Should You Use an App For That?

Person Using iPhone

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There are apps for everything from finding the nearest public restroom to keeping track of your workout routine. Lady Gaga even has her own app. A lot of these downloads are glorified time-wasters, but there are a few diamonds in the rough. If your child seems inattentive during his usual speech therapy routine, try introducing him to a speech therapy app.

The Benefits

Like many technological advances, there are advantages and disadvantages to software applications for the iPhone or iPad. Possibly the biggest benefit to using apps in speech therapy is that it tends to capture a child’s attention. Children are often drawn to shiny screens and colorful animations. A child who is disengaged while a speech therapist is attempting to teach the concept of verb tense might readily work with an educational game for that purpose.

An iPhone is also highly portable. Parents can have the child work on the app while waiting in a doctor’s office or taking a car trip. Furthermore, some apps are free and others are inexpensive. When your child masters one app, simply download another.

Child Using iPad App in Speech Therapy

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The Drawbacks

Before you throw out your flashcards, there are a few things to keep in mind. Not all apps are created equally. When you download an app for speech therapy, check it out yourself before you hand it over to your child. Make sure that there is an actual educational value and that it meets your child’s unique needs. If you’re unsure of whether a particular app is right for your child, you can always check with his speech therapist.

It’s also important that you or the speech therapist actively work with your child while he plays with the app. This encourages social interaction. Talk with your child about the app as he works with it. For example, if he’s working on understanding the concept of plurals, talk about how many cats show up on the screen. Say something like, “That’s a lot of cats!” When only one cat shows up on the screen, say something like, “That cat is all alone. Perhaps that cat can find some friends.”

How to Find and Download an App

So you’ve been resisting the new technology, but decided to cave in for the sake of little Lucy’s speech therapy. After you’ve bought your shiny new iPhone or iPad, it’s time to download some apps. Head on over to the Mac App Store and select “iPhone” or “iPad” from the top horizontal menu. Select “From the App Store” and search for your desired app.

Once you’ve found an app to download, click on the blue download button. If you don’t already have iTunes, you’ll need to download that. Follow the onscreen instructions to complete the download.

Child in Speech Therapy Using App

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Speech Therapy Apps

To get you started, here are a few general speech therapy apps to try.

Speech Trainer 3D

This app offers animations that demonstrate the production of every sound in the English language.

Articulate It!

This app offers visual cues for speech. Intended for children with a speech delay.

ABA Receptive Identification – By Function

This is a flashcard app that offers colorful imagery accompanied by sound. Includes flashcards depicting common objects like a tricycle, a truck, and a clown.

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