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Posted on: Tuesday, 14 December 2010, 00:01 CST 


A practicing speech and language pathologist in Dallas, has created 15 apps that are compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch® and iPad engaging parents and helping children with a variety of speech delays or disabilities.

Dallas, TX (PRWEB) December 12, 2010 


Did you know that 8 to 9% of children in the United States struggle from a speech or language delay? Speech or language delay is a general term used to describe children who have difficulty communicating their basic needs and wants due to the presence of difficulties pronouncing some sounds, stuttering, autism, or a specific language disorder. These children need help from both speech pathologists and parents to practice and improve their skills. Often times, therapists may struggle finding something that will engage the student, and parents may struggle having any type of material to practice with at home. One determined speech therapist, named Barbara Fernandes, however, is determined to bridge the gap of accessible and engaging speech therapy materials. Mrs. Fernandes has been helping speech therapists and parents around the world to engage children in the process of improving their speech and communication skills using devices from Apple®.


Barbara Fernandes, M.S, CCC-SLP, a practicing speech and language pathologist in Dallas, has created 15 applications that are compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch® and iPad to help children with a variety of speech delays or disabilities. Barbara is the founder and director of Smarty Ears, a company that designs and publishes apps for improving communication skills in all areas such as stuttering, articulation and language. She is also the host of GeekSLP TV, a video podcast and blog dedicated towards educating parents and therapists alike in ways to incorporate technology into improving language skills.


With over 200,000 applications on Apple’s app store, it is quite overwhelming for parents or therapists to identify the ones that were designed specifically by a qualified specialist in the area or to find the apps that target the specific areas in which children need to work on. Barbara Fernandes, a trilingual speech pathologist and a specialist in speech and language disorders, has created apps specifically for people who stutter, children with difficulty pronouncing sounds, children with language delays and even an app that will serve the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) device.


Barbara comments on the importance of parental support in the process: “In my practice, I have had the opportunity to observe that children will make significantly more progress if they are engaged in the activity and if the parents are also practicing with the children at home. The apps I have created do not substitute the need for traditional speech therapy, but they allow parents to become active participants in their child’s speech and language development. It is wonderful to see speech therapists recommending my apps to parents as ‘homework‘ or to receive e-mails from parents that describe their children’s success. A common comment received is that their child is able to improve the pronunciation of the ‘r’ sounds after they have used one of my apps called ‘r intensive’. This app targets words that contain several forms of the ‘r’ sound in an intensive practice format.”

One of Barbara’s most popular apps is “Match2Say”, an app that was also featured by Apple Inc. on the App store as New and Noteworthy. Match2Say is a matching game that allows children to play with specific sounds. Children learn while playing and being engaged by listening to an auditory model. Another hit app, always amongst the best-selling education apps is “Articulate it!”, a comprehensive application that allows speech therapists, teachers and parents to work with children who have difficulty pronouncing sounds and can’t be understood by others. “Fluency tracker” is an application that can be used by parents and individuals who stutter to track their stuttering behavior. Some of these apps are available in Spanish and plans for other foreign languages are under way. 


Barbara Fernandes has also recently designed an entry-level Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app for children with a communication disorder called “Expressive”. “Expressive” gives children the ability to express themselves through the use of pictured images and corresponding audio, and can also be used by individuals who have had a stroke and have lost their ability to communicate with family members.    “Expressive” offers simple and easy customization tailored to the individual’s communication levels and needs.

Apple’s devices and the App Store have allowed professionals such as Barbara to bypass the bureaucracy of the large corporations and create products that will benefit individuals both in the U.S. and around the world. “Children around the world are benefiting greatly by the revolution in education happening right now where children, parents, teachers and therapists have access to tools that were once only a dream for the future. I am proud to be a part of that,” says Barbara. 

Additional information can be found at http://www.smartyearsapps.com
To access GeekSLP’s blog entries and videos, visit: http://www.geekslp.com

iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch and Apple are trademarks of Apple Inc.

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