I’m lucky enough to own a full-set of speech therapy tools made by Speech Buddies. I have used them on selected students and I think they work well, especially on single sound articulation cases. In case you are on the fence about purchasing and using Speech Buddies, I want to describe my experience with them.
The Speech Buddies provide tactile input to students who require placement cues to accurately produce a speech sound. Tools have been developed for all of the most difficult speech sounds in English: R, L, CH, S, and SH.
Last year, I was able to successfully treat a monolingual English speaking student how to produce SH correctly (SH is a sound that does not exist in Spanish). The student had been lateralizing SH. The SH Speech Buddy gave the student the tactile cue to produce SH in isolation without letting air escape out the sides of the tongue (lateralizing). I have since left that position, but before I left, the student had progressed to production of SH at the word level, initial and final position without lateralizing and without needing the speech buddy.
That particular student felt confident using the speech buddy in therapy with other students present. Before I started using it in therapy, I talked to the parent and showed the parent the speech buddy. Other students have felt self-conscious to the point that they don’t want to put something in their mouth to practice a sound. Many kids have tactile defensiveness so this product would not be right for them.
I had success with another student who could not differentiate between CH and SH, producing a SH for CH. The speech buddy was able to show how to produce a CH in isolation. That student was unable to take that production into words, but therapy had only just begun. I should note that that particular student had other challenges, so progress would be slower.
Clients that I decided not to use the speech buddies included clients with multiple sound errors consistent with apraxia and students who were Spanish-dominant. My kiddos with apraxia show deficits with motor-planning, which means that they struggle coordinating their muscles, lips, and tongue to sequence sounds. They often have many sounds, but they don’t use them consistently when they attempt longer utterances. So, it’s not an issue of learning the placement, which speech buddies assists with.
Additionally, my Spanish-speaking kiddos didn’t use the speech buddy tools because they have deficits in either sounds that don’t exist in English (the Spanish r and “rr” — no tools for that to my knowledge). Or, for a Spanish-speaking kiddo I have been working with on CH, he was stimulable for the sound without explicit placement cues. So once he could do it in isolation, we just moved up the hierarchy to syllables, words, sentences, and now he has a great CH in conversation. Again, no need for placement cues.
Speech Buddies are perfect and successful for kiddos with single sound speech errors (more than one sound are probably okay, but no kiddos with apraxia) and errors that have been stubbornly resistant that might need a new approach.
Feel free to ask my any additional questions about speech buddies. You can also check out their website: Speech Buddies where they have lots of videos about the use of Speech Buddies.
If you are interested in purchasing Speech Buddies, if you click through my referral link on the blog, you can save $15.
What do you think of speech tools, in general?
Opinions expressed in this review are my own. Product used in this review is my own and not provided by the company.