Friday, June 14, 2013

AAC Week: Review of Speech Journal by Mobile Education Store

Welcome to the last day in this short series on AAC.  I hope you've enjoyed it, picked up something useful, and/or learned something new!  Today I wanted to share the app Speech Journal by Mobile Education Store ($3.99 in iTunes).  Although this app wasn't specifically designed for AAC, it is definitely applicable to AAC.  

According to the Mobile Education Store's website, Speech Journal
"is designed to allow parents and speech pathologists the ability to create customized versions of any targeted speech-language activity. Uses for Speech Journal include: picture sequencing, multi-step picture schedules, multi-step directions, articulation, expressive language exercises, building narratives, individualized social stories, practice conversations. Speech Journal can also be used as a personal diary and as a way to create family vacation photo slideshows.Any image from your photo album can be imported into Speech Journal...Speech Journal can also function as a basic voice output augmentative communication device for children with limited verbal ability."
How it works:
When you begin, you will need to create a new student profile.  The Speech Journals you create for each student will be saved (if you choose to do so) under their profiles.

Once you have set up a student, this will be the screen you see when you open the app.  You can change the student here if you wish.

Notice the three options along the bottom?  You have "Info," which tells you about the app, "Record," which lets you create your Speech Journal (above), and "Archive," where you can access saved journals (more on that later).  In addition, in the blue bar along the bottom, there is a link to watch a video tutorial on how to use this app.

When you're ready, you can begin creating a Speech Journal by selecting "Choose Image" from the screen above. You will be able to choose where the pictures will come from:  Photos or Camera.  I chose photos:

You will need to allow Speech Journal access to your photos the first time you choose this option.  Then you can choose from any photo in your camera roll.  The pictures above are from an album I created from Google Images (see my post on that HERE) for a student working on initial /k/.

Once you select the image you wish to use, you can add audio by tapping the "record" button.

From the next screen, you can play back the recording and re-record if you don't like it.  Now, if you wish to add other "pages" to your Speech Journal, you will tap "Choose Image."

You can see that you can either "Add Image to this recording" (add a page to the Speech Journal) or "Choose Image for New Recording."  A word of warning...If you select "Choose Image for New Recording without first saving, you will lose everything you've added so far.

You can add audio to this image by tapping "Continue Recording."  Continue like this until you are ready to save your Speech Journal.  Tap "Save Recording" and name it.

Once saved, you can access your Speech Journals in the "Archive" section.  "Play All" will play the Journal like a slideshow, complete with audio.  You can add to your story by tapping "Continue Recording."  You can also delete any recordings that you do not wish to save any longer.

And lastly, you can email the Speech Journal to someone.  It will include all of the photos, as well as the audio recording.

You can very quickly create Story Journals to work on a variety of targets:
  • Articulation:  As I added pictures, I had a student record their productions.  We could play back and the student could judge accuracy of production.
  • Sequencing:  I have a few students with a goal of describing a procedure with 3-4 steps in sequence.  For this Journal, I added pictures showing the sequencing of washing your hands.  I then had students practice describing each step.  At the end, they could hear their completed description of the entire procedure.
  • Social stories:  You can take photos of the students during any particular activity and add the narration to complete a social story.
  • Narrative skills:  Add photos and have students work on creating a story with beginning/middle/end, age appropriate grammar/syntax, etc.
Speech Journal and AAC:
Really the possibilities are endless with this app!  Since it is AAC week, I'd like to take a few moments talking about how this app can help students who require alternative and augmentative means of communication.

Parent Communication:
Non-verbal students who require AAC often are unable to tell their parents about their day.  I once worked with a teacher who used to send home a list of questions and a Step-by-Step Communicator. The mother would ask the questions and the child would activate the switch to answer the questions.  I thought this was a great way to establish a home-school connection with this family!

That was pre-iPad.  Now you can easily use an app like Speech Journal to take pictures of the child throughout the day and give a narrative account for the parents.  It is fairly quick to create a recording in Speech Journal and it's much quicker to speak a narrative than to write out a note!

In addition, many students are now using iPads as their communication devices.  If this is the case and the iPad travels back and forth, the teacher can create Speech Journals about the child's day at school and the parent can create Journals to inform the teacher of the child's time at home.

If the iPad belongs to your district and not to the student, that's not a problem! Just email the Speech Journals to the parent and you can still establish the same lines of communication!

Voice Output Device:  You can use Speech Journal as a basic voice output device.  Insert a picture, record a message, and have the child hit "play" as they would hit a switch.  For example, if you are working on a farm theme and want to have the children say the sounds that animals make, you can create a Speech Journal with animal pictures and record their sounds.  Now the child who is non-verbal can participate with their peers.

So, as you can see, Speech Journal is a highly versatile app that is great for working on just about any objective, including AAC.  This app is quite reasonably priced in relation to other speech/language specific apps as well!  You can find Speech Journal in the App Store.

Tell me, what objectives would you target using Speech Journal?

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