I’m always looking for fun and creative ways to assess linguistically diverse individuals who may present with speech deficits. When it comes to standardized assessments, it can be tricky. Many individuals present with language difference that standardized assessments are not designed to detect. As a result, many individuals who are culturally linguistically diverse appear to have deficits when in reality, they just communicate using different language productions. Articulation assessments such as the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation are excellent for detecting speech sound disorders among monolingual students; however, I often find that they are difficult to use when assessing Spanish-speaking individuals.
Enter the Bilingual Articulation Phonology Assessment or the BAPA for short. Developed by Smarty Ears Apps, this app is extremely easy to use and efficient for speech therapists who work with individuals who present with articulation and phonological difficulties. While some may stand by the administration of standardized assessments on paper, over time with the support of empirical evidence, standardized assessment apps may just be the wave of the future for SLPs.
While looking into assessment apps, I immediately became intrigued by a demo provided by the developers. Now that I finally received the app and am able to review it (see below), I hope that this will help other SLPs looking for new assessment tools for Spanish-speaking individuals.
The BAPA was developed by Barbara Fernandes, Ellen Kester, Mary Bauman, and Scott Prath, and published by Smarty Ears. The BAPA can be used with individuals of all age groups. It is compatible with the iPad running iOS 5.1 or above.
Dialectal Difference Tool – This app can be customized depending on the individual’s dialect (i.e. Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, etc.), which is extraordinarily important when accurately assessing for speech sound disorders.
Familiar and Visually Appealing For All Ages – The objects featured in the app are beautiful, large, clear images of everyday objects. The images are far from dated.
Cost Effective – At $84.99, the BAPA is significantly cheaper than other standardized assessments.
Time Saver – The BAPA is convenient in that many portions of the test are automatically completed. For example, the chronological age is calculated when the date of birth is added to the individual’s information. A detailed report is generated with the findings of the assessment, which can be modified to further customize the results. The “preview results” section shows all errors, including specific types (deletion, fronting, devoicing, vocalization, etc.) as well as the position, manner, voicing difficulties. The examinee also produces multisyllabic words during the assessment (i.e. refrigerator) which are also scored accordingly.
Organized – There is an option to record each audio production of a word using a built-in voice recorder and it is neatly organized under the “preview recordings” tab, once the assessment is complete. If the examiner discovers that there is an error upon review of the recordings, the examiner can go back into the assessment and edit it as needed.
Environmentally Friendly – No more paper copies lying around, as all of the information is available electronically. The results can be shared via email or immediately printed, if a paper copy is necessary.
Lack of Evidence Based Practice (EBP) – Because this is a new method of assessment, there is minimal empirical evidence which documents the effectiveness of the BAPA as an assessment tool for monolingual and bilingual individuals with speech sound disorders. Assessment instruments often undergo systematic review where they are measured for the ability to demonstrate reliability, validity and normative data over time. I am confident that research will improve regarding the use of standardized assessment apps as they become a widely accepted assessment tool.
Overall, I highly recommend this app for the speech and language assessment “toolbox.”
Note: While the BAPA app developers were kind enough to donate this app, the opinions expressed during this review are my own. It is important to note that, in addition to the BAPA app, dynamic assessment is also needed in order to determine speech and language difference versus disorder among multilingual individuals.
Please visit Smarty Ears Apps for more information on the BAPA.
Top Photo: Smartyearsapps.com