Friday, April 23, 2010

Super Star Speech, a TOS Homeschool Crew Review

One of the most popular searches that brings folks to my blog is a post I wrote about a DIY weighted vest. Therapies and equipment for a family member with special needs or developmental delays is expensive, and often not covered by insurance.

For those of us who are in that situation, wanting more therapy that is affordable, there is a speech therapy resource available for your consideration.

Speech language pathologist Deborah Lott created Superstar Speech to help parents recognize and address articulation issues at home.

She sent me an e-book pdf download version of Super Star Speech, Speech Therapy Made Simple, available for $12.95 here, or a hard copy for $18.95 or $22.95, depending upon whether prefer ring bound or spiral bound.

Our focus at home is interaction - I don't want to critique my daughter's arcticulation errors to the point where she becomes self-conscious or reluctant to interact. Yet, I'd like to work on one particular artic issue - the "th" sound. The "th" sound is the one error that I notice my homeschooler makes, and she is beginning to self correct.

If you are the parent of a child on the autism spectrum who happens to make articulation errors, I believe you should ignore the artic errors until non-verbal foundations of interaction are solidly in place.

Lott's expertise is in articulation. She and I chatted (via e-mail) about autism and articulation, and she agrees with me - interaction comes first. Self-correcting is a good sign, she told me. (yes! *smile*) She offered me the Super Star Speech product to help me assess and address this one issue with the pesky "th" sound.

Lott's book walks me, the parent, through exactly what to do - evaluating not only the "th" sound, but every sound, and how to work on developing that sound when I hear an error.

The table of contents of Super Star Speech is to the left. The book is 73 pages long, walks me through an articulation test. Page 10 is particularly important, because, there Lott shows me what is developmentally and age appropriate.

Lott walks me how to work on correcting the error at home, and I am pleased to see that I am already following some of her recommendations (the first three). We have had a lot of speech therapy over the years - I guess I learned something. I like knowing I'm on the right track, going about correcting the error in the right way. Next comes drilling - which I want to handle with kid gloves. That has the potential to create anxiety, and I choose, for now, to continue to help her in context. She's saying the name of our rec therapist, Heather, better, by reminding her in context. Lott offers some clever games at the end of the e-book that include repetition within the games, which is one way to sneak repetition in without actually sitting down to do what I call "drilling".

Lott gives parents a description to use with the child to help them place their lips and tongue in the right position. That's helpful.

Super Star Speech offers a list of words that contain each sound, plus many ideas for practicing sounds at home, beginning with lists of ideas and ending with games and flash cards to print.

If you are working with a child on articulation issues, I think you'll find Super Star Speech very helpful.

* * *

I was also given two games in e-book form to download and review, "The Insect Game", and "All About Animals".

I do like the ease that e-books give a family that is bigger than four people. With e-books, I have the option of printing as many playing boards or pieces as I desire, and the game isn't limited to four people.

The Insect Game ($3.50 / download) - okay, I'll fess up - I hate cutting little insect parts from cardstock. If you don't like to cut out little parts with scissors, don't order this one. I tolerate cutting lots of pages of straight lines for game cards, but the insect feet take more time if you're like me and like them really uniform and neat. (It's a Pennyism.) The e-book is eight pages long, and printed as-is, there are enough parts for four players. I have the option to duplicate pages to add more players. There is a set of basic game rules and Lott gives suggestions to create an easier version for younger players.

The vocabulary introduces a lot of terms like "thorax" and "phylum" and "arthropoda. This one is the more challenging game for us at my house.

* * *
All About Animals is really versatile; it is meant for children in grades K-5,and Lott has done a fabulous job making one game appropriate for such a wide age range. Lott has included two sets of rules, which she calls "options". I like that instead of calling one "easy" or for "younger" players. In my house, that makes a difference. My homeschooler has begun to realize that she is playing games with an age range on the box that younger than she is. She's not ready for some older games.

Lott has set this game up in a way that we can begin with all visuals - color picture cards matching them to the pictures within the categories on the game board. We can actually play a version where there is NO reading required! Later, the fact cards can be used a variety of ways. Lott's rules call for the facts to be read aloud, but the game could be modified for a child who is unable to speak or unable to hear with a simple sticky note to cover the category so that only the fact is revealed.

My homeschooler likes to categorize items, and she likes to play with the cards. I asked her how she knows the sting ray is a fish, and she told me, "My brain just knows." We've got to work on identifying how she knows what she knows. She clearly has memorized categories but can't explain why an animal falls within a particular category. This game gives us a new way to work on that.

I like the fact that we can make this a really short game if we need to. On days when my girl is extra wiggly and having trouble sitting, this is one we can pull out, play, *finish*, and be successful completing something.

If you purchase Super Star Speech in e-book form, or any of the games, there are additional expenses. You'll need to access a print or office store or own a printer, paper or cardstock, and toner, plus a pair of scissors.

Lott blogs helpful info about speech therapy and articulation helps and hints here.

To read my Crewmates' reviews of Super Star Speech, please click here.

As part of The Old Schoolhouse Crew of reviewers, I was given complimentary e-copies of Super Star Speech, The Insect Game, and All About Animals. I am not compensated for this review and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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