So2Speak and So2Speak Plus Application Reviews

I work on a regular basis with children who have various difficulties with speech and language, but when I was in graduate school, I worked with clients who had aphasia and/or suffered from a brain injury. It has been a few years since I have worked with an adult in speech-language therapy, but I still consider myself knowledgeable enough to give advice the area as I keep up on the literature. When I was contacted to review the So2Speak and So2Speak+ applications for the iPad, I was delighted to provide detailed information of how to use the application in speech-language therapy.

So2Speak and So2Speak+ are two applications that are strongly associated with each other in the fact that one is for speech-language pathologists to create a home practice program and the other is for patients to use the home practice program themselves. Created by Claire Mitchell, a speech-language therapist at the University of Manchester, this application works on oral motor exercises and techniques for patients following a stroke, brain injury, or diagnosis of aphasia. You can view more information on their website about the application and how it was made or the video below:

Continue reading for my review of So2Speak and So2Speak+!

So2Speak+ Main Page

So2Speak Plus Application

The application begins with an End User License Agreement. You must read the agreement and press “Accept” to use it. If you choose to press “Decline”, you should not use the application. The application is provided “as is” and should be used by a licensed speech-language pathologist.

Main Page

The "Main Page" of So2Speak Plus has four different buttons on it: Add Patient, Create Programme, View Patients, and Resources.

Add Patient

So2Speak+ Add Patient

Press the "Add Patient" button to add a patient to use the application. You can then enter the patients' name and e-mail address by pressing in the blank rectangles and entering information via the keyboard. Then, press "Add Patient". After that, two program settings will appear in a pop-up menu. These options can be turned on/off via switches. They are the options of whether or not to enable the quality of life questionnaire and whether or not to enable reminder alerts. Once you have set the settings, press "Done". If you need additional help or information, press the green "i" button at the bottom of the page.

View Patients

So2Speak+ View Patients

To view all of the patients in which you manage, press the "View Patients" button on the "Main Page". A list of patients will show alphabetized from A to Z by name. You can view an individual's statistics, programs, and settings or delete a patient via this menu. In addition, you can view information on how to use this menu by pressing the green "i" button for a pop up menu to appear. You can scroll on this menu to view more information about the use of the "View Patients" page by swiping your finger up or down. You can also add a new patient via this menu.

View Stats

In order to assess a patients' progress through the application, press the "View Stats" button on the "View Patients" menu next to the user whose information you wish to view. You will see how far a user has progressed in your program via a progress bar and percentage at the top of the page. You can also view a graph at the bottom of the page of the users' progress. The user's self-ratings for their practice will show on the left hand side of the application as an average. Finally, if you have chosen to enable the quality of speech questionnaire for the user, you will see his or her responses to the questionnaire at the beginning, middle, and end of the program on the right hand side of the application. The therapist can e-mail the patient's statistics to himself or herself by pressing the "E-mail Statistics" button at the top right hand corner of the page. Then, the therapist will be asked to enter his or her e-mail in which he or she would like the statistics sent followed by pressing the "Done" button.

Settings

Within the "View Patients" menu, you can adjust a patients' settings by pressing the "Settings" button. This allows you to change the two settings stated above (for the quality of life questionnaire and reminder alerts), but also change the patients' e-mail address or resend a login code to their e-mail.

Resources

So2Speak+ Resources

Press the "Resources" button to view So2Speak's blog, links, and Twitter. You can also copy a link, open it in your browser, send by e-mail to recommend it to others, or sign up for So2Speak's newsletter. There are buttons on So2Speak's website to view their products, blog, or contact information as well.

Application Use

So2Speak+ Create Program Videos

Pressing the "Create Programme" button will allow the user to create a program to send to a patient via e-mail. You will see oral motor exercise categories on the left hand side of the application and four different buttons plus an information button to help the user create a program for a patient. First, select the patient in which you would like to create a program for via the "Select Patient" button. This will show a pop-up menu of the patients in which you have added for you to choose from listed alphabetically. Press on the patients' name to create a program for him or her. Then, press the "Create New Session" button at the bottom right hand corner of the page to begin creating a session for the user to practice. For more information or help, press the green "i" button at the bottom of the page.

Once you have pressed the "Create New Session" a blue space will appear that states "Session" at the top of the application. You can then sift through various oral motor exercises to choose which ones you would like the patient to perform during a session. To look through the exercises, press on one of the following categories: Lip Exercises, Tongue Exercises, Soft Palate Exercises, Jaw Exercises, or Your Custom Exercises. Pressing on one of these will show a drop-down menu of various video exercises in which you can view and choose to place into a session. Choose from the following:

Lip Exercises:

  • Range of Movement - Lips forward "oo", lips back "ee", mouth wide  "ah", top lip up, bottom lip down
  • Strength - Push lips forward, push agains lips back, pull against lips closed
  • Speed of Movement - "oo" to "ee" quickly, "ah" to "oo" quickly, "ah" to "ee" quickly, "oo" to "ee" quickly

Tongue Exercises:

  • Range of Movement - Tongue straight out, tongue to nose, tongue to chin, tongue to corner of mouth, tongue into cheek, tongue top to bottom teeth, "k" sound, gargle without water
  • Strength - Push against tongue in cheek, push against side of tongue, push against tongue out, push against tongue tip, push against tongue down, pull against tongue moving back
  • Speed of Movement - Tongue out to in quickly, tongue corner to corner quickly, tongue into cheek quickly, tongue nose to chin quickly, tongue top to bottom teeth quickly, "d" to "g" quickly

Soft Palate Exercises:

  • Range of Movement - Puff cheeks out
  • Speed of Movement - Puff cheeks out then "m" quickly, "m" to "b" quickly, "n" to "d" quickly

Jaw Exercises:

  • Range of Movement - Jaw down, jaw side to side, chewing lips closed
  • Strength - Push against jaw down, push against jaw to side
  • Speed of Movement - Jaw open to close quickly, jaw side to side quickly

Custom Exercises:

Create your own "Custom Exercises" by pressing in the pink space which states "tap here to create/edit custom exercises". You will then see on the left hand side of the page your previously created custom videos. You can create a new custom video or access the ability to delete previously created videos. To create a custom video, press the "Record New Video" button. Then, you will be brought to the camera. Center yourself on the camera or turn the camera around by pressing the button at the bottom of the screen, then press the record button (red circular button) to begin recording. You can then retake the video by pressing "Retake", the triangular "Play" button in the middle to play the video you created, or the blue "Use" button to upload it to the application. Then, enter in the Exercise Title and Instructions via the keyboard. Finally, you will have the option to "Save Exercise" to save it to your "Custom Videos". You can also delete exercises by pressing on the exercise you wish to delete followed by the "Delete Exercise" button. Finally if you wish to edit a previously created video by recording a new version, press on the custom video you wish to record over and then press "Record New Video". You can also edit an exercises' name or instructions again by pressing within the white boxes and typing information/deleting information via the keyboard.

Creating a Session

So2Speak+ Video

Prior to choosing a video for a session, you can view it by pressing on the blue camcorder button next to it. This will show the video as well as the instructions for that video.

So2Speak+ Create New Session

Once you have decided which video(s) you wish to place in your session, press on each video. It will then appear in your "Session" and a pop-up selection wheel will appear for you to choose the number of repetitions the patient is to practice from 1 to 99. You can remove a video from your session by pressing the red, circular "x" button next to the image of the video. You can also edit the number of repetitions by pressing in the box next to the "Repetitions" text. If you add more than 3-4 videos, you can scroll through by dragging your finger left or right over them to see them all.

So2Speak+ Choose Start DateSo2Speak+ Add Session TimesSo2Speak+ Repeat Session For

Once you have selected the videos you wish the patient to practice in a session, press "Done". Then, scroll wheels will appear for you to select the start date and time(s) to which you should scroll through and then press "Next" or "Add" to set these date(s)/time(s) and then how often the person should repeat the session. Finally, press "Save Programme". You can create multiple programs for a patient at a time. You can also view a patients' timetable of sessions by pressing "View Timetable".

So2Speak Application

So2Speak Login

This application is for a patient to use at home. The user must first log-in to use the application.

Application Use

The initial page of this application upon first use shows a page for the patient to enter his or her Patient ID. If the user needs more information, he or she can press the "i" button. Prior to logging in, the user can view So2Speak's blog, Links, and Twitter at the bottom of the applciation.

So2Speak Email

To begin using the application, the user must enter his or her "User ID" by pressing in the gray area and typing it via the keyboard. The patient should have received his or her Login ID via e-mail after the speech-language pathologist set up a profile for him or her on his or her So2Speak+ application.

If the speech-language pathologist set up for the user to complete a quality of life questionnaire, the user will see this first. Questions included include "what best describes how you feel about your speech at the moment" and more. There are check marks in which the user can press on a check mark which is associated with his or her answer. The patient can also choose to skip a given question by pressing the "Skip" button. The patient should press the "OK" button once he or she chooses an answer to move on to the next question.

So2Speak Main Page

Once logged-in, the user will see a page in which there are three options - Your Timetable, Start Session, and Resources - and a Settings button.

Settings

The only setting available is whether or not to enable reminder alerts via an On/Off switch.

Resources

Press the "Resources" button to view So2Speak's blog, links, and Twitter. You can also copy a link, open it in your browser, send by e-mail to recommend it to others, or sign up for So2Speak's newsletter. There are buttons on So2Speak's website to view their products, blog, or contact information as well.

Your Timetable

So2Speak Your Timetable

Press the "Your Timetable" button to view the timetable for sessions on a calendar. The dates in which sessions are scheduled to be completed will have a dot on them. Press on a given date to view the time(s) in which sessions are scheduled to be practiced on the right hand side of the page. If the user has missed a session, it will show up highlighted in red. If the user has completed a session, a green check mark will appear next to the session time. If a session is upcoming, you can view the time(s) in which you are to practice as they are shown highlighted in blue on the right hand side of the page with the word "upcoming" next to them. You can move between months by pressing the arrows next to the title of the month at the top of the page.

Start Session


So2Speak Session

To begin a scheduled session, press the "Start Session" button. Your name, date, and time will appear at the top of the application. Videos to be practiced will appear on the left hand side of the application. If the user has questions or needs help, he or she can press the green "i" button at the bottom of the application page. The user can mute/un-mute the sound by pressing the green microphone button.

First, the user should press on a video on the left hand side of the page to practice. Each video will have a screen capture with instructions beneath it. Pressing on a video will highlight it and it will appear in the middle of the screen. Press the "Play" button to play the video. Text will appear with instructions of what the user is to practice as well as the video playing showing a person practicing the skill. At the top of the video, it will state the name of the exercise followed by text stating how many times to practice the skill. When the video is playing, the user can increase the size by pressing the square buttons in the corner of the video or decrease it back to regular size the same way.

So2Speak Rate Yourself

Following completion of practicing an exercise, the user should press the "Press When Done" button in the image. A pop-up menu will appear for the user to rate how well he or she perceived his or her ability to complete the exercise to be on a 1 to 5 scale. He or she can choose not to rate himself or herself by pressing the "Not Now" button. Otherwise, he or she can press a star coordinated with a number followed by "Done" to rate himself or herself. Exercises completed will show a green check mark next to them on the left hand side of the application page.

Video Tutorials

You can view video tutorials for the So2Speak and So2Speak+ below:

What I Like About These Applications:

  • It is great to have an application in which you can create sessions for a patient to practice on his or her own time and view his or her progress within the program.
  • The So2Speak application for patients is free and easy to use.
  • Both applications have very clean, easy to follow menus.
  • The fact that the speech-language pathologist can record his or her own videos for the patient to use is amazing and allows for individualized sessions.
  • Being able to choose pre-installed videos for oral motor practice and view/e-mail results of a patient means less time in which a speech-language pathologist has to plan and create reports on a patients' progress.
  • Having sessions be recurring over time with reminders allows for a patient to be easily reminded to practice his or her oral motor skills. Practice at home allows for increased progress in therapy.
  • You can use the So2Speak+ application with up to 20 users!

What I Would Like to See in Future Updates:

  • I would love it if the quality of life questionnaire could be read aloud to the patient or any of the other buttons as well for those who have difficulty reading, especially after a brain injury, stroke, or aphasia.
  • It would be great to have a rating system setting to turn it on or off if chosen.
  • I would love to have the ability for a patient to see a mirroring of himself or herself practicing the skills for further self-assessment. I would also love the ability for the patient to record and save videos of himself or herself practicing sessions so that the speech-language pathologist and patient can review videos and also progress over time. If this is too much to be saved on an iPad, it would be good to have it saved on a computer/website to be accessed.

Therapy Use

  • Oral Motor Exercises - Use the videos and programs in this application to have a patient practice oral motor exercises at home with patients who have suffered from aphasia, a stroke, brain injury, etc.
  • Articulation/Apraxia of Speech - Some of the videos in this application can be used to practice movement of the articulators from front to back sounds or you can create your own exercises for students to practice using the application.

Price

The price of So2Speak+ for the speech-language pathologist to use on the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini is $59.99. The associated So2Speak application for patient use on the iPod touch, iPhone, iPad, and iPad Mini is available for Free.

Disclaimer

Consonantly Speaking was given a code to review So2Speak+ and downloaded So2Speak for free. No other form of compensation was received.

Information About Oral Motor Techniques in Speech-Language Therapy

I know that there is a lot of controversy over oral motor exercises in speech-language therapy in the United States, so I will leave it up to your own professional judgment of whether or not to use them in therapy. The American Speech-Language Hearing Association has the position that there is not enough evidence for the use of oral motor exercises in therapy and to view their position in this area, visit their website.

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