staRt app version 2.0 release!

BITS Lab @ NYU and Girlfriends Labs LLC are extremely excited to release Version 2.0 of the staRt app (Speech Therapist’s App for /r/ Treatment). The new version has several added features, including options for increasing practice difficulty and reinforcements for accurate performance. This announcement also serves as a reminder that we are actively recruiting clinical partners to assist with our pilot study formally testing the efficacy of app-based treatment, which is described in the linked master schedule and clinician checklist documents. In order to increase the number of participating clinicians, we are now able to offer a $100 honorarium to offset some of the time you may spend on non-treatment activities like completing background questionnaires and uploading files to our server. If you are interested in learning more about participating as a formal pilot tester, please reach out to us at! Feel free to spread the word to any colleagues who might be interested.

Thanks, and please let us know if you have any feedback!
If you have already downloaded a version of the staRt app, you can access Version 2.0 by logging in to the TestFlight app and following prompts to install the new version. If you have not previously downloaded the staRt app, email to get started.

Interested in a PhD in communication sciences and disorders?

As you may have read, I am a huge proponent of the PhD in communication disorders as a direction for students with an interest in linguistics and cognitive science. I am currently looking to take on doctoral students to support the lab’s expanding research portfolio. Active projects include:

Applications should be submitted through the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders; the deadline is January 6, 2017. Students with a background in linguistics, psychology, or CSD/speech and hearing sciences are all encouraged to apply.

Feel free to reach out with any questions!


Lab members presenting at ASHA

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Title: The Effect of Biofeedback on the Feminization of Voice in Transgender Women
Authors: Deanna Kawitzky, Tara McAllister Byun
Poster Board 488
Time: 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM
Congratulations to Deanna for receiving a meritorious poster award!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Title: Visual-Acoustic Biofeedback for Residual /r/ Errors: Synthesis of Research & Implications for Practice
Authors: Tara McAllister Byun, Heather Campbell
Session Number 1387
Location: Pennsylvania Convention Center Room: 115A
Time: 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM (1 hour seminar)

Title: Comparing Perceptual Ratings of /r/ Accuracy Across Expert & Crowdsourced Listeners
Authors: Elaine Hitchcock, Tara McAllister Byun, Melissa Lopez, Lauren Dioguardi
Poster Board 667
Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Title: Ultrasound Biofeedback for Speech Sound Disorders: Hands-On Clinical Training
Presenters: Jonathan Preston, Tara McAllister Byun, Elaine Hitchcock, Heather Leavy Rusiewicz, Sue Ann Lee, Megan Leece, Sarah Hamilton, Ahmed Rivera Campos, Sue Schmidlin, Joanne Cleland, Alan Wrench, Suzanne Boyce
Session Code: SC31
Location: Marriott Philadelphia Downtown Room: 302/303
Time: 8:30 AM – 11:30 AM (3 hour short course)

New video: staRt app in action! (10/13/16)

It’s been a while since we posted an update on the progress of the staRt app–time flies! Take a look at our new video showing the staRt app in action. (Thanks to Wendy Liang, Heather Campbell, and Helen Carey for their outstanding work on this video–and of course, thanks to our volunteer participant!) As you can see, the programming team made major improvements to the app over the summer. We are completing final rounds of alpha testing and will be contacting potential beta testers in the near future.


If you will be at the ASHA convention, Heather Campbell and I will be presenting on “Visual-Acoustic Biofeedback for Residual /r/ Errors: Synthesis of Research & Implications for Practice” on Friday from 10:30-11:30, and we’ll include some previews of the staRt app. Hope to see some of you there!


Screencast tour of staRt app, 4/4/16

The staRt team is delighted to release a screencast tour of new features that have been added since our last update. Recently added functions include a tutorial for new users, options to set user profiles and enter user-specific settings, and a routine to practice /r/ at the word level.


Click the image to view screencast video on youtube

Now, some bumps in the road to releasing the app: remember that staRt is being developed by a team of enthusiastic but underpaid student programmers. We brought a consultant on board to evaluate the app, and his professional opinion was that the code base should be restructured before the app can be stably deployed across multiple devices. The upshot is that we are postponing the pilot release of the app until approximately the end of summer 2016. The good news is that we have a team assembled that is ready and able to tackle this problem, and we look forward to giving you positive updates in the near future.

Thanks as always for your interest in and support of the staRt app!