I have been looking for a good articulation assessment instrument for quite some time so when Sunny Articulation Test app came my way I was very excited to put it into action by using it with some of my clients. I wanted to see how this “test” app compared with traditional articulation tests such as Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2 or Photo Articulation Test-3.
So here we go:
When you log in the first thing you do is set up a client profile. The process is very simple all you have to do is add the name and birthday and the app will calculate child child’s exact age in years and months. To protect client privacy you may only do the first name without the last name.
Next you can choose to administer the screening or the full evaluation. Here, I chose to administer the full evaluation. The set up of the eval is nice and simple. The client will see a picture on the screen and you will ask him to say the word. He can say is spontaneously or repeat after the build in model if the clinician taps on the word under the picture). Then its decision making time. If the production was correct move on to the next pic. If not then the green letters on top of the screen can be tapped to identify the error pattern. The full eval version comes in with a handy list of error patterns. As you can see from above the /k/ sound in camel was highlighted. Now depending on the child’s production the clinician get’s to identify the error pattern. Was it a deletion, substitution, distortion? Tap on the appropriate error pattern and move on. BTW in the case of substitution a screen with phonemes will pop up so you can identify what the /k/ was substituted with. You also have the option of recording a child’s production as well as making notes by tapping on the ‘yellow pad’ button on the screen.
The entire evaluation is very fast to administer. I’d say on average about 20 minutes (give or take). Testing time will definitely vary in the case of children with behavioral difficulties (inattention, opposition, impulsivity) as well as in cases with significant error patterns where the clinician actually has to supplement the testing by copious note writing as well as production recording/rerecording.
What I love about this app is the amount of information I am given once the testing is actually completed. You get information accuracy on the following:
- Phoneme position
- Manner of articulation
- Place of articulation
- Word Errors
- Total percentage of errors and type of errors
Once you are finished you can actually judge the child’s intelligibility (subjective measure) and add that marker to the report as well.
Below are a few screenshots of the information that is compiled throughout the evaluation.
The app also creates a report for you which can be reviewed, emailed, printed or saved in a number of applications including iBooks, Adobe Reader and so on. The ability to generate a full report is definitely one of the coolest features of this app, because its not just incredibly time saving but also very detailed (as can be seen from below screenshot).
So to recap here are all the things I love about this app:
- Super Easy to administer
- Hugely Time Saving
- Provides tons of detailed information
- Recording Option
- Note taking option
- Error pattern identification
- Report writing option with an ability to store or email
- Portable and Easy to Carry
- Inexpensive (when compared with traditional test e.g., GFTA-2)
- Awesome video tutorial which explains in minutes all you need to know (vs reading the manual for hours)
- Can be used for screening, evaluation, re-evalution, as well as therapy progress monitoring
What I don’t like:
I don’t like the chart detailing the ” general acquisition timeline for the speech sounds in English”
|Age of acquisition||Phonemes|
|2-3||b, m, h, w, d|
|3-4||n, k , g, t, f|
|5-6||v, ʃ , ʒ, tʃ|
|6-7||ŋ, s, z, r|
Here’s why I do not want to see this option included in the report.
I could see some parents of children 3-5 years of age immediately zero in on this information and begin to question whether their child needs therapy, since s/he is 3 years old and is definitely making all of the expected speech sounds for their age and then some. Meanwhile, despite the presence of numerous age level phonemes the child is completely unintelligible and is in desperate need of therapy.
So even though the developer has included the following disclaimer: “There is an enormous variation in the time it takes for children to master pronouncing specific sounds correctly”, I definitely do not see myself including this option in my reports, because I feel that it would be misinterpreted by the parents, which is what I’d like to avoid.
When the parents do want information from me on general sound acquisition and phonological processes suppression, I actually use the handout developed by Sharryn McLeod entitled children’s acquisition of sounds, which contains a compilation of data on typical speech development for English speaking children 0-6+ years of age (click on the link above to grab it for free).
However, the above chart is certainly not a deal breaker for me since I can simply email the report to myself and then delete the informational charts that I do not want to share with the parents.
Another thing which is important to mention, which might be a deal breaker for some clinicians is the fact that this test is non standardized. To me its not a problem at all since I make my decision regarding the need for therapy services based on development guidelines (e.g., McLeod’s handout) as well as based on the child’s conversational speech intelligibility. After all, the child may be 90% intelligible at word level but 30% intelligible in conversations due to which therapy will definitely be recommended. However, some clinicians may be working for schools/agencies/organizations which may require standardized testing scores in order to qualify child for therapy services.
So here is a list of updates that I would like to see in the future:
- Ability to document vowel errors (since some children that I work with make vowel errors)
- Ability to document phoneme additions (for example, when I administered this test to one little guy, instead of ‘bicycle’ the child produced ‘bitiscle’ and i am sure he’s not the only one who does so)
- Standardization of the App (if possible)
Overall, all things fairly considered, I think that this app is absolutely terrific and has tremendous advantages over traditional articulation tests especially when you consider its price. Though its currently $59.99 I am certain that there will be times when the developer will be running a sale, which is when you’ll be able to grab this app for much cheaper.