The Latest in Apps: Expedition with Plurals
As the technology continues to advance, apps users expect more and more out of their devices. Virtual Speech Center Inc. is striving to meet those expectations with the release of their latest speech therapy app, Expedition with Plurals. Expedition with Plurals is an iPad app released in late May, 2012. While there is currently no iPhone version, rest assured; there are plenty of other speech therapy apps for those with smartphones instead.
It might be tough for the less technologically eager among us to embrace the use of apps for education whilst ditching old-fashioned methods, but you really don’t have to. Try using both approaches simultaneously. Speech therapy apps should never replace sessions with a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP), but they do provide a fun, engaging way for parents to do speech therapy for kids at home. Use apps in addition to other speech therapy tools and toys that are intended to encourage development.
The primary purpose of Expedition with Plurals ($6.99) is, unsurprisingly, to help children learn about plurals and to use plurals correctly. The app includes five different types of activities that explore regular (pig/pigs) and irregular plurals (foot/feet). Expedition with Plurals was developed by a certified SLP. The SLP designed the app for use by children with autism, receptive language disorders, expressive language disorders, and learning disorders, and language-based learning disabilities. However, any child who is struggling with the use of plurals may benefit from practicing with this app.
Features & Benefits
Expedition with Plurals offers interactive practice for receptive and expressive language skills. Children can record their voices and hear audio instructions. The auditory bombardment activity displays two pictures at a time to represent the singular and plural form of the same word, accompanied by audio of the words. Children might best benefit from this activity by having a parent or SLP explain the differences as the child flips through the words.
Expedition with Plurals also has a picture identification activity, in which the child is prompted to select the correct form of the word. During the fill in activity, the app provides a visual and auditory display of a sentence. The child is prompted to touch the correct form of the word to complete the sentence. Another activity allows the child to make up his own sentences when presented with a singular or plural form of a word. It is strongly recommended that this activity be done in the presence of an SLP or parent who identifies whether or not the word was used correctly.
The last activity in this app is a memory game, in which children must match the singular form of a word to its plural form. One reviewer, an SLP, noted that her students greatly enjoyed the memory game. She recommended adding to the activity by having the child make up a sentence for each card he “flips” over.
While this app does offer flexibility and options for customization, it may not be appropriate for all age groups. It is likely best suited to children in preschool through second grade. The app offers over 72 words, but it would have been nice to see more words plus the option to choose varying levels of difficulty. Expedition with Plurals may also be difficult for a very young child to navigate. Children with autism may have difficulty distinguishing between feedback for a correct versus an incorrect answer. However, most of these potential drawbacks can easily be overcome if the parent or SLP works closely with the child while using the app.News