Teddy Talker: A Multi-sensory approach to Sound Acquisition REVIEW and GIVEAWAY

Several months ago, this cute, little teddy bear caught my eye on Instagram when some of my speech blogging peers shared an image of Teddy Talker™ for a giveaway.   I was intrigued enough to contact Creative Speech Products and request more information about the Teddy Talker™ product line.  Linda Siciliano was generous enough to provide me with some samples to review the program and she has been extremely helpful by advising me as I navigate the trenches with several of my young, private clients.  After reading this review, you will find a raffle for a Teach Together Toolkit of your very own!  One, lucky winner will receive a manual AND digital version as well thanks to Linda's generosity.  No other compensation was provided in exchange for this review and the opinions here are unbiasedly mine.

The Teddy Talker™ program is an innovative tool designed to promote phonics and early sound production in young children by stimulating auditory, visual, tactile, and kinesthetic learning.  Everything you need for this dynamic program can be found in the reproducible pages of the Teach Together Toolkit.  First and foremost, I decided to color, laminate, and Velcro a Teddy of my own to have on hand for sessions.  Next, I created folders for each client that included the following:

Background information about the program
Bear face and lips for coloring
Teddy's tongue, teeth, and paper bag
Teddy Talker™ Alphabet chart
Sound Assessment summary

I wanted to be sure that even the youngest client had some ownership for the program, which is why I told caregivers that scribbles or even a single line across the bear's face was permissible.  I did not instruct anyone to color in the lines, which meant no hand over hand or adult coloring was allowed, except for coloring in the lips.

The colored alphabet chart came from the resource section of the Toolkit.  I was fortunate enough to get a larger, laminated copy of this handy tool to use with one of my visually challenged clients.  I have been using the alphabet chart with all of my clients when introducing and reviewing sound targets by asking clients to find the target sound on the chart.

Each folder also contained a consonant and vowel checklist for baseline collection to establish targets for programming.  Getting this information was easy with my Bear Tracks card deck!  I was pretty impressed that all those participating in the inventory collection (ages 2.5 through 6 years) had great attention to this task!

My approach to using Teddy Talker™ With each client was to first identify a developmentally appropriate sound target, and then copy age appropriate tool pages from the manual for weekly practice.  There are two types of worksheets in the Toolkit:  target pages and generic tool pages.  For my purposes, I started with the target pages using the following:

Build and Say:  tells you which lips to Velcro onto Teddy's mouth and provides detailed sound cues
See and say:  focuses on Teddy's face
Trace and say:  introduces muscle memory for target letters with one inch, bold faced capital and lower case letters
Rhyme and say:  great rhymes describing how to make target sounds

Given the ability levels and ages of my clients, I did not incorporate the remaining target tool pages:  Write and Say and Do and Say.

As though that wasn't enough, the Toolkit includes another 13 generic tool pages to be used with any speech sound or phoneme!  Worksheets in this collection include activities for drawing, coloring, writing, touching, talking, and listening.  This comprehensive collection helps support a multi-sensory approach to sound acquisition.  Anything and everything that you need to stimulate articulation is within the pages of the Toolkit.

With clients folders assembled, I eagerly started introducing Teddy Talker™ to four of my private speech clients.  Each unanimously took to the cute, furry guy in an instance!  Let's take a closer look at the results after a couple weeks of practice.

T.M. is a 3 year old boy with limited speech sound productions, intact comprehension skills, and suspected verbal apraxia.  His sound productions include vowel distortions, consonant-vowel utterances, and reduced accuracy during imitation drills.  Mother reported that he is typically resistive to practicing sounds with her at home.  Once Teddy was colored, I laminated the bear face and lips and gave mom Velcro to assemble pieces at home.  Results of baseline sound assessment revealed several emerging targets.  We started with /b/ and quickly added /n/ after the first week.  I copied Build and Say, See and Say, and Rhyme and Say tool pages for home practice.  Mother reported ease of participation for daily, quick practice drills.  After the first week, the /b/ target was 100% accurate in isolation name prompting began to put this target in the initial position of simple sound combinations.

C.S is a 6 year old girl with reduced speech intelligibility and an educational diagnosis of autism.  She has been using a voice output device for over a year to augment her speech and make her needs known.  Part of our private sessions focuses on using visual and tactile prompts to address increasing accuracy of sound targets in isolation.  While she has made significant progress with productions on demand, she continues to demonstrate p/b confusion.  We began Teddy programming with /b/ as she struggles more with consistently producing this target accurately.  Progress has been slow, but steady over the last couple weeks, but I am hopeful that this programming will also help support development of her literacy skills and help this smart, little one become more successful in her academic setting.

M.S. is a 6 year old girl who is essentially non-verbal and has a diagnosis of autism. She recently obtained a voice output device and has already shown remarkable use of her device with minimal prompting.  Part of our private sessions has focused on improving her volitional control of non-speech oral motor skills in a bubble hierarchy program.  She has made great strides with sustaining appropriate breath support and lip rounding, but continues to struggle with isolated sound imitation.  Since baseline assessment could not be taken, we began with /m/ and /a/ targets to later support production of /mama./  This little one especially enjoyed coloring her Teddy face!  While her on demand imitation of /m/ was still a struggle, she was heard spontaneously making this sound minutes after prompting, which is a huge accomplishment for this client!  I especially like this program for this bright, little girl because it will support sound-letter recognition, early writing skills, and rhyme in addition to sound vocalizations.

S.B. is 2.5 year old boy with a mild articulation delay and above average comprehension skills.   After months of both speech and occupational therapy services, S.B. has gone from using less than 5 words at the age of two years old to speaking in 4-5 word sentences.  He has demonstrated some challenges with sound imitation on demand and continues to delete more than 75% of final consonant sounds.  Results of baseline assessment revealed achievement of the eight early consonants (m, b, y, n, w, d, p, h) and some of the middle consonants (t, k, g.)  He showed emergence of producing the following:  f, v, ch, but was not heard making the ng or dz targets.  He also had all vowels except for "oy". Our targets for his program will be ng, dz, and oy.  S.B. also enjoyed coloring his Teddy face and chose to give him a pick bow tie to match the beanie baby bear that he happened to have with him the day we introduced Teddy! 

I will leave you with pictures of some supplements in my speech materials collection that I have added to the program.  I believe that using a mix of materials will help generalize sound practice outside of the Teddy Talker program.  I hope that this review helped share more information about this relatively new, dynamic program created by a speech pathologist to make our lives easier!  Happy talking!!

A to Z Coloring pages purchased on TpT from
Lavinia Pop titled:  Letter of the Week
Free bear rhyme from my local library about body parts on a bear 
Target dollar spot puzzles and Good-Night Owl book.
Both of these include animal sounds.

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