ELR Software produces a range of computer programs designed by speech pathologists for speech, language & literacy intervention. Our programs may be used interactively within therapy sessions, to increase efficiency in service delivery, and to improve access to the Internet for people with special needs. We are also available as consultants to clinicians and research projects in the fields of literacy and accessibility issues associated with the Internet.
The aim of this newsletter is to inform you of developments and changes to our major products eLr (Extra Language Resources), Rude Readers, Word Meanings and EIA (Enhancing Internet Access). We welcome the opportunity for feedback and questions, and will be pleased to consider including reader contributions and announcements.
This Newsletter (and previous editions) is available online at www.elr.com.au/news and an email version is sent monthly to members of our mailing list (See Subscribing/Unsubscribing).
In this issue -
Development this month has centered on finalizing eLr-Guest, a new way of of providing home practice tasks for those clients who don't have easy web access to the free online "Guest" mechanism.
The eLr website has always offered "Registered User" access for subscribers, and a simple way of providing free "Guest" access for their clients. eLr-Offline, a CD based version of the website was developed to allow subscribers to run eLr from their own or other computers without needing any internet connection. eLr-Guest now extends this "non-internet" mechanism to your clients.
This new mechanism replaces our earlier concept of providing an "Affiliate" subscription. To clarify the differences between the different forms of eLr access, please see www.elr.com.au/support/elr_matrix.htm.
eLr-Guest is virtually identical to eLr-Offline. Same mini-CD, very similar appearance, installation and so on. The difference is that it only allows "Guest" access, and we (ELR Software) are not supplying it directly to end users. Subscribers will be able to purchase these CD's which have the same User ID and Expiry date as your current eLr-Offline. You could then lend (perhaps with a refundable deposit), give, or even sell (if you wish) your eLr-Guest CD to your clients (eg families, schools etc) to take home and install on their computer.
The eLr-Guest CD's cost $50 each (same price as additional eLr-Offline) and if more than 3 of either/both are purchased there is a sliding scale discount (see www.elr.com.au/offline/discount.htm). Six-monthly updates for your eLr-Guest CD's will be included with the usual eLr-Offline mailing. The new order form contains options to purchase these CD's, so new and renewing subscribers may include this in their order. Current subscribers should contact us if interested. There will be a pro-rata price reduction for the current year.
A revised version of Word Meanings (ver 1.3.03) has been released to correct some further technical issues which prevented the program working properly for some users. If you have bought the program, and find it's not working properly eg spoken instructions are not playing, contact us for a replacement. The eLr-Offline and eLr-Guest CD's also contain the "Trialware" version of the Word for you to explore. Please visit our web site www.elr.com.au/meanings for more information, or to download the new version for a trial.
A special thanks to those who helped test these changes at various stages.
If you think cuddling a crocodile is a bit alarming, then that's the worst it gets in Found By Me (Volume 5, Number 1). Four pets - kitten, puppy, chicken, crocodile - are found and looked after, fed and cuddled by the child. The main teaching point is contrasting active and passive sentences. "I found a kitten / I found it / It was found by me". The use of a pronouns to link the story across the separate sentences is also practised. So too is the change from "a kitten" to "the kitten" - switching from indefinite to definite determiners as the story continues. The vocabulary is small - 19 words in all, and the syntax at LARSP Stage III, except for the passive which is the only LARSP IV structure. This Rude Reader is almost too nice - but there's a possible crunch at the end!
As an occasional feature of this Newsletter, we include simple, unpaid announcements of products developed by other small, independent developers, who, like ourselves, are practising clinicians who have put their ideas and experience into resource materials for general distribution. A link to these sites has been established at www.elr.com.au/links/developers.htm. If you would like your materials listed on this page (at no charge), please contact us.
This month we're pleased to let you know of PELICAN TALK Speech Therapy Resources at www.pelicantalk.com. Created by speech pathologist Lucia Smith, these resource materials are provided on a CD-ROM to make session preparation easy, and so that you, as the parent, teacher or speech-language therapist, can keep speech and language practice interesting. The main products include The Speech Sound Set, Motormouth, The Speech Vowel Set, Monkey Sounds- Teaching Short Vowels in the Early Years, Fun with Sequences and I Can Say S Clusters
The best selling resource is The Speech Sound Set, a set of 27 sound pictures that represent all the consonant sounds of English (plus three bonus vowel phonemes.) It is used in speech pathology, schools and preschools, to stimulate sounds in speech and develop sound awareness for pre-literacy and early literacy skills. It features a set of characters with mouthshapes that reflect the mouthshape required to make the sound. The pictures are on CD-ROM and can be inserted into documents re-sized, and so on, like Clip-Art! View them as a slideshow, print out as flashcards or colour-ins. The Speech Vowel Set is great for children with verbal dyspraxia and for those who just can't get their vowels correct in spelling and reading.
Look for the PELICAN TALK Speech Therapy Resources stand at the Speech Pathology Australia National Conference next week.
We've been stimulated to put in this item because we felt others may be interested in my (Toni) experiences using a Digital Voice Recorder in my clinical work. I had looked at these things some time ago, and finally this year decided to give it a go. I have been so impressed with the quality of the sound, and the fact that it allows me to "recapture" the nature of the client when I sit down to write an assessment report. The device weighs about 50 grams, 107mm (4 inches) long and 30mm (1 inch) wide and has a built in microphone, so it can be put beside you as you play with younger children, or placed on the table as you interact with older clients. Even with pretty active young children, I've been able to keep moving it around the room and still get such good quality speech that I can even hear articulation errors.
Digital Voice Recorders range in price (up to $700 or $800), but I selected a low end brand MyVoice DMR-1635 (around $212) with a large memory (128MB) which can store up to 9 hours in "High Quality" mode, and have been very happy with its performance. It's pretty simple to work (once you translate the humorous errors in the English translation of the instruction manual). It has many of the same controls that tape recorders have (play, stop, record etc). Other controls let you manage the recorded files it's saved in 3 "folders" with up to 99 files in each.
The main thing you have to learn is to use the software included to copy the sound files onto your computer. That involves moving them to the folder of your selection on the computer, renaming the file, and you're set to go. A great thing is that it's easy to save the file in MP3 format and include it with the client file on my laptop.computer for re-play at any time. I've never been good at looking after tapes, so this means I never have to catalogue tapes again. The files are also directly in a computer format and quite small. I could store approximately 44 hours of recording on a single CD if I need to.
I've had two heartaches. One where I mistakenly deleted a recording of a difficult paediatric assessment session, and the other where a young boy on the Autism Spectrum took a liking to the technology, picked it up, and with a couple of flicks managed to delete everything. I still don't know what he did, but I would suggest that reactions to these novel techno devices may be diagnostically significant.
ELR has a number of free or evaluation files available for downloading directly from our website. Please see www.elr.com.au/downloads.htm for specific details. For other supporting materials and documents available for free download, please see www.elr.com.au/support.htm.
Speech Pathology Australia National Conference, May 29th - June 2nd, Canberra. We will have a commercial stand during the conference with eLr, Rude Readers, Word Meanings and EIA on show.
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