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Introducing Speakaboo

Speech development screening in multilingual children by a non-native speaker


Introducing Speakaboo

Speech development screening in multilingual children by a non-native speaker

Speakaboo is a tool that allows a speech therapist to screen the speech development of a multilingual child in its mother tongue in only 10 minutes. A speech language therapist or interpreter can use Speakaboo to elicit target words with the help of small interactive games.

Speakaboo can be used with children aged 3-6 years. The program includes additional tools to help speech language therapists assess speech production in single words in languages not spoken by the therapist. 

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Why Speakaboo

Why Speakaboo

How is a child’s speech development in the home language progressing?

Does the child show difficulties learning a second language, or is a speech sound disorder in one or both languages indicated?

Screening with Speakaboo helps answer these questions. If the child is dominant in the home language, using Speakaboo is an efficient way to start assessing the child’s speech in that language.

Speakaboo helps to form a first idea of a possible disorder in addition to providing an impression of the productive vocabulary in the home language.

If the child shows difficulty in the pronunciation of speech sounds in the first language, the speech language therapist is provided with verifiable information that not just the acquisition of the second language may be delayed, but the development of the first language demonstrably shows problems. This information can help parents or health insurance companies decide on the need for speech therapy.

Speakaboo can be used wherever speech therapists assess multilingual children with possible speech–language problems: in private practices, hospitals, in (pre)schools, and in specialized care for children with language impairment.




Using Speakaboo

Speakaboo has been developed for professionals in language development, for example a speech therapist or pathologist. Speakaboo does not replace the professional.  If the professional does not speak the target language, we advise the use of an interpreter or a child's family member to assist during testing.


Playful yet systematic

Photo by Mypurgatoryyears/iStock / Getty Images

Small interactions reveal images of the words, soliciting spontaneous naming of the pictures by the child.

The selection and order of the words ensure that all relevant speech sound abilities are covered, giving insight in both speech and vocabulary development of the child.

Audio Recording

Photo by Nadezhda1906/iStock / Getty Images

Speakaboo records the child's speech while using the program.

The recordings can be reviewed later on the device. It is also possible to listen to the target word pronounced by an adult native speaker, making it easy to compare the child’s delivery to the target word. 

Professional Resources

Speakaboo is more than an app. It offers information on the included languages: their respective phonological systems, frequent phonological processes, and—if available—data on the performance of typically developing children on the test. Score forms are provided, as well as video’s of word pronunciation.


The current languages supported are....

  • Arabic (Egyptian/Moroccan/Syrian)

  • Armenian (Eastern/Western)

  • Bosnian

  • Dutch

  • English (US)

  • French

  • German

  • Hindi

  • Italian

  • Papiamento

  • Polish

  • Russian

  • Tarifit-Berber

  • Tigrinya

  • Turkish

  • Somali


For each language a different set of 27 to 40 words (depending on the language) has been developed, taking into account the vocabulary of young children in these languages in the Netherlands.

The photos have been selected with consideration to what is culturally appropriate for the respective language groups.


The application is currently available on tablets and is available on iOS and Android.


Current Developments


Current Developments


Speakaboo was released in early 2017 and can be download free of charge in the App Store and Google play store. The application and support materials, such as a comprehensive manual and score sheets, are made available in English and Dutch. 


We are adding additional languages to Speakaboo throughout 2017 and 2018. If you are interested in helping Speakaboo develop new languages, we would love to hear from you. 


Please sign up for our newsletter on our contact page if you would like to be kept up-to-date on Speakaboo development.