Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bilingual Articulation Phonology Assessment

Disclosure:  Smarty Ears donated this app to me free of charge and asked that I post a review on my blog.  The opinions below are my own.
(For larger pictures, click on a picture.)
I was very excited to get this new app from Smarty Ears, especially since it is the first normed articulation test in app form. I found the administration to be very similar to the Sunny Articulation & Phonology Test Kit. Even though this test is a bilingual test, it is also appropriate to give to an "English Speaking Only" child. When adding a student's information, you have the choice of English, Spanish, or Both:



There is one feature that would be extremely helpful if you are a bilingual SLP administering the test to a Spanish speaking child.  The ability to choose the child's region of origin would be very helpful, since different countries have different dialects.
The "Settings" feature is a little different than Sunny.  You can choose to have voice feedback, (which to me was a bit "hokey") or a tone when changing pictures.  Unfortunately, not having any sound is not an option. Other options include recording the voice by picture or by the entire test, as well as the confidence interval (90 or 95%).  There is also a place to indicate whether or not the administrator's name should be included on the report.   
When adding a student, the following box will pop up:
To begin the evaluation, touch the student's name, then "New Assessment":
The BAPA has a lot of the same features as the Sunny: you can flip the response so that the SLP can face the examinee.  To indicate an error, touch the target phoneme and indicate what type of error was made. As in the Sunny, with a blend substitution, you are not able to indicate if both of the phonemes in the blend are misarticulated, i.e., if  /gw/ was substituted for /dr/, you can indicate either the /d/ or /r/ was substituted, but not both phonemes.  
If, after hearing the recordings of the responses, a response needs to be changed, it is possible to edit the test upon completion. 
In the above picture, you also have the capability of editing the notes, previewing the report, previewing results, and previewing the recordings. In the "Preview Results" tab, the errors are broken down just as in Sunny: Position, Manner, Voicing, Words, Multisyllablic Words, Error.
Also in the above picture, if you look just above the black tab at the blue square, there is an icon that can be used to add recommendations.

What I liked:
~  Very user-friendly
~ Each sound is tested in different positions in the word
~ For Spanish speaking students, the SLP can indicate the dialect
~ Ability to record by each word or by the entire test
~ Ability to flip the screen so the SLP can sit face-to-face with the student
~ Ability to email the report, or to save it in Therapy Report Center (TRC) or in different apps on my iPad
~ The report indicates which words had errors and indicates what the error was.

What I Would Change:
~ It bothers me that the SLP can not be specific with the blend errors.  Often times, a blend may not be reduced, but both phonemes may be in error.
~ It is not able to mute the sound when switching pictures. It is my opinion, but it having the tone is a little annoying.

I rechecked the manual to get an idea of how this test was standardized, but I didn't see an explanation. When I did a "test run", I put the child's age in as 5-0, and the errors were all developmental: w/r, an interdental lisp affecting /s,z/, w/l, and b/v. I set the intelligibility as 90%.  I was very surprised that the standard score was <50 with a <5th percentile rank. When I put in a child who is 8-0 with only an /r/ error (including vocalic r and r-blends), the standard score was <50 with a <5 percentile rank. For this reason, I would not feel confident using this test to determine eligibility for a student.
I was extremely disappointed with the results.  A standard score that low would indicate that the child is unintelligible, but I gave both of them a 90% intelligibility rating.  
Since I am not a bilingual SLP, I did not do a test run in Spanish.  I would be very interested to see how that compares to the English only version.

The app is $54.99 in the iTunes store, and can be found here.



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