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Why do I still use my mini-recorder in Speech?

I know that for many of us, we get to a point where we are internally diagnosing or assessing our communication partner’s speech or tongue posture.  For example, my husband (and initially my daughter) have a bit of a tongue thrust and it makes me want to reach over and snatch that tongue (only kidding… kind of).  When my daughter’s friends come over and speak with me, I am always analyzing their speech patterns (“Ahh.. she is still fronting and reducing consonant blends”).  It is enough to drive my husband crazy.  It is just part of me now.  With that being said, I still audio record.  This is why….

MY FOCUS IS MY CLIENT – I want all of my attention to be on the interaction with the child or adult in front of me.  If I am playing with a child to get a natural speech and language sample, obtaining a narrative from a teenager who stutters, or holding a conversation with an adult, I do not want to ruin the flow of the session, screening, or assessment by pulling my attention away to write down what they say.  First, I would find it incredibly rude as an adult if someone did that to me.  Secondly, it ruins the spontaneity of the moment.  It impacts the relationship and trust that I am building with my communication partner.

I JUST CAN’T CATCH IT ALL – I would like to think that I am pretty quick but I know if I do not record, I will miss things I am not even looking for. For example, I may be listening for articulation and phonology with a little friend and missing all of the language (vocabulary, verb tenses, adjectives, articles, etc..) that they are providing me.  I had one little come in with “limited language” and just overall difficult to understand.  I was playing with her on the floor and had out certain toys to get a wide variety of speech sampled.  My recorder was on while we played and I focused my attention to her.  When I went back to listen to the recording to evaluate her speech sample, I was amazed at the vast amount of language she used.  She was not “limited” by any means.  She had made amazing growth and we now needed on turning our attention on increasing her intelligibility. 

I CAN LISTEN AGAIN AND AGAIN –  Sometimes, I find that my ears are just plain wrong.  I can be speaking with one of my students and keep a general checklist in my head.  Such as, I heard part-word repetition, sound repetition, interjections, etc.. However, when I go to do a complete analysis of the speech sample, I will find that I missed some prolongations or revisions. Having the recorders on, allows me multiple opportunities to listen and make sure my analysis of the speech or language sample is accurate. 

I still use my old recorder as back up to my iPhone recorder.  I am not so trusting with technology and I would rather have a back up than to only use one mode to record and lose it all due to an error, malfunction, or a curious kiddo that likes to play with technology and accidentally turns it off (yes, I have had that happen a few too many times). When I am working with school age children, super curious preschoolers, or adults, I always inform them that I will be recording and why (for the kids, I explain that I’m just old and my ears do not work so well). I have never had any one object to my recording or ask too many questions. The free recorder app I have found the most success with is Voice Recorder by TapMedia Ltd.

There are some great apps that have built in recorders such as Little Bee’s Articulation Station Pro, Articulate It by Smarty Ears, and Outdoor Fun by Virtual Speech Center Inc. When the using an app that has the built in recorder, I use only one other recorder as an on going back up.  I just learned a long time ago that no matter how decent I think I am at catching what is said and how it is said, I just can not get it all.  To be able to provide details while progress monitoring, or evaluating I strongly suggest always having a back up and record.

Do you still use a recorder in Speech? If so, what do you use?

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