With Autistic children, there is no shortage of therapies thrown at you and often shoved down your throat, but one that I’ve found incredibly helpful for my Autistic kids is speech therapy.
Empowering Autistic communication is *so* important, and giving our kids the tools they need to communicate doesn’t always come naturally.
But speech therapy just isn’t always accessible to families with Autistic kids for tons of reasons. Maybe:
- it’s not available in their area
- there’s years-long waiting lists
- the costs make it inaccessible
- the only speech therapy available is full of therapy red-flags
Or maybe your child is IN speech therapy, but you aren’t sure what to do outside of the once a week 45 minute session to support their communication development.
That’s where at-home speech options come in, and I was recently given the opportunity to try the SAGO Mini First Words App, and today I’m sharing my review!
This post is a sponsored review of the SAGO Mini First Words App in partnership with Otismo. I was provided the app for free to try out with my family and paid for my time. I was not paid to provide a *positive* review, and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
We Tried the SAGO Mini First Words App – Here’s Our Review!
If we haven’t met before, Hey, friend, I’m Kaylene.
I am a mom of six neurodivergent kids, I’m an autistic advocate, and I’m a parent coach. I have helped hundreds of parents just like you parent their autistic children with ease through my communities, my courses, and my Embracing Autism Accelerator program.
If you count my blog, my page, and my free communities it is up in the hundreds of thousands of parents that I’ve helped drop the “autism mom” label and become the parent-advocate their Autistic child needs.
You can learn more by clicking here and applying for the Embracing Autism Accelerator program!
What is the SAGO Mini First Words App
First, let’s get clear on what the SAGO Mini First Words App is because it isn’t speech therapy, but it can provide significant help if speech therapy isn’t accessbile.
SAGO Mini First Words is an app that was developed and designed with speech-language pathologists to help boost your child’s communication skills.
It does this through learning games, skill-building practice, and a few other things we’ll get to in the next section.
While it is designed to boost *communication* skills, I would tweak that and say that it really boosts *verbal communication* skills.
The app focuses on speech skills like articulation and pronunciation, and it does not include things like picture communication or ASL for non-speaking communicators.
How the SAGO Mini First Words App Works
There are skill-specific levels so that your child can work on and master certain sounds and words as their speech progresses.
These levels include practicing the sounds and different puzzles or games along a roadmap, so it feels more like playing a video game than “practicing” a skill.
You can also choose topical mini-games (these were some of our favorites!) with topics like family, vehicles, and animals.
Just like the levels, you practice different words along with playing different puzzles and games to keep it really fun.
Everything has peer examples, which means there’s a child (not a stuffy speech therapist) showing your child how to say the word or make the sound.
The app also uses your microphone and camera to evaluate your child’s progress.
So the first time your child practices, it will use the microphone to listen for your child to repeat the sound a certain number of times.
Then the second time your child practices, it will actually use the camera (selfie-style) so your child can see themselves making the proper mouth movements.
Our Experience With the SAGO Mini First Words App
We used the SAGO Mini First Words app primarily with my Autistic 4 year old Sweet C, though 2 year old J-bird joined in here and there as well.
Both of these girls have verbal speech. Sweet C has a speech delay, genetic disorder, and a global developmental delay in addition to being Autistic, and J-Bird is 2 and doesn’t have any official diagnoses yet.
I’m not going to lie, they both really loved it. They didn’t really even know that it was “building skills”, they just thought it was super fun to play with.
Sweet C actually asked if she could use it during “tech time” and not just during our school time.
So here are the things we loved about the SAGO Mini First Words App:
- The games were actually doable for my Autistic preschooler
- There was solid representation in the peer speech examples
- My kids thought the games were actually fun
- The selfies at the end of every skill were their FAVORITE part
- The games are “error-free”, so they wait for you to be successful
Here’s what I didn’t love about the SAGO Mini First Words App:
- There’s no easy way to see all the words/skills the kids have done
- The focus is put solely on verbal communication
- Some games weren’t doable for my tech-savvy toddler
- The skills were all focused on pronunciation & articulation
Final Thoughts on SAGO Mini First Words App
Honestly, I think that this app is a great one to try if you have a child who struggles with pronunciation or articulation like Sweet C does.
She freaking loves it, and actually cried when it was time to put it away before I came into my office to write this post today.
The games are fun, the speech skill practice is sound, and you can’t beat getting a bunch of silly selfies of your kids on your iPad!
We are making the SAGO Mini First Words app a regular part of our homeschool routine moving forward.
Click here to check out the SAGO Mini First Words App and try it for free.