Crafty Apps for Language-Based Therapy

It is no secret; I have never been a crafty person. During my days in graduate school I struggled a lot with the fact that many of my peers were able to spend hours creating these amazing therapy activities with glue and various types of paper. Yes, I did question my ability to become a speech therapist when I saw one of my colleagues bring the cupcakes she had baked at home along with all these amazing cupcakes decorations for the session. I clearly was not capable of such a thing!  Oh, and of course there are the scrap-booking SLPs! Clearly, I had no idea that SLPs had to dedicate hours preparing meals, buying scrap-booking materials and other tools for various “crafty therapy sessions”. In graduate school, I appealed to my technophile side to create my sessions around my computer. I know what you are thinking…  “What about the iPad?”. I didn’t even own an iPhone while in graduate school (and the iPad was still years from being invented). Today’s post is dedicated to all my fellow speech therapists and teachers who lack “craftiness” and want to be crafty on the iPad! Blessed be the iPad!

Here are some of my favorite apps for fun, creative, and open language based therapy sessions:

1. Art Maker by ABC’s Play School ( $0.99) – Prepositions, vocabulary and more.

This application allows you to create scenes by selecting from various background options and pieces of craft that go with the theme.  You can also pick from your own photos and add various pieces of provided objects and crafting materials to your photo (see how non-crafty I am based on the photo below). The images are added to your photos. For those of you feeling a little adventurous you can even make a movie as you move the items around the screen. You can use this app for promoting language skills and vocabulary. Prepositions (put the star on her shirt, put the tree next to the dog, etc.) is also a great target to use this app for.

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2. Martha Stewart Craft Studio ($4.99) – Story re-telling and sequencing in one place.

This app is worth every penny I spent on it, I just wish I had it 6 years ago! The Martha Stewart app is very easy to use and offers so many possibilities. It allowed a non-crafty person like me to create a scrapbook page! The app comes loaded with possibilities. You can take photos of the students during the session or send a letter to the parents to send some family photos with the kids for the upcoming session. It is an amazing way for working on retelling a story and it is perfect for those sessions with adults! After you create each page you can print and send it home with the child. This is by far a much more cost efficient way to do a crafting session.

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3. ScrapPad- Scrapbook for iPad ( Free + buy in app) – Vocabulary &  following directions at no cost.

This app is very similar to the Martha Stewart application. It has several background, stickers, borders and embellishments you can add to each page you create. Using this app can be great for vocabulary as well as for following directions. Just like the previous app, you can also save the final work onto your photos and print them when you are done.

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4. Hello Cupcakes (Free + buy in app) – Great app for following directions with amazing visual support.

This fourth app is truly a helping hand for those who want to do a real life cupcake but are not as talented as most of my former co-workers. The app comes with a baking tray which gives you information on which materials you will need to create the cupcakes. This app is just phenomenal; it includes step by step photos you can use for creating each cupcake. The cupcakes can be quite elaborate but this app has so many amazing visuals and it will guide you and your students to create quite the cupcake project. This is the perfect app to guide students, especially students who can benefit from visual support, for working on following directions. The app has amazing visual details. The buy in app options offer a variety of themed cupcake options too.

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It turns out that not only I can be crafty, but I love being crafty on the iPad! Should I call myself technocrafty?

Barbara Fernandes, M.S; CCC-SLP is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. She is an affiliate of ASHA Special Interest Groups 16, School-Based Issues, 12, Augmentative and Alternative Communication, and 1, Language Learning and Education. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists. Find her at GeekSLP.com or on Twitter at @geekslp.

How to Use and Set up Guided Access on iOS 6.0

Apple never stops impressing me with their always evolving nature. With the release of iOS 6.0, one of the most anticipated features for the special education community is a well-designed accessibility feature called ” Guided Access”.

During my many presentations, I have seen therapists come up with creative ideas to get students to stop exiting a specific application by pressing the home button on their iPads. I have seen therapists use bub caps which reduce the sensitivity on the home button and even tongue depressors to make the child stay focused on one application. Those days are OVER! Apple has given us the guided access that allows adults to set up a password so that the iPad can stay on the same application and disable the home button from exiting the application without that password.  Do you want to know how to set up guided access? On today’s episode, GeekSLP TV #33, I demonstrate how to access, set up and use one feature that will help children learn and become more efficient in using their iPad for communication. Here is the episode for you:

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP.com)

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

 Going to the 2012 ASHA Convention? Barbara Fernandes will be presenting a short course on November 14 “The iPad and Your Therapy – Apps, Accessories, Accessibility and Features,” as well as sessions PC04 “The iPad & Your Therapy: Apps, Accessories, Accessibility, & Features (Invited)” and 1179 “Using Apps to Assess & Treat Articulation & Phonological Delays.”

Apps targeting Adults with Aphasia

On this episode, I have decided to focus on a few apps I know that target skills which have been impacted by a stroke leading to Aphasia. Individuals with aphasia experience difficulties in one or more modalities such as reading, writing, as well as speaking and auditory comprehension.

Many SLPs working in the hospital  or at the skilled nursing facility settings complain that the majority of the applications were designed for small children. While this is in fact true, today I will do a basic demo of a few apps I know were designed with the adult population in mind.

I believe Tactus is the starting point for those of you looking for apps for adults. Their website is www.tactustherapy.com.

 

 

Here is a list of the apps demonstrated on this episode:

Naming Therappy by Tactus Therappy

iName it by Smarty Ears

Language Therappy by Tactus Therapy

Small Talk by Lingraphica

 

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

 

Can Even “Cut the Rope” be Used for Promoting Language Skills?

 

This post is a follow up post on a very popular write up I did a few months back called ” Can even Angry Birds be used to promote language skills?“. If you are curious about the answer I would say about the popular game Angry birds and its relation to language skills, you can access the link and read it. For now, the task at hand is to introduce some of you to a new game I have caught myself playing many times throughout the week called “Cut the Rope”.

If you are not yet familiar with the game, cut the rope reminds me very much of Angry birds, as they are both apps that have a specific goal and a user can have many different strategies to reach the same goal. In Angry Birds, the goal is to remove all “pigs” from the scene with the least amount of birds; the goal on Cut the Rope is to use elements of physics to move a candy ball to a green monster’s mouth. Do not worry, this is a cute monster. Here is a video that shows what cut the rope is all about.

I am a big fan of utilizing fun, engaging activities to target any skills, of course as a speech therapist, I like it even more to use them to promote language skills. The best is that as kids are playing games, they won’t even necessarily need to know they are educational in any way. Cut the rope currently offers nine levels, each with 25 different activities that increase in complexity as you go. Since each new level, ads new tools you have new language, vocabulary and skills you can target with each new level. You can do all that by planning your sessions, envisioning all the great possibilities for learning, and just by being an professional who knows how to promote language learning.

As I played with the game I tried to identify potential goals and activities that can be implemented with cut the rope. Some are similar to what I have discussed on my post about Angry Birds, others are new and directly related to the items on the game.

Possible Activities/ Goals

1. Goal: use vocabulary to clearly describe  ideas, feelings, and experiences.

The vocabulary found on cut the rope increases with the levels. Here are some of the vocabulary that I was able to collect as I went through the different levels:

Verbs: cut, pull, drag, shoot, eat, release, move, point, wait, circling,

Nouns: candy, monster, rope, stars,length, level, strategy, air, circle, wheel, plunger.

Adjective: Long, short, hungry,  wrapped


The list of vocabulary is just a sample of possible words that can clearly be found on each level. You will be using the words often throughout reveal scenes, as your students also would as they play each level.

As for the activities… oh, this is my favorite part! You could have students describe each scene before completing them. Here is an example of all the language that could be used by your student to describe one of the scenes and steps to complete it:

 As the candy is moving up the screen wrapped in a bubble and it passes through the wheels I can tap on the wheel to shoot the plunger. When the plunger attaches to the candy and it can pop the bubble and let it fall to catch the stars on the way to the monster’s mouth.

Here the student was able to use vocabulary to clearly describe the level and you, a successful SLP!

2. Goal: Give, restate, and follow simple two-step directions.

There are several ways to work on this goal. The therapist can give students steps to complete the levels and the student has to follow the directions given orally to complete the level. It would be fun if sometimes you give wrong directions to double check that the student is really following your directions, not the intuitive  way to complete the level. If you have a group of students they can take turns giving each other one or two step directions, so while one student is working on following directions the other is working on giving directions.

3. Goal: Tell experiences in a logical order (chronological order, order of importance, spatial order).

This is one of the best app styles to work on telling experiences in a logical order as it offers several ways to reach the same end, and students can even talk about the different strategies they used to reach the same goal.

These are just three possible goals (also state standards) that can be targeted with Cut the Rope. I hope you enjoyed!

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

 

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.

Maximizing the Performance of Your iPad by Closing Your Apps

Do I look tired? yeah! I guess this episode was recorded late at night and it shows. However, I think you will learn some good deal of information about closing down your apps from running in the background and therefore improving its performance.

 

 

(This post originally appeared on GeekSLP)

Barbara Fernandes is a trilingual Speech- Language pathologist, a geek  and an app developer. She is the founder and CEO of Smarty Ears Apps , a company that creates apps for speech therapy. Barbara is also the face behind GeekSLP TV, a blog and video podcast focusing on the use of technology in speech therapy. Barbara has also been a practicing speech therapist both in Brazil and in the United States. Barbara has created over 21 applications for the mobile devices for speech therapists.