Collaboration Corner: 5 Take-Aways to Support AAC, Apps and Language

TEchnology and augmentative and alternative communication

This past month, my colleague Sean Sweeney (AKA @speechtechie) and I had the opportunity to join forces and write about AAC, apps and literacy development. Our article will be in the next issue of SIG 12: Perspectives in Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

This gave us a great opportunity to discuss how AAC users can benefit from apps to enhance treatment outcomes. Here are five highlights:

Feature matching is important: When choosing AAC or apps for learning, the tool must meet the needs of the user. For AAC, this includes the size, layout and physical accessibility of features to maximize independent use. For apps, this includes Sean’s FIVES criteria, which examines the context, appropriateness, accessibility and therapeutic considerations for learning. Just like any other tool in your kit, if it isn’t a good match then opportunities for communication or learning are potentially lost.

Make CORE align with the CORE: Using generative language formats, including core and fringe word vocabulary, benefits the student two-fold: building in opportunities for language growth throughout the day, while also meeting those pesky Common Core Standards. For example, a first grade ELA standard CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.1.c, “Use singular and plural nouns with matching verbs in basic sentences.” Using core vocabulary allows the student to meet this standard through basic sentence construction activities. A first grader may enjoy learning this through the “Collins Big Cat” series, a free app that reads stories out loud and then has the option of the student recording his voice (or in this case, synthesized voice). The app also has a more interactive component, which allows the student to build scenes and narrate his own version of the story.

Apps and AAC are powerful together: Students love the interactive nature of apps. “Toca Hair Salon” is a highly interactive hair salon studio allowing students to describe how they are going to cut, color or otherwise coif the animal or person of choice. Another simple app, “Pogg,” is a cute alien that hops, sings and performs other actions, all at your student’s direction during a session. Beyond paper flashcards, the apps give students immediate reinforcement, so then work feels less like work.

Separate communication tools from other tools: If you are going to use apps and AAC at the same time, one practical solution is to use separate tools. Toggling between apps and AAC is cumbersome, and slow session momentum. In addition, having separate systems prevents the user from confusing a communication device with other technology, which is an important distinction. If your tools look the same, change the colors of the cases. If you have students that like to surf and press that home key, enable guided access so that only the AAC app is available.

Model, model, model through apps and AAC: Finally, apps provide the opportunity to model AAC live, and in unpredictable ways. You have more opportunities to explore and learn together. Don’t have curling iron as a fringe vocabulary item when using your “Toca Hair Salon” app (it’s not there, believe me)? Show your student how you can give clues to what you mean and talk it through using what is available on your AAC: “Let’s see, it’s a tool, it’s hot and it makes your hair curly…what is it?

There’s your abridged version and takeaways…log in to your SIG 12 portal for more info, and to get CEUs….ASHA renewal is right around the corner!

 

 

Reference

Sweeney, S. & Davis, K. (2014). In press. Reading, writing and AAC: Mobile technology strategies for literacy and language development. SIG 12: Perspectives in Augmentative and Alternative Communication. American Speech Language and Hearing Association.

 

 

Kerry J. Davis, EdD, CCC/SLP is a speech-language pathologist in the Boston area. She holds a special interest providing services to children and adolescents with complex communication profiles, including AAC. Davis is a volunteer SLP and consultant to Step by Step Guyana, a school for children with Autism in South America.

 

Apps with Elders

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I am a tech savvy person. Use of technology is integrated into my life, and I am always learning something new. Currently, I am learning basic coding and web design to help private practice owners with their websites. Your website should tell your story and technology can make that happen. Perhaps I was a little naive, but it never occurred to me that maybe I should not use an iPad in my work with my geriatric patients in the SNF setting.

In the SLP social media communities I saw many SLPs using iPads or other tablets with their school or pediatric clinic caseloads. I saw what they were doing and thought, “Hey, I could do that with my patients.” And so I did. A few years ago when I got my CCC’s I gifted an iPad to myself.

And then I started using my iPad in therapy. There were a few bumps along the way, but I am still using it today. The iPad will by no means do therapy for you, but it is an excellent tool.

Five Tips to make using an iPad in therapy easier

Be confident to reduce the intimidation of technology. I start by asking if a patient has used an iPad. Then I briefly explain that it is a “little computer”, and we are going to use it to have a little fun in therapy. I gloss over the technology aspect and go straight to the fun. And then I choose an easy but interesting game, so they will have success when they are learning to use the tablet.

Use a stylus. A stylus is a pen-like instrument that the tablet will recognize similar to a fingertip. I pick them up for super cheap at stores like Marshalls or Ross. Some of the ladies I work with have gorgeously lacquered long fingernails. This almost always causes a problem, since tablets respond to fingertip taps rather than fingernail taps. A stylus will solve this problem.

Make it fun. Some of the games and apps can be quite challenging (just as any other task). When frustration starts to rise, I remind my higher level patients that we are just experimenting. If the solution or answer is not correct, we just figure out why and try something else. This approach seems to ease frustration. With my lower level patients, I do not allow that point of frustration to be reached. I use errorless learning and vanishing cues to increase success rate.

Keep your client relaxed. Because it is an unfamiliar technology there can be some anxiety about using it. I watch my patient’s body language. Is their brow furrowing, are their shoulders creeping up, are they tapping the stylus with great force? Sometimes I use subtle cues to help them improve insight into how they are feeling. Other times overt. These are great moments to talk about the effect of emotions (including anxiety) on cognitive function. Then I teach the strategy of doing something less taxing during these moments and moving back to more challenging tasks when they are feeling calmer.

Get a case. Get a case that allows you to prop up the tablet at different angles. This is really helpful for reducing the glare caused by different patient positions as well as making the tablet more accessible to those with mobility impairments.

Favorite Adult SLP Apps

Memory Match: If you are looking for an app to exercise use of memory strategies (visualization, association, verbalization) then Memory Match might be an app to check out. It’s $0.99 and available for iPad and Android. This is only suitable for clients that are able to generalize memory strategies and need activities to learn strategies.

ThinkFun Apps: Rush Hour and Chocolate Fix are great problem solving brain teaser apps that require use of deductive reasoning and logic for visual tasks. First, we identify the problem. Then, we work backward to solve it.

Tactus Therapy: This company makes some great apps. I have several, but my favorite is Conversation TherAppy. It is so versatile. I seldom use the scoring function of the app. The app has picture stimuli and a variety of prompts to target specific skills. I love not having to carry around a deck of picture cards. Have you dumped a box of stimuli cards on the floor? I have, too many times to count.

Google: Access the Google search engine via Chrome or Safari for endless possibilities. Do you have a client working on word finding tasks and needs a visual cue? Google it. Need a restaurant menu or a prescription label as a stimulus for functional questions? Google it. And I’ve been known to use it as a task motivator. Do your dysphagia exercises, then we’ll look up information about moose. (True story.)

Dropbox: Scan those 3-inch binders full of worksheets, protocols, and other information. Create PDFs and put them into Dropbox and have them anywhere you go with your iPad.  If you buy digital versions of books or tests to use on your iPad you will resolve the problem of original documents getting raggedy.

If you have an iPad or another tablet at home and haven’t used it for therapy, I recommend checking out what it can do. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Rachel Wynn, MS CCC-SLP, is speech-language pathologist specializing in geriatric care. She blogs at Gray Matter Therapy, which strives to provide information about geriatric care including functional treatment ideas, recent research, and ethical care. Rachel’s projects include: Gray Matter Therapy newsletter, Research Tuesday, and Patient Education Handouts. Find her on FacebookTwitter, or hiking with her dog in Boulder, Colo.

ASHA’s Online Community Goes Mobile

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I love my smartphone and iPad so much that my husband often makes jokes about my need to be with one of them at all times. No matter what I’m doing, one of these mobile devices is almost always in my hands. I think it all relates to my inability to do just one thing at a time.

So while we are watching MasterChef or The Next Food Network Star in the evenings, I am also keeping up on what is happening in the ASHA Community.

As with any relationship, there are habits or characteristics that are less than appealing about the other person. The pet peeve I have with my mobile devices is the constant need to use pinch-to-zoom maneuvers to read or navigate the browser. To avoid this, I usually download the app when there is one available for a particular website or service.

Until now, the only way I could surf the ASHA Community was with my mobile devices’ browsers. You can imagine my excitement when the ASHA Community Mobile App idea was formed—my hand was definitely raised to be part of the team working on that project! Well, the day has finally come. The new ASHA Community Mobile App is not only helping my relationship with mobile devices, it helps all ASHA members with these unique features:

  • Convenient. Read all the latest discussions from your subscriptions in a single feed.
  • Seamless. Reply to discussions and post new discussions without pinch-to-zoom maneuvers.
  • Searchable. Find your colleagues in the directory and easily add them to your personal contacts. With a couple of taps on your screen, you can send an e-mail or make a phone call to another ASHA member.
  • Latest news. Find ASHA’s Twitter feed and read this and other ASHAsphere blog posts directly in the app.

If you are as excited as I am, then you have already downloaded the app on all of your devices. Just in case, here are the steps:

  1. From your mobile device, click on the appropriate link below or visit your app store and search “ASHA Community.”
  2. Download the app.
  3. Log in with your ASHA username and password.

Get it on Google Play

You’ll see your name at the top of the navigation. Under your profile, you will see Discussions, People, Inbox, Announcements, and a list of communities to which you subscribe. The ASHA Community Mobile App will help you stay connected with other ASHA members and allow you to post questions to your colleagues on the go–or when you are sitting on the couch enjoying your favorite show.

Visit community.asha.org/mobile to learn more about ASHA’s new mobile app. If you have app-related questions, e-mail community@asha.org.

Jill Straniero is ASHA’s online collaboration manager. 

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.

Google on Apple: Search is Language

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Google is pretty much synonymous with search.  Though in the earlier days of the web, people went different places like Lycos, Yahoo, and Altavista, it’s second nature for most of us to turn to Google nowadays when we have a question or need a resource. Bing? Sorry, no.

The thing about web search, when you think of it…it’s language. We ask a question and get an answer. The results can be a list, a description, a fact, a picture to describe.

Often, a search can be very helpful when we discover those pesky gaps in our students’ world knowledge or vocabulary.

Most of us, including myself, probably turn most readily to the little Google field in the upper right corner of the Safari iPad app, which indeed does the job pretty handily. However, Google has been steadily improving its free (of course) Google Search app, and it now includes speech-to-text (Voice Search), regardless of the version of the iPad you are using.  Additionally, depending on the type of search you are making, the app will read aloud the results (so, text-to-speech), a feature related to what Google calls its Knowledge Graph, which helps zoom in on the most important facts about real-world items. Google gives us some ideas for the types of questions that work well with Voice Search.

To see how the Google Search app can be useful in your interventions, check out this terrific contextual demo centering around one of my favorite places: Cape Cod. I need to go to there right now. *Sigh* I hate January.

This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie.com.

Sean Sweeney, MS, MEd, CCC-SLP, is an SLP and technology specialist working in private practice at the Ely Center in Newton, MA, and consults to local and national organizations on technology integration in speech and language interventions. His blog, SpeechTechie (www.speechtechie.com), looks at technology “through a language lens.” Contact him at sean@speechtechie.com.

Tiffani Wallace’s 2012 Top CEU Courses, Books and Apps Related to Dysphagia

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(Photo credit)

2012 was full of a lot of new experiences for me.  I was approached at the beginning of the year to begin speaking on dysphagia for PESI.  My first speaking engagements were in North Carolina in December.  I absolutely loved it!  Granted, I still have some kinks to iron out in the professional speaking world, but all in all, I thought it went pretty well.  I can’t wait for my next speaking engagement in January down south again, then in Illinois in June. I continued work on my BRS-S and finally was accepted!  Not only accepted, I passed my test!  I can now officially put BRS-S after my name.  Such long-sought and hard-earned letters!

Soon after I earned my BRS-S, I was promoted to Rehab Director of our department.  I’m still learning the ropes and working on improving our department.  I love the new job duties though.

I went to ASHA and had the opportunity to visit old friends and meet new friends.  As always, I had such a fun time!  I again had the opportunity to present a poster session.  It had a great turnout.  I worked in the SmartyEars booth, which is so much fun.  It’s always great to meet people and show off SmartyEars apps.  I always feel a lot of pride when people want to see a demonstration of Dysphagia2Go.  I would love to say that I attend the ASHA convention for the CEU’s, but I attend for the socialization.  That is one week of the year I feel like I am in “SLP heaven”.

I decided to end this post with a list.  Everyone always wants to know my recommendations.  Here are my top CEU courses, books and apps related to dysphagia.

Top CEU courses:

The VitalStim course by CIAO seminars is invaluable.  It’s absolutely great information, with such a huge emphasis on anatomy and physiology.  It is definitely worth the price whether you use the device or not.

MBSImP course by Bonnie Martin-Harris, provided by Northern Speech Services is another outstanding course.  Again, this course is based on the anatomy and physiology of the swallow and using it in interpretation of Modified Barium Swallow Studies.

Of course, my Dysphagia course.  I like to think that it is full of invaluable information.  :)

Top Books on Dysphagia:

Dysphagia Following Stroke by Stephanie K. Daniels and Maggie Lee Huckabee is absolutely excellent.  I’m in the process of re-reading it.  It is a book I will keep.


Drugs and Dysphagia
.  Great reference.


The Source for Dysphagia
by Nancy Swigert is my bible.  I love that book.


Clinical Anatomy and Physiology of the Swallowing Mechanism
.  Absolutely must-read!!


My Top Apps for Dysphagia

Of course my top vote goes to Dysphagia2Go.  I use this app all the time when I do a clinical evaluation of swallowing.  It lets me input all my data and then allows me to print a report of my findings.  This app is available for $39.99 on iTunes.

Dysphagia by Northern Speech Services costs $9.99 and offers amazing pictures of swallowing and swallowing deficits to share with your patients.

Lab Tests is a $2.99 app that allows you to look up lab values, their meanings and why the tests are performed.  This app does not require wi-fi to run.

Micromedex is a free drug app that is amazing and gives you not only information about the drug, but possible side effects, warnings, etc.  You can look up virtually any drug.

Cranial nerves is a $2.99 app that gives you information on all 12 cranial apps.  Not only does it give you the in-app information, but also allows you to, with the push of a button, access further information on the app on Wikipedia and Google.

 

I hope everyone has an amazing 2013.  I so look forward to all the new and great things to come!

This post is based on a post that originally appeared on Dysphagia Ramblings.

Tiffani Wallace, CCC-SLP, has been an SLP specializing in Dysphagia for over 11 years.  Tiffani has been very active in the social media world, creating 2 Facebook groups, Dysphagia Therapy Group and Dysphagia Therapy Group-Professional Edition.  Tiffani is also the co-author of the app Dysphagia2Go, available on iTunes.  She is preparing to travel nationally and speak on the topic of Dysphagia.  Tiffani writes a blog called Dysphagia Ramblings and is the author of www.dysphagiaramblings.com.  She is a 5 time ACE awardee and recently obtained her BRS-S.

Appdapted: Speech and Language Therapy Apps for the Holiday Season

Hopefully most of you found my Halloween Edition of Appdapted very useful. I really wanted to do a thanksgiving one but honestly there were only a few apps out for Turkey Day and most involved hunting turkey, not a good therapy activity. We have now moved into the Holiday Season so take a look at some great apps to use in therapy. A good majority focus around Christmas. I tried my best to find some relevant Chanukah or Kwanza ones with very little success.

I have lots to share so keep an eye on this post as I will be updating it regularly. For now start off with these awesome apps that will keep your kids motivated!

Updated 11/27/12

Snow Doodle ($0.99)

Snow Doodle is the latest addition to the Doodle family by Shoe the Goose. This app has tons of potential and was released just in time for the winter season.  You have the ability to not only build “snow people” ( Have to be politically correct here, not all snow beings are men after all) but also build things using your imagination and tools like a pail, castle block, coffee cup, or a tube. Just tap the tool and out pops the snow. You can also use the free form tool and manipulate the snow ball into any design you want. This app has tons of potential and with the ability to import anything from your photo roll you can Appdapt it into any speech or language activity.

Built using the Pail tool

Turn your designs into a puzzle

Why is the Snowman scared?

Toca Hair Salon: Christmas Gift (Free, Highly Recommended)

This is an obvious gem when looking for a Christmas app to target therapy goals. You have the option to cut Santa’s hair! I mean who wouldn’t want to have fun doing that. There is also a Christmas tree option where you can trim and decorate the tree. Target all the goals you would with Toca Hair Salon but throw in some fun Christmas Vocabulary!

Gift-Wrap-App (Free, My Favorite!)

I searched and searched for an App like this hoping it existed and it does it does! This app has such a simple premise you will be taking every therapy goal and targeting it with this app. You take a picture , pick the gift wrap, and unwrap them! Target articulation, language, or pretty much anything. I would download pictures of popular toys this year and wrap them up. Have your clients describe what the toys do or how you would play with them. In the example below I used an action picture “drinking.”

Santa’s Magice Phone-Deluxe (Free and Fun)

PERSONALIZE certain calls by recording your voice, and we will disguise your voice as Milo, Santa’s Elf! Santa will then ask Milo a question during the call, and Milo will bring details into the phone call that your child would never have imagined! “Wow Mommy! How did Santa know I was polite with little Johnny?” Receive the call at your choosing for the ultimate reaction. You can select from numerous Naughty or Nice prerecorded messages, such as Good Job Being Polite, Eating Well, Sharing, You’re Off the Naughty List!, Not Listening, and many more!

Christmas House Decoration (Free, iOS)

In this app its all in the name. You decorate the exterior of a house for Christmas. This will work great as a motivator, following directions,  or for tasks requiring knowledge of spatial concepts. Decorations include snowmen, trees, Santa, lights, etc..  Endless possibilities for a creative child or therapist!

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Chanukah Dreidel (Free)

This is one of the few apps that I found that incorporates Chanukah. It’s  a virtual dreidel so not so exciting but could be a proper motivator for those clients of yours that celebrate Chanukah.

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Peekaboo Presents  ($1.99, iOS and Android)

Here is a another solid app by Night & Day studios, developers in the ever popular Peekaboo series. I featured there Peekaboo Trick-or-Treat app in my Halloween Post. To play the app you tap on the present that is under the Christmas tree  shaking and making noise. The child must make a guess on what is inside the present based on the noise it is making. Lot’s of fun presents to open and noises to guess! Have fun with this one.

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Toys “R” Us Toy Finder (Free)

I have been using this app to help create my client’s wish list for their holiday presents. You are able to make a profile for a child and then save their list of toys. This app would work well in a group setting to foster some good conversation about what the children have selected and why they made those selections. Also offers a good opportunity to explain what a toy does and what it looks like. Ever have that child that suffers from word retrieval difficulties and is trying to explain a toy that they play with daily but they don’t know the name? Well have them search by  the  toy categories, etc.. to help them narrow it down.

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(This post originally appeared on The Speech Guy)

Jeremy Legaspi, CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Foundations Developmental House. He concentrates on autism, AAC, apraxia, articulation,phonlogy, and some feeding. You can follow him on twitter @azspeechguy and check him out on azspeechguy.wordpress.com and www.therapyapp411.com

“Appdapting” Flashcard Apps to Address Social Skills

boy throwing ball

I have to admit, I don’t really like flashcards. I especially don’t like it when parents or SLPs use flashcards to drill vocabulary in toddlers and preschoolers, much less school aged children. I feel that it produces very limited learnability and generalization. I am personally a proponent of thematic language learning, since it allows me to take a handful of words/concepts and reinforce them in a number of different ways. The clients still get the benefit of information repetition, much like one would get during a typical flashcard drill.  However, they are also getting much more.  Thematic language learning allows the client to increase word comprehension, make connections to real life scenarios,  develop abstract thinking skills, as well as to transfer and generalize knowledge (Morrow, Pressley, Smith, &  Smith, 1997; Ramey, 1995).

However, even though I dislike flashcards, I still don’t necessarily want to give up using them completely, especially because nowadays many different type of image based language flashcards can be found for free as both printables as well as Iphone/Ipad apps.  Consequently, I decided to pick a free flashcard app and adapt it or rather  ”appdapt” it (coined by “The Speech Guy”, Jeremy Legaspi, the “Appdapt Guru”) in a meaningful and functional way for my students.

After looking over and rejecting a number of contenders, without a clear plan of action in mind,  I stumbled upon a free app, ABA Flash Cards – Actions by kindergarten.com, which is designed to target verb labeling in ASD children.   When I saw this app, I immediately knew how I wanted to appdapt it.  I especially liked the fact that the app is made for both Ipad and Iphone. Here’s why.

My primary setting is an out of district day school inside a partial psychiatric hospital.  So in my line of work I  frequently do therapy with students just coming out from  ”chill out rooms” and “calm down areas”.  This is definitely not the time when I want to bring or use a lot of materials in the session, since in a moment’s notice the session’s atmosphere can change from calm and productive into volatile and complicated.  I also didn’t  want to use a bulky Ipad in sessions with relatively new children on the caseload, since it usually takes a few sessions of careful observations and interaction to learn what makes them “tick”. Consequently, I was looking for an app which could ideally be downloaded onto not just the Ipad but also the Iphone. I reasoned that in unexpected  situations I could simply put the phone into my pocket, unlike the Ipad, which in crisis situations can easily become a target or a missile.

Given the fact that many children with psychiatric disorders present with significant social pragmatic language deficits (Hyter, 2003; Hyter et al 2001; Cohen et al., 1998; Bryan, 1991; Goldman, 1987 ), which is certainly the case for the children on my caseload, I planned on adapting this app to target my students’ pragmatic language development, social problem solving skills as well as perspective taking abilities.

So here are just a few examples of how I appdapted the cards.  First, I turned off the sound, since the visual images were what I was going after.  Then I separated the cards into several categories and formulated some sample questions and scenarios that I was going to ask/pose to the students:

Making Inferences (re: People, Locations and Actions)

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What do you think the girl is thinking about?

How do you know what she is thinking?

How do you think she is feeling?

How can you tell?

Where do you think she is?

How do you know?

 

Multiple Interpretations of Actions and Settings: 

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What do you think the girl is doing?

What else could she be doing?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does the boy feel about the flower?

Give me a different explanation of how else can he possibly feel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who are the boys in the picture? (relationship)

Who else could they be?

What do you think the boy in a blue shirt is whispering to the boy in a red shirt?

What else could he be saying?

How do you know?

 

 

Supporting Empathy/Sympathy and Developing Peer Relatedness:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How does this child feel?

Why do you think he is crying?

What can you ask him/tell him to make things better?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girl is laughing because someone did something nice for her?

What do you think they did?

 

Interpreting Ambiguous Situations:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the boy doing?

Who do you think is the woman in the picture?

How do you know?

How does she feel about what the boy is doing?

How do you know?

 

My goal was to help the students how to correctly interpret facial features, body language, and context clues in order to teach them how to appropriately justify their responses. I also wanted to demonstrate to them that many times the situations in which we find ourselves in or the scenes that we are confronted with on daily basis  could be interpreted in multiple ways. Moreover, I wanted to teach how appropriately speak to, console, praise, or compliment others in order to improve their ability to relate to peers. Finally, I wanted to provide them with an opportunity to improve their perspective taking abilities so they could comprehend and verbally demonstrate  that other people could have feelings, beliefs and desires different from theirs.

Since I knew that many of my students had significant difficulties with even such simple tasks as labeling and identifying feelings, I also wanted to make sure that the students got multiple opportunities to describe a variety of emotions that they saw in the images, beyond offering the rudimentary labels of “happy”, “mad”, “sad”, so I took pictures of Emotions Word Bank as well as Emotion Color Wheel courtesy of the Do2Learn website, to store in my phone, in order to provide them with extra support.

                

The above allowed me not only to provide them with visual and written illustrations but also to teach them synonyms and antonyms of relevant words.  Finally, per my psychotherapist colleagues request,  I also compiled a list of vocabulary terms reflecting additional internal states besides emotions (happy, mad) and emotional behaviors (laughing, crying, frowning). These included words related to:  Cognition (know, think, remember, guess), Perception (see, hear, watch, feel), and Desire (want, need, wish), (Dodd, 2012) so my students could optimally benefit not just from language related therapy services but also their individual psychotherapy sessions as well.

I’ve only just began trialing the usage of this app with the students but I have to admit, even though its still the early days, so far things have been working pretty well. Looks like there’s hope for flashcards after all!

References:

———Bryan, T. (1991). Social problems and learning disabilities. In B. Y. L. Wong (Ed.), Learning about learning disabilities (pp. 195-229). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

—Cohen, N. & Barwick, M. (1996) Comorbidity of Language and Social-Emotional Disorders: Comparison of Psychiatric Outpatients and Their Siblings. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 25(2), 192-200.

Goldman, L. G. (1987). Social implications of learning disorders. Reading, Writing and Learning Disabilities, 3, 119-130.

—Hyter, Y. D., et al (2001). Pragmatic language intervention for children with language and emotional/behavioral disorders. Communication Disorders Quarterly, 23(1), 4–16.

Hyter, Y. D. (2003). Language intervention  for children with emotional or behavioral disorders. Behavioral  Disorders, 29, 65–76.

Morrow, L. M., Pressley, M., Smith, J.K., & Smith, M. (1997). The effect of a literature-based program integrated into literacy and science instruction with children from diverse background. Reading Research Quarterly, 32(1), 54-76.

Petersen, D. B., Dodd, J & Finestack, L. H (2012, Oct 9) Narrative Assessment and Intervention: Live Chat. Sponsored by SIG 1: Language Learning and Education. http://www.asha.org/events/live/10-09-2012-narrative-assessment-and-intervention/

Ramey, E. K. (1995). An integrated approach to language arts instruction. The Reading Teacher, 48(5), 418-419.

 

(This post originally appeared on the Smart Speech Therapy LLC blog)

 

Tatyana Elleseff MA CCC-SLP, is a bilingual speech language pathologist with a full-time hospital affiliation (UMDNJ) and a private practice (Smart Speech Therapy LLC) in Central, NJ. She received her MA from NYU and her Bilingual Extension Certification from Columbia University. She specializes in working with bilingual, multicultural, internationally and domestically adopted at risk children with complex medical, developmental, neurogenic, psychogenic, and acquired communication disorders.

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.”

Appdapted: Halloween Themed Apps

Halloween is going to be here before we know it, so spend some time now and stock up on some great quality Halloween themed apps!  I have always enjoyed working on Halloween themed activities throughout the month of October and I now really enjoy having my clients  interact with Halloween themed apps. I know some you school SLPs out there aren’t allowed to call these activities “Halloween themed” and usually have to go with “Fall Festival” or use some other workaround title.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of 16 of my favorite Apps to use for Halloween. Some of them have a direct Halloween theme and others are themed around  spooky or scary things. Keep an eye out for the apps that are labeled HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, as these will be of immediate use to you in your therapy sessions.

Screen shot of my Halloween folder

1) Halloween Shelf   – Free  (5 years and up)

This is a fun little app that is essentially a soundboard. You can use it for cause and effect, predicting, etc… My favorite us of it and do this with other sound board apps is to use it for sound effects.   I have some of my higher functioning clients write a scary story and then read it and use the soundboard like an “old timey” radio show. They really enjoy hitting the sound effects and then listening to a recording of their story.

2) iBlower Series: Magic Halloween – Free (Toddler and up)  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This is pretty cool cause and effect app because you are able to activate the animations using your hands, voice, or by blowing into the mic. The blowing into the mic feature is neat because you can have some lower functioning kiddos interacting with the app as well or even higher functioning if you want to work on some production of lip rounding or just work on basic imitation skills.

3) Monster Mash Lite- Free (Toddler and Up)

Working on describing skills? This app allows you to create monsters with a different head, torso, and legs. This can be a fun app to use in a barrier type game, where the child creates their monster and the therapist has to then draw the monster based on the child’s description of it.

4) Monster Booth- Free ( Middle School and Up)

This app is definitely for the older kids as it is slightly gross and contains aspects of blood and gore. You take a picture of the person you want to turn into a monster and then apply the overlays. Perhaps you can turn it into a what do you want to before Halloween game? So if you have some older middle school students and above this might be a great app to use if they can handle it without laughing and not being mature.

5) Treat Street- $.99 ( Toddler and UpHIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This is a fabulous app if you want to work on role-playing skills or just practice saying “trick or treat”. To play, you dress your character up in their costume and then head out down your street ringing the door bell or knocking on the door. The door opens and you get a treat for your bag. You are also able to monitor the treats in your bag as you go along in the game and can practice sorting skills at the end of the game by sorting all the treats in the bag.

6)  Carve-A-Pumpkin from Parents MagazineFree (Toddler and up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The app store as a bunch of carver your own pumpkin apps but I like this one the best. You are able to carve both free hand or use templates .

7) Monster Me- Free ( Toddler and Up)

Monster Me is a pretty cool Augmented Reality App that has a mad scientist feel to it.  You line up your head on-screen with the guidelines and click play and virtual mask is overlay-ed over your face.  You can change your eyes, nose, and mouth while wearing the mask or have fun and click randomized for a totally mad creation!!!

8) Ask Ya Mummy- Free  ( Elementary and up)

Working on answering “yes” and “no” questions? Is it boring  and tedious? Well invite a Mummy into your therapy session.  Ask Ya Mummy randomly answers questions you ask with a “yes” or a “no”. You can have fun by have the child gauge if the mummy was ”right” or “wrong” when answering the question.  The app can also be used as a soundboard as well.

9) Peek a boo Trick or Treat $1.99 (Toddler) iPad, iPhone, Nook, Kindle, Android  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

Night and Day studios have a fun series of Peek A Boo apps and this is their latest edition.  Knocking on the door causes it to open revealing 1 of 14 Halloween themed characters. The only thing I don’t really like is the fact that you are knocking on the door and finding a character and it should really be the other way around. You should be answering the door to greet one of the characters. It’s cute and fun nonetheless!

10) My Monster Voice- Free  (Toddler and Up)  iPad

Want to sound like a monster?  This app comes with 3 preset high pitch monsters, 2 low pitch monsters, and a custom setting.  Select your monster, record your message, and hit play and start laughing at how silly the voice sounds.

11) Go Away Big Green Monster! $2.99 ( Toddler and Up)  iPad HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

I am sure you have used this at some point with a felt board activity or just reading the book, as this book as been around for quite some time. It offers a treasure trove of possible activities from just working on the word “go”, parts of the face,  to describing activities.  Just Google “Go Away Big Green Monster! activities” and you’ll see what I mean.

12) Halloween Card Creator- Free (Elementary and up)  iPad

A fun free app that allows you to make Halloween Cards! Lots of fonts, clip art, and various other customizations  Start creating your Halloween card today and share it via e-mail or Facebook!

13) What was I scared of?  By Dr Seuss $1.99 (Elementary and up)HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

A fun story about “fear” and how to handle it.  Typical Dr. Seuss rhyming pattern through the book supports good phonemic awareness.  Great to work on picture and word associations as well.

14) Spooky Playtime $2.99 (Toddler and Up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

This is one of my favorite Halloween apps. It has lots of fun mini games!! They include: Junk Food Zombie- feed the zombies and help improve their eating habits, Bat Cave- sound recognition, Haunted House- a memory and matching game, Pumpkin Patch- counting skills, Spooky Forest- candy shape and color matching, Billy Bones- fine motor and shape recognition, Sylvia’s Spider Web- letter andnumber recognition.

15) First Words Halloween $1.99 (Pre-k and up) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This app is based on the successful First Words Apps. I like this app because you can work by letter name or phonics and pre-select the amount of letters you want in each word. It’s useful to target CVC word for articulation or simply target some fall themed vocabulary!

16) Clicky Stick Halloween $.99 (Toddler and Up) iPad  HIGHLY RECOMMENDED 

This app is based on the award-winning app Clicky Sticky. This app will allow you to create a visual scene using “stickers” and then animate it using the play button. It’s lots of fun and can be used to enhance describing and vocabulary skills.

I hope you enjoyed the list and that you find these apps useful for therapy! Did I miss any good Halloween apps ? If so please leave a comment so I can add them to the list :)  Thanks!

 

(This post originally appeared on The Speech Guy)

Jeremy Legaspi, CCC-SLP, is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Foundations Developmental House. He concentrates on autism, AAC, apraxia, articulation,phonlogy, and some feeding. You can follow him on twitter @azspeechguy and check him out on azspeechguy.wordpress.com andwww.therapyapp411.com