids who have just started to babble. It improves their attention, imitation skills, articulation, comprehension, and vocabulary. Numerous positive effects have been reported for kids with Autism, Speech delay, Apraxia, Down syndrome, even with completely nonverbal kids.
Thousands of parents and therapists have already gotten some great results from using our app Speech Blubs and more are finding us every day.
It’s an app built for TWO! REALLY BE THERE WITH YOUR CHILD. We cannot emphasize that enough. Speech Blubs app will help you to spend some quality time together. We alongside therapists encourage you, parents, to use it regularly at home, as an addition or a helpful tool, but don’t let it replace one-on-one practice time with your child.
Tell us your Speech Blubs story or tip, send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.