Saturday, June 15, 2013

Devin’s Speech Project - Overview and practice.

While there are no actual instructions for this program, I can share a bit about the program and how Devin and I use it. We hope you and your child find similar successes. The project is not intended to replace interactions with a qualified speech pathologist or speech therapist. If your child is having difficult speaking you need to speak with a qualified professional if you are able. The project is designed to give parents whose children are struggling with speech an additional tool to help these kids.

I didn’t even start this project until late January or early February of 2013. Devin was "diagnosed" in late 2012. For a long time we were in denial about what was going on with him, we were thinking kids just learn to talk at different paces.

Around this time, I had received from work a free android tablet that I did not know what to do with. I decided to use the tablet to augment his speech therapy. We used a number of programs both pay and free. Quick Artic was among the best we used but I soon felt I could personally do better than their program. I created a few slides to further support what we were doing with the other programs. I started out with 10 slides for F and hard E; these were two sounds he really struggled with. Devin's brother's name is Ethan but he could not say his name, he called him ach-cha or hotshot. Devin liked my slides better and wanted to do them again and again and not the other tools, so I added more and more slides. After about 2 weeks or so he said "E"than. I knew I had something good - I knew I had to make this project. I expanded each letter from 10 to 15 to eventually 25 slides to immerse him in each sound.

You just have to try to make it fun for the child.

While not every slide is animated many are and this helps retain the child's interest. The slides with animations occur at random times and the pictures are also engaging to the concept and the sound.  Devin and I spend hours on working on letters, and he makes up stories and often asks a lot of questions.  Sometimes we use the computer or laptop, but we often work on the tablet, where the animations do not work on because they require adobe flash player. Devin does not seem to mind the animations not being part of the program and actually remembers if the slide was or was not animated. If possible I would recommend introducing the programs to the child with the animations at first if possible. I try hard to have the animations look good as stand alone photos for use on tablets. We usually do three letters at a time sometime more in a day. On each slide I make the sound we are working on first like (CH) or (ST) etc, then I say the word for that slide, I ask him to try to say the word, and then I give positive feedback for the effort and read the sentence.  I have seen a profound impact

The key to Devin's success using the project is keeping him engaged; we give high fives or fist bumps for the good tries and for the words and sounds he improves on. He makes up stories about the slides and asks a ton of questions, I encourage this and answer every question to help feed the imagination. I do anything to keep him talking and keep him trying. We go at his pace and first sign of losing attention I ask if he wants to stop. I never make it something we have to do. Usually we will get through three sounds at a time.

Everyone around Devin has noticed the effects of this effort. He uses words and language from the program. He has shown improvement and even mastered some sounds. While there is still work to do and areas we can look to improve, his progress has been phenomenal. I cannot promise you will see similar results with your child but I suspect it can help a lot of kids struggling in this area. All of the feedback we have received from parents and speech therapists has been positive.

If you have an idea for the project or feedback on it please contact me. We are constantly attempting to improve the content of the program. We also would love to hear about your child’s experiences with the program as it helps improve the project.

Michael Ramsdell
I'm Devin's Dad

Email at:

Devin's Speech Project - The Technical Stuff:

Adobe Flashplayer:

The animations in the project will not run unless you have Adobe Flashplayer or some equivalent.
On my android tablet they did not run but on our computers they did. The experience is better with the animations, and it would be better to keep the child engaged.  This was never a deal breaker with Devin.

Adobe Flashplayer can be downloaded here for Windows's P.C. (free).


The project was created for and with Dropbox. You can sign up using the link below, if you install Dropbox on your computer, will get an additional bonus space of 500 MB. So will Devin's Speech Project. This will be helpful for the project when as it begins to add speech to the project which will have larger file sizes.

If you are not already a Dropbox user, please consider signing up by clicking here.

Update: September 2014

There have been recent upgrades to Dropbox. The new version of Dropbox opens up the presentations in a preview mode which does not format to the screen of some tablets and computers correctly. While in this preview mode there is an "open with" option which you can use to open the presentations in PowerPoint, Kingsoft  or other presentation software.

I wish there was a way to disable the preview mode in Dropbox but as of now there is not. I am contacting Dropbox to express my unhappiness. I don't know of any other work around at this point. This does not effect Google Drive and I may look for other ways to share the project. I will keep you updated.

To view or download Devin's Speech Project presentations at Dropbox (Click Here)

Google Drive:

Google Drive is a similar service to Dropbox. We have put the Google Drive link back up due to some recent issues with Dropbox. Dropbox is still easier for most people.

To download Devin's Speech Project using Google Drive (Click Here)


Box is another file sharing site that is quickly becoming one of the best on the internet. We have not had any issues on yet.  You will still need a presentation program to properly run the project. Which is why we recommend either PowerPoint (part of Microsoft Office) or Kingsoft Presentation(Freeware).

Devin's Speech Project's presentations now available on Box (Click Here) 


The goal of Devin's Speech Project is to be totally free. The best way to use the project still is to download the files and run in Excel or an equivalent like Kingsoft. The presentations were created and run on Kingsoft's Presentation Freeware but should run on any application that supports PowerPoint files. We would recommend Kingsoft's Presentation freeware given its price if you do not have Microsoft Office. The program can be viewed best as pictures or presentations with animations in a PowerPoint viewer via Dropbox. They can be downloaded to any computer, laptop or tablet for a much better viewing experience. To see the animations that are in the project, the presentation files will have to be downloaded and played in a device that supports PowerPoint files and has Adobe Flashplayer.

Kingsoft's Presentation Freeware can be for free downloaded here.

Kingsoft Office is now available for Apple products for free at this page.

Note to Apple users:

A few people have had issues with the I-pad and the I-phone, while most others have not. We saw an I-pad that was playing the animations correctly but the presentation was cut off at the bottom. The animations seem to generally work on I-pads with adobe flash-player installed.  If anyone can help with the easiest and most correct way to view this a presentation program using apple products, please share your best practices.  We use P.C. and Android tablet, and this works great on both, we can't really help so much with Apple stuff.  Still, by the numbers we get, 51% of users are on a Apple platform.  So many Apple users are using this project, which means people are figuring it out.  Maybe someone can send us some pointers.  Please send help to the e-mail address above.

Always feel free to e-mail us at

Examples of the project are below:


Everything in the presentations was put together using freeware and was focused on images and animations from open source and free public sites. This is because we want to make the project available for free. Every effort has been taken to respect copyrights and an artist's wishes. Thousands of images and animations were searched to find the ones that were used. It is a credit to the Internet and free speech that so many images were available. The ones that we picked were superior in conveying the concept for the word and sound trying to be taught.

Due to the nature of the internet, it is possible and perhaps highly likely that an image or animation in this project may be subject to copyright. To any artist, photographer, or animator whose work is here and does not want it to be part of the program to help kids with speech issues, please email the contact address and your image will be removed. We sincerely apologize ahead of time and only chose your work because it was the best at expressing the idea we were looking for. There are several alternate images for every slide in this project. No profit is being made from the project and the goal from inception has been to keep the effort available to kids and parents for free.


Friday, June 07, 2013

Books, Articles and Other Resources

Speaking of Apraxia: A Parents' Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech
By Leslie A. Lindsay.

At last, a parents' guide to understanding, treating, and living with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). Written in an empathic style by a parent who "has been there", Speaking of Apraxia offers hope and practical advice for parents of toddlers to teens with this neurologically-based motor speech disorder. Characterized by difficulties with planning and producing the complex set of movements necessary for intelligible speech, CAS can be a child's only diagnosis or can be accompanied by other special needs such as learning disabilities, Down syndrome, or autism.

Parents and professionals will appreciate the author's clear explanations of everything from diagnosing CAS and working with speech-language pathologists (SLPs), to understanding how to distinguish it from other speech disorders, and getting appropriate early intervention and special education support.

Available at Amazon - Click here

The Late Talker: What to Do If Your Child Isn't Talking Yet
By Marylin C. Agin, Lisa F. Geng and Malcolm Nicholl.

Every parent eagerly awaits the day his or her child will speak for the first time. For millions of mothers and fathers, however, anticipation turns to anxiety when those initial, all-important words are a long time coming. Many worried parents are reassured that their child is "just a late talker," but unfortunately, that is not always the case. Balanced with a mother's perspective and an acclaimed doctor's experience, this book gives parents advice on:

*Finding the right therapy and therapist
*Negotiating with school boards, teachers, and language specialists
*Speech exercises to do at home with a child.

The Late Talker is the first book of its kind, providing effective, practical answers to the questions every concerned parent asks.

Available at Amazon - Click here

Why Dylan Doesn't Talk: A Real-Life Look at Selective Mutism Through the Eyes of a Child.
by Carrie Bryson (Author), Dylan Bryson (Author)

In this book you will meet Dylan, a smart, energetic 7-year-old who shares what it's like to be a child with Selective Mutism. Follow him as he tells his story and his struggles so that other children, parents, teachers and caregivers can understand what it's like to live with a fear of speaking. Why Dylan Doesn't Talk sensitively portrays the internal struggle and isolation that a child with this rare disorder endures on a daily basis. The photographs and text beautifully complement each other to help young readers vividly identify with the author’s son, Dylan. Inspired by a need to find ways to communicate with her child, the author has written an excellent book that is both informative and therapeutic for children and their parents.

An invaluable resource for teachers and mental health professionals. An excellent resource filled with questions to help children and parents communicate and to better help them discuss this sensitive topic that may otherwise be hard for children to express on their own.

Available  at Amazon - Click here:

Can I tell you about Selective Mutism?: A guide for friends, family and professionals.
by Alison Wintgens (Author), Maggie Johnson (Author), Robyn Gallow (Illustrator)

Meet Hannah - a young girl with selective mutism (SM). Hannah invites readers to learn about selective mutism from her perspective, helping them to understand what it is, what it feels like to have SM, and how they can help. This illustrated book is packed with accessible information and will be an ideal introduction to selective mutism. It shows family, friends and teachers how they can support a child with the condition and is also a good place to start when encouraging children with SM to talk about how it affects them.

Available at Amazon - Click here:

Drifting in and out of my Two Worlds
by Jessica Thorpe (Author)

Drifting in and out of my Two Worlds follows the fascinating journey of a girl with the anxiety disorder, Selective Mutism. Based on a true story and written in the first-hand knowledge of a sufferer who overcome Selective Mutism, it is a unique story which will grip readers from all audiences.

The story highlights the stark contrasts between her lives within and without of the school grounds, the nation’s incredible ignorance towards the disorder, how to deal with selective mutism, and the harrowing consequences of it being left untreated.

Captivate yourself with the distressing twists of bullying throughout the years, a near-death experience, how she spoke in front of hundreds of people whilst entrenched with the mutism, and how she, being the only person in the knowledge of her disorder, spoke out about it to a teacher.

As well as an engaging read, it is therapeutic, most informative and of great interest when understanding the difficulties children are faced with when they have an actual fear of speaking.

Available at Amazon - Click here

Giving Kids a Voice with Dr. Annie Simpson -- Selective Mutism

Selective Mutism is not shyness and this is why we have posted this video from You-tube. This particular video about Selective Mutism is from Dr. Anne Simpson is over one hour long and is fairly high level. We are always looking for other things to share other free resources and tools. If you have a video or other resource that can be shared with others please let us know.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Devin's Speech Project - Comments & Feedback

Re: Devin's Speech Project

WOW!!!! Your child is only 3 and you put together ALL THIS ALREADY?!!! Do you sleep?!!! I'm literally amazed by the wealth of information you shared Michael on that drop box. The love you have for your child shines through!!!

Thank you so much for all you've done to help your son and others, and for sharing here. Please also join our public group as well to share this on facebook or let me know if you want me to share it there for you. I'm not an SLP but there are SLPs here and there who can probably help with your awesome project. At least I'd love for them to jump in with suggestions.

About insurance claims being turned down as you wrote- I can totally help with that- please see this link and also check out documents I have on this page which can help with IEPs etc.
Again -WOW!!!! If you didn't check this site out- big time you should!!!!


Lisa Geng

President CHERAB Foundation
Communication Help, Education, Research, Apraxia Base
"Help give our cherubs a smile and a voice"

Thanks, this is a great project!

(Disclosure: I am a speech therapist.)

Another difference between your picture cards and what you might find in a traditional speech therapy product is that you have included vowel sounds. Kids with more typical articulation and phonological disorders tend to have trouble with consonants only, but apraxic kids often have trouble with consonant and vowel sounds.

For future extensions, you might consider adding words with the target sound in medial and final position. Some kids have an easier time producing the target sound if it's in the middle or at the end of a word. So your words for the k sound (focusing on the sound, not the letter) might include e.g.

cup (initial position)

pocket (medial position)

book (final position)

It is highly annoying that insurance can be so stingy when it comes to relatively cheap, but very effective interventions like speech, occupational, and physical therapy, while they throw away millions on ridiculous, expensive surgical procedures that have not even been proven effective.

I'm glad Devin qualified for early intervention - does a speech therapist come to his class to work with the kids?

by Leap Year on Sat May 04, 2013 at 11:48:52 PM EDT

Thank you from this Speech Therapist!

It took some doing, as I work from a Mac, but I was able to download the program. I am excited to share this information with the parents of children I work with :-)

I work with children ages 3-5 in the education part of Early Intervention. In PA, cuts continue to be made in the Department of Education; so we are gaining larger caseloads and fewer staff. In addition, children that might have qualified for speech therapy services on diagnosis of apraxia alone, now must meet strict evaluation scoring guidelines to qualify for services. Even if children are not intelligible in conversation/play or children are showing frustration in speaking, if they do not meet the scoring guidelines they do not qualify for speech therapy.

I see many young ones with apraxia and have seen the hard work that these wee ones do to make connections between what is in their head and what comes out of their mouth. Your presentations will be a wonderful addition to my work with children.

I truly appreciate what you've done and made available for children and their families! Thank you, again!

Peace, Hope, Faith, Love

by mapamp on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:13:44 PM EDT

From: Chrislyn Yeoh [mailto:chrislynyeoh@]
Sent: Friday, May 17, 2013 3:48 AM
Subject: Thank you for sharing

Hi Michael

Hope this note finds you well.

I came across your blog when i was searching for more info on CAS.

I have a soon to be 3 year old son (Ethan is born in July 2010) who is highly probable of having CAS. i am saying such as he is not formally diagnosed as such yet but our recent visit to a speech therapist is telling us he is very highly likely to be one. Like Devin, tests have shown that Ethan has no hearing issues and his understanding and comprehension is above his age yet speech wise he is very far behind. He knows what to say but is unable to produce the sounds required.

Like every parent that have a child of such, we are feeling sad ,worried and confused at this stage and begin to turn to the web to find more info and support to help our son. Btw we are from Malaysia and being in a developing country, we are very far behind in areas like this. The waiting list to see the developmental pediatrician here is indefinite even though it is private. We are still waiting to see one scheduled in Oct for an appointment we made in Aug last year.

I stumbled upon your blog when surfing and I am drawing strength from your experience and attitude. I know our journey is going to be long. I just want to say thank you for sharing the slides and story. We will try on Ethan definitely. We will continue to be a visitor of your blog and continue to learn more from you with your experiences with Devin.

Thank you again.


-----Original Message-----

From: Jodie Lucci [mailto:jodieLL@]
Sent: Saturday, May 18, 2013 1:22 PM

Subject: Re: [Latetalkers] Devin's Speech Project

Thank you. Those are very clever and must have taken you a long time to create. My son is 12 and also has apraxia and selective mutism. He has been intelligible to us since age 10 but others still have a hard time, if the conversation is not concrete and in the present. I tried the x slides with him and he was not turned off, the pictures were engaging and the sentences not too easy. He was able to read them. A few years ago he would have been repeating them.

Is this something you would like us to share with our speech therapists or just other parents?


spearanta •

Posted 05/23/2013

Thank you for sharing. This is great. My daughter is almost four as well. She was dx with apraxia of speech when she was three. We had intensive speech last year, three times a week (during the summer she had ST 4-5 times a week) and I also worked with her at home. At 34 months she had 2 words mama and dada. Now she uses 3-4 word phrases spontaneously and she will be discharged from speech (scored 85 on the preschool standardized test for auditory, articulation and expressive language.) I was looking for something scripted so I can practice with her at home. I want to thank you again for sharing. This will work really well.

DD- born on 10/01/2009, GDD, FTT, Apraxia dx ( as of August 1st)

-----Original Message-----

From: Tanja [mailto:twosonsinc@]
Sent: Saturday, May 25, 2013 11:52 AM
Subject: Re: Suggestions for Phonics and learning to read

Wow! I've been on this board for over 8 years and this just shows that some parents will go to great lengths to help their child. Good for you! You deserve a pat on the back.

My soon-to-be 10yr old boy has ASD and apraxia and like you we work hard every day to help him.
I just wish I were technically inclined line you:)


From: sassmail@
Sent: Wednesday, May 29, 2013 3:29 PM
Subject: thank you for devin's project

Dear Michael,

Thank you so much for your work. My granddaughter Sophia has a speech difficulty that doesn't seem to fall into any typical category like apraxia or autism.

She is 2 1/2 and very speech delayed so we sing the sound and names of the simpler nouns to her-- e.g. b-b-bee --and she really likes it and she likes to try to say the words

Your project is so great because there are many examples for one sound.... they say most great ideas are simple and that simple repetition of one sound like b or c has really helped my daughter and I bet it helps many others too.

Anyway I just wanted to thank you. Your sharing and generosity are exceptional and you have made a difference for us.

Susan Steiner .

Re: Devin's Speech Project

My son was very recently diagnosed with Speech Apraxia. It has been a bit overwhelming for my wife and I. I have only scratched the surface of what you have offered here, and I really appreciate you sharing it, it has been one of the best references we have found yet. THANK YOU.

Eric Williams

June 6, 2013 5:53 PM
Selective Mutism Awareness (Discussion)

Re: Devin's Speech Project

Hi Michael,

I found you on FB through a search for Selective Mutism. Our 7 year old daughter has SM. Why I am writing though is to tell you that our 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech at age 2. We could always tell she was very bright. Even during the initial years she would follow multi-part directions like a child much older. So, although she had no speech I knew ( in my heart anyway) that one day she would be fine. Fast forward to age 6 and first grade-Christmas Vacation-she had a language burst where she suddenly started talking. Her articulation though not perfect was understandable. Her speech was fast and pressured like she had had words waiting a long time to come out. Fast forward to now. She is 12 years old....and although somewhat shy her speech is normal. She is profoundly gifted with an IQ of 160. She has a gifted and talented IEP and is high achieving in both math and written word. Way back when I would have never known she would turn out on

To view or download Devin's Speech Project presentations at Dropbox (Click Here)