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.
I'm Devin's Dad
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Devin's Speech Project - The Technical Stuff:
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 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 email@example.com
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.