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iconIn preparation for another, exciting school year, I wanted to-1 review a recently released app by Smarty Ears that is sure to come in handy for many speech-language pathologists that work with elementary aged clients through first grade.  Basic Concepts Skills Screener provides invaluable information for program planning by offering two screening options: quick (30 items) and full (79 items).  I administered the full screening to my typically developing, nearly eight year old son who found the length of the assessment to be somewhat tedious and time consuming.  I would imagine that using this full screening with a child struggling to grasp these concepts might be too much initially, so you may want to use your own discretion and offer the shorter screening tool for your intake session.   Although, I did like hearing a pleasant sounding “ding” following picture selection, regardless of accuracy, which I would imagine encourages a client to continue answering items without feeling discouraged.

2Both quick and full screenings cover several basic concepts necessary for following directions and acquiring pre-reading and math readiness skills.  The client is presented with four colored pictures of objects and/or stick figure choices, and then is simultaneously shown and read a direction.  All questions include just one concept, thereby assessing knowledge at a single step level.  Some of the main concept categories include the following:

Comparative- big, bigger, biggest, same, different
Quantitative- equal, few, more, least
Spatial- on, in
Temporal- first, second, last

Probably the greatest feature of this app is the complete report that can be obtained within seconds of completing either screening.  Not only does it summarize results in paragraph form, but it also provides exact percentages for each of the above categories and age of acquisition for the concept groups.

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Here is what the developers have to say about Basic Concepts Skills Screener:

The Basic Concepts Skills Screener can be used to:

Collect information regarding an individual’s basic concept skills
Supplement data of a standardized language assessment
Measure treatment effectiveness and skill growth over time
Compare a student’s performance to students at same grade level
Help educators and clinician choose areas of skill development to target for Response to Intervention
Aid with determining how a student may perform on classroom assessments and outcomes
Aid in the determination of a language delay or disorder
Identify students who may be at risk for a learning disorder

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About the Author

NanetteCote_HeadshotNanette Cote, MA, CCC-SLP has her own speech-language practice, Therapediatrics. She is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist in Naperville, Illinois who was has been practicing Speech Pathology for close to two decades. Her blog, speech2me, was named one of the top Speech-Language blogs for 2012. For more information about this practitioner, please visit speech2me Blog or Facebook

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