Sunday, June 9, 2013

Phono Learning Center App Review + GIVEAWAY!

Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed when I get a client with severe phonological processing or severe articulation problems.  It just feels like a long road to intelligibility.  Fortunately, there are programs and activities that are very helpful when dealing with these types of cases.

I am so excited to share with you a brand new app from Smarty Ears that will be perfect for these more severe cases!  Introducing Phono Learning Center!

PLC was designed using the Hodson's Cycles Approach, which is an evidenced-based program effective for treating kids that are unintelligible because of a sound-system disorder.  One of the most beneficial affects of the Cycles program is the impact it has on a child's overall intelligibility.  You can check out THIS video to see a "before and after" of a child using Cycles.

On the home page there are 3 buttons: Support, New Session, and Report Cards.  Under "Support," you'll find helpful info, including a Video Tutorial and Homework option.

The homework screen allows you to choose targets and print them for extra practice or email them directly to parents.

Tap on "New Session" on the home screen to get started.  Press the plus sign to add students individually or import from Therapy Report Center.

Tap "settings" to choose how you want the app to run.  Here you are able to decide if you would like to use the app based on the Cycles approach or traditional therapy.  You can also select a "standard" scoring style or "level of prompts" style.

Customize the targets and information for each student.  Choosing to turn on Auditory Bombardment will let the child play an auditory bombardment game prior to beginning each session.  Select the level that you want the child to work (words, phrases, sentences).

Further customize by choosing the targets at the bottom of screen.  Use the tabs to move from primary to secondary targets.

If only one student is participating, a simple auditory bombardment game will automatically play (if it's on).  The student pops the balloons to hear the target words.

There are 4 activity options to make the app more fun and engaging for students: Balloon, Matching, Basket Paper, and Puzzle.

  • The balloon activity allows students to practice their targets by inflating a hot air balloon.  They say the word then drag the balloon to the basket.  Each time they add a picture, the balloon inflates more.

When there are multiple players participating, you have to tap the players to switch turns.  This allows you to score multiple productions of the same target.  Score using the red, yellow, and green buttons at the top of the screen.  The above slide depicts a standard scoring style, and the slide below depicts a "level of prompts" scoring style.

  • In the matching activity, students find the target card hidden among the faced-down cards.  
  • The basket paper toss is a popular one for lots of the kiddos.  They say the target, touch the paper and watch it crumble, then toss it in the basket. 
  • The last game is a puzzle.  Students say the target, then drag the pic to the puzzle.  Each time the drag it, the puzzle gets more and more complete.

Press "Done" to end the session.  View student data from the "Report Cards" session and email it or save it in TRC.

You can find more info about this app, including a video overview HERE.

What I dig about this app:
  • It's more engaging than most artic apps with the use of fun little games.
  • It's evidenced based using the Cycles Approach to increase intelligibility
  • The auditory bombardment option 
  • Homework to send home with the student
  • Highly customizable and provides a variety of treatment targets and options
  • Multiple ways to collect and save data
What might make this app better:
  • It might be nice if the games could keep score or number their responses.  I like to be able to say "Great job, you did it!"  Even if their productions weren't successful, they feel like they completed a task.  Or you could even play the first one to 20 is the winner, etc.
Overall, this is a fantastic app.  You can grab it HERE on sale right now for $14.99 (regular $24.99).

The fabulous folks at Smarty Ears gave me a code to GIVEAWAY!  Yay!  Enter in the rafflecopter below!  Good luck!  :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I like the multiple ways to collect and save data!

  2. I like that it follows the Cycles approach.

  3. I love that it has auditory bombardment and it looks like a fun game kids would stay interested in.

  4. I like that it offers auditory bombardment.

  5. I like the multiple games it offers. Looks engaging.

  6. I like that its based on the Cycles Approach. I've had a lot of success with this.

  7. I liked how engaging it appears to be.

  8. Hey Lauren,

    Glad to have found your blog via Fifth in the Middle. I am a Louisiana Educator too! I see that you are a speech-language pathologist. I have 5 year old twin boys who I find to have some speech-language impairments such as they don't use the word "the" when speaking, they use me all the time instead of I and sometimes they speak so fast they slur their words. Do you have any advice for me? They are going into Kindergarten next year and I am worried the teacher is going to have a hard time understanding them.

    Shepherd's Shining Stars

    1. Hey Erica,
      If you have concerns about their speech or language, I'd suggest voicing those concerns to their teacher as well as the school speech pathologist. You could request a speech screening when they get to school next year or could call your districts SpEd Dept and see if they could be screened this summer. If you have any other questions or want to talk specifics, feel free to email me at


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