Mobile Devices and Speech-Language Therapy

iPods, iPads, iPhones.....these devices have made a huge impact on speech and language therapy in a very short time. While I use them every day and most kids love working on the iPad, I think we need to be selective in their use. There are some students whom I have had limited success with using the iPad, mostly my Birth-to-Three children and students with moderate - severe disabilities. Some students who have motor control issues do not understand that any time they brush the screen they activate it, so when they move their hands across the screen toward their choice, they accidentally activate another option on the device. Other small children seem to need the tactile input of "clicking" a button and will perseverate on pushing the button at the bottom of the screen, exiting the app we are using. Finally, young children who appear to be demonstrating some Autism Spectrum Disorder tendencies focus on the sounds and lights generated by touching the screen in very basic cause-effect apps and they are not able to shift attention to the therapist's or parent's face to attend to communication. BUT, having said all of that, I love my iPad and use it every day in therapy.

If you are trying to keep up with technology and SLP practice you might want to check out the websites of
Sean Sweeney http://www.speechtechie.com/,
Barbara Fernandes http://www.geekslp.com/2010/12/hello-world/ , or
Eric Sailers http://slpsharing.com/.

Here are some apps that have been useful in my practice.

Cause-Effect Apps

Bubble Popper (Free) - Touch the screen to pop the bubbles in bubble wrap.
FunBoard - Touch the screen and characters move or make noise.
Glow Draw (Free) - Touch the screen to draw pictures
I Hear Ewe (Free) - Touch the screen to enlarge a picture of an animal or vehicle and hear the sound it makes.
Leaf Jam - Tap the screen to fill it with leaves.
Talking Characters - There are many of these including Talking TomCat and Talking John. Most of them are free or $0.99.
The Wheels on the Bus from Sing-with-me.org. ($0.99) - Touch the parts of the bus and the people on the bus to hear the different verses of the song.
Tickle Me Animals (Free) - Wipe the screen to reveal a picture of an animal.
Tiny Ocean & Tiny Garden ($0.99) - Touch the screen and the objects move.

Preschool

Alphabet Tracing & Letter Route - (Free) Trace the letters of the alphabet.
Animal Flip Book (Free) - Match top bottom and middle of animals to hear their sounds
Articulate It! ($29.99) - Articulation flash cards with data tracking capabilities.
Charles Peattie's Animal Alphabet - Animal alphabet cartoons and a quiz.
Clean Up Category Sorting (Free) - Place a household object in the correct container (basket, toy box or closet)
Funny Phone - ($0.99) - Choose a character and talk to him on the phone.
Happy Hour: Who Am I? ($0.99) - Listen to an animal sound and choose the correct animal from a choice of 3.
i See-quence ($0.99 each) - Several apps for common school, home and community activities such as a day at school or going to the grocery store. Each app contains photos related to the targeted activity and allows for users to add more photos. Add text and audio to personalize the activity and create a social story for children with autism spectrum disorders.
Kindergarten.com Apps - (Free - $0.99) - Excellent Apps! Some are flash cards, others are matching activities such as "What Goes
Together, What Rhymes" or "What Does Not Belong." These are usually free in April.
Monkey Match (Free) - A Between the Lions app. Match pictures to the initial sound/letter.
Moody Monster Manor (Free) - Teaches children about emotions.
PictoFun ($1.99) - Match pictures with an associated object in PictoJibe.

Board Games

These Apps can replace the board games that you use for turn-taking in therapy
4 in a Row (Free) - A "Connect Four" game
Animal iSpy Junior (Free) - Fit animals into place as if putting a board puzzle together.
Gobble Gator (Free) - Tap the Gator to eat the ducks
Guess 'em & Who Am I - App versions of the classic "Guess Who" board game. Excellent for inferencing and practicing asking "Does" and "Is" questions.
iTools Game ($0.99) - Dice and coins to flip to play your own board games. No more dice flying off the table!!
JigSaw Animals - Use in place of a Jig Saw puzzle
Pickn Stix ($0.99) - Pick up the top stick on the stack. Good for fine-motor and visual-perceptual skills.
Pin the Tail on the Donkey - Tap the screen to find the donkey's backside.
Simon Says (Free or $0.99) - Watch and listen then repeat the pattern
Square-Off by School Zone - Connect dots to make a square and score points.
Who Do You Call? ($0.99) - Match a problem/need to a career and align parts of the character's image to create the correct picture.

Elementary Apps

Bluster (Free) - Address a variety of vocabulary building skills such as prefixes, suffixes, root words, synonyms and antonyms by grade levels 2 through 6.
Dog Party ($2.99) - Martha from "Martha Speaks" teaches vocabulary words to students. Good use of adjectives and adverbs.
Family Matters ($1.99) - Open ended questions and conversation starters to stimulate spontaneous speech and language.
House of Learning ($6.99) - Choose a room of the house, people to add and the furniture and accessories and then start building. Students can follow directions containing spatial and temporal concept vocabulary words that are provided by the therapist to address listening and comprehension skills. The student can give the directions and have another student or the therapist follow it to address expressive language skills.
i See-quence ($0.99 each) - Several apps for common school, home and community activities such as a day at school or going to the grocery store. Each app contains photos related to the targeted activity and allows for users to add more photos. Add text and audio to personalize the activity and create a social story for children with autism spectrum disorders.
Mobile Education Apps ($3.99 - $5.99) - Excellent for many communication activities. iSentence Builder addresses sentence grammar. iConversation Builder works on conversational speaking skills. iQuestion Builder addresses "wh" question comprehension. iLanguage Builder provides a picture and a cue to make a sentence about it. iStoryBuilder provides a picture with question prompts to assist students in building a short spoken story. iLanguage and iStory Builder allow the student to record his production and play it back. Some of these work well with preschool students also.
Model Me Going Places (Free) - Social stories for common outings.
Oh Can You Say Dr. Suess Book ($3.99) - A book of tongue twisters for advanced articulation practice.
ScreenChomp (Free) - Turn your iPad into an interactive whiteboard. Record your voice to go with the writing and drawings you make on the screen and save them. Send your images and recordings to facebook or Twitter.
Splingo's Language Universe ($2.99) - An interactive game of following directions with 1 to 4 elements in each direction. The speech is not natural sounding, but directions can be repeated if they aren't understood the first time.
WordGirl Word Hunt ($0.99) - Excellent vocabulary practice with Tier 2 words.

Middle School/High School Apps

BrainQik (Free) - Work on reaction time and speed of processing.
ImageQuest ($0.99) - Recognize pictures, find their relationship and type in the correct vocabulary word to solve the puzzle.
Light It Right (Free) - Turn on/off lights in a house. Work on reaction time and speed of processing.
McGraw-Hill Apps (Free) - McGraw-Hill has several Vocabulary Apps that are arranged by grade level or subject. "Words to Learn By" focuses on building academic vocabulary skills.
Situation Shuffle ($0.99) - Sequence 6 scenes to form a story. There are very subtle differences in the pictures and this task is very challenging. Be sure to try each puzzle out yourelf first so that you can direct your student to the appropriate cues. Excellent for higher-level inferencing and sequencing skills.

Productivity Apps

Wunderlist (Free) - Allows me to keep track of my home and work to-do lists on my phone and iPad
Evernote (Free) - Save documents to Evernote and have them available on your phone, iPod, iPad and/or desktop.

Podcasts


CNN Student News - News videos for middle school and high school students. Can provide discussion topic for spontaneous speech and language, practice for note-taking, comprehension stimuli, etc.
Teach Me To Talk - An SLP and a developmental therapist discuss issues they encounter during their sessions with the birth-to-three population.
TED - Interesting lectures by famous and not-so-famous people who are making an impression on the world. Watch Robert Ebert's speech on losing his voice.
Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me - NPRs weekly quiz show. It's entertaining, informative and free! Great time filler when I'm driving between work sites.