Children with attention or auditory difficulties often struggle with school work. They can become easily distracted by sounds in their environment causing them to lose focus on the learning task.
The Toobaloo is an auditory feedback tool designed for children 4+. It is used to help students better focus and improve academic skills such as reading fluency and therapeutic skills such as articulation and pronunciation.
The Toobaloo has been used by children diagnosed with autism, speech disorders, dyslexia, and auditory processing disorder with much success.
I tested this tool with my son and he was immediately intrigued. The sound of his own giggles amplified through the Toobaloo amused him! It was a delight for me to witness that even a child with a hearing loss and a significant speech delay could use the Toobaloo. I share some of those tips in this post.
- 1 colored Toobaloo phone (variety of colors available)
- Option to purchase accompanying Toobaloo Headset – sold separately (makes using the Toobaloo hands-free)
Why the Toobaloo is a great tool for the child with special needs
- Helps a child improve reading skills by hearing the sound of his own voice loudly and clearly as he receives immediate auditory feedback.
- Drowns out background noise making it great for classroom-use or at home with siblings. Because a child can use a whisper voice, it also doesn’t disrupt others when in use.
- Motivating and fun way to get a reluctant reader to read.
- Lightweight and fits in the hand comfortably so that a child with fine motor difficulties can easily manipulate it.
- Made of break-resistant plastic so it’s safe to use with a child who tends to toss objects.
- Portable (can be used in the car, in a waiting room, etc.)
- Easy to clean (also dishwasher safe)
- The headset makes the Toobaloo hands-free so that a child can hold a book and focus on the task.
- Even a non-verbal child can benefit by producing exclamatory words or babble talk since it provides immediate feedback (which is important for verbal imitation.)
How to use the Toobaloo with the child with special needs
Below are suggestions for using the Toobaloo with a child who requires extra support.
1– Introduce as a telephone. Relate to a familiar household tool by using the Toobaloo as a telephone. Have the child repeat into the Toobaloo what you recite. Some ideas: “Hello,” “My name is … “ “I love you.” You can also have the child sing a familiar song. For the non-verbal child, have him imitate exclamatory words and sounds such as “Ooh!” or “Uh-uh” or other sounds he’s capable of producing. Fun fact: a silent child hears his own breath amplified by the Toobaloo which can encourage him to keep experimenting with it as a communication tool. The sound of his breath will bring awareness to his mouth which is a prerequisite to producing speech sounds.
2- Test out hands-free option. Show the child how the headset is similar to your headset or Bluetooth device by modeling it. Never force the headset on a child – gently test for preference instead. Some children tend to prefer one method of use to another. Some like to have control of the Toobaloo by holding it themselves. Some find the headset invasive (especially those with sensory issues). Others don’t mind wearing the headset at all. Always follow the child’s lead.
3- Use the Toobaloo to:
- Read aloud
- Recite a poem
- Sing a song
- Review spelling words
- Practice delivering a speech
- Recite math facts
- Practice speech sounds and pronunciation
- Practice social conventions like using a telephone and inviting a friend for a play date, etc.
- Encourage imaginative play (when used as a telephone in a play center)
Related Products Offered on Educents
- Toobaloo Headset – Transform any Toobaloo into a hands-free educational tool for even more learning inspired by fun! With their hands available kids can easily read, play and sing all while getting the auditory feedback they need to increase fluency and improve pronunciation.
- WhisperPhone Solo XL – Make learning fun for older children and adults! WhisperPhone offers voice amplification to promote learning while providing a discreet design for every-day use. The adult WhisperPhone is a great tool for speech training, literacy, vocal training, performing arts, and learning new languages.
- All Year Fluency Practice Grade 2 and Up! Bundle – This fluency bundle includes 7 fluency practice themed sets with 44 weekly sets of fluency cards to master both comprehension and fluency.
About the All-Star Blogger
Gabriella Volpe is a homeschooling mom of a child with special needs, a certified teacher, and the homeschool consultant for families of children with special needs. She helps parents find ways to modify the curriculum so they don’t have to spend hours figuring it out on their own. She also helps after-schooling families of children with special needs navigate their way around the homework hours. You can find her at www.GabriellaVolpe.com