Apps for SLPs
More and more, speech and language therapists are turning to the Internet to provide high-quality speech therapy exercises for their therapy sessions. As children (and their parents) become more proficient in technology and in particular tablets and mobile devices, therapists are presenting innovative ways to keep their therapy services current with today’s technology standards.
A recent quote from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, an organization which studies children’s media, reported that “by 2010, two-thirds of children ages 4 to 7 had used an iPhone.” And another relevant fact from Warren Buckleitner of The New York Times blog Gadgetwise, reports that “more than 40,000 kids’ games are available on iTunes, plus thousands more on Google Play.” These statistics show an increasing trend of utilizing technology in our everyday lives.
There are so many apps available, it is important to focus on sites that are specifically designed for speech therapy issues, and educational sites that may not have been created for speech therapy in mind, but can be used for language building and can be transformed into a speech therapy tool. In the 2011 Issue of The ASHA Leader, author Jessica Gosnell references an interesting point. “In the series “from useless to learning apps,” SLP Barbara Frenandes details examples of using what some may term “useless apps” (e.g., Angry Birds). She highlights how to capitalize on the child’s captivation with the app and to conduct a productive, goal-directed treatment session.”
While there are a few issues to consider when using apps in speech therapy practice (initial cost of investment and overall network connectivity speeds), the benefits greatly out way the disadvantages in incorporating applications and technology into a speech therapy practice. To name a few:
- Improved communication with students, families and colleagues. Email provides a quick,easy and efficient way to communicate and monitor progress.
- Saves money – often the cost of textbooks and materials are expensive. Apps can be an inexpensive way to gather the same information as a textbook in a more affordable fashion.
- Greater motivation – students love using computers and tablets as part of the learning process. The more interested they are in participating, the more effective the learning will be.
- Support tools – timers, calendars, and progress monitoring apps are all available on the Internet and provide the student and teacher a better way to stay on track during speech therapy.
- Fun – games and interactive apps provide excellent rewards for students and promote language stimulation at the same time.
Three Excellent Apps for SLPs:
Common Core Early Language Screener. The Common Core Early Language Screener (CCELS) is a screening tool used to identify weaknesses in early language skills. The CCELS was designed to be used with Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten aged children and it is based on the common core expectations for kindergartners; however, the screener can be used for other groups if needed.
Story Kit. StoryKit was designed by researchers at the University of Maryland’s Human-Computer Interaction Lab as a basis for studying how mobile devices can be a conduit for children to work with their family members doing creative and educational activities. The idea is that by creating stories on a mobile device or a tablet – as opposed to paper and pens – kids can find time to work on these activities anytime and anywhere.
Let’s Do Basic Concepts. Let’s Do Basic Concepts was developed with the help of a speech-language pathologist and is appropriate for children ages 2-6. Kids learn the concepts of under, above, over, between, below, beside, and many others. Chez the monkey helps the child cheer with each correct answer!
These are just a sampling of what is available on the Internet. For additional resources, check out these sites:
Speech Squirrel: – A comprehensive site focusing on Early Intervention, including articles, research, milestones charts, and activities. All free downloads.
TherapyApp411– Collaborative Blog with App Reviews by SLPs, OTs and other therapy and special education professionals.
SpeechTechie http: A very comprehensive site from Speech Therapist Sean J. Sweeney providing resources, apps and links to valuable speech therapy tools.
Share with us your favorite apps!