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!

20121126-214344.jpg

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.

20121126-214355.jpg

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.

20121126-214410.jpg

20121126-214421.jpg

20121126-214438.jpg

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.

20121126-214502.jpg

20121126-214515.jpg

(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

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

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.

 

Google Earth and Cracking Curriculum Content

It’s exciting to have the continued opportunity to contribute to the ASHA Leader for a few of their APP-titudes columns.  It’s a different kind of writing, and I have to go back to stuff I did not learn when completing my journalism degree at BU, and that Magazine Journalism class I never took (I never really liked asking people, you know, questions), but it seems to come out ok after editorial assistance.

In my piece that just came out in the August 28 issue, I discuss apps that clinicians can use to facilitate the daunting process of making your therapy educationally relevant, meaning that the context mirrors or parallels what is going on in the classroom setting.  This is a huge passion of mine, though I feel I must clarify two possible misconceptions.  First of all, I am not talking about SLPs being tutors of classroom subjects.  Rather, the classroom content can be used as a context or target to target goals and strategies: e.g. categorization, description, use of graphic organizers, visualization, and so on. Secondly, although this topic is important, I realized as I saw my column in an issue filled with information about Common Core, it wasn’t really about Common Core, as (for now) those standards are only in Language Arts and Math.  But the information I shared can be about Common Core, and I decided where possible that I would include a Common Core Connection in my posts to link resources shared here to relevant Common Core standards, as I know many public school SLPs are struggling to integrate those.

In my column, I wrote, “In addition to the built-in maps app, Google Earth, available for iOS, Android, and any desktop or laptop machine, provides an extraordinary view of any geographic region. Google Earth allows clinicians to target spatial concepts, descriptive language, categories, and reading comprehension, all by zooming in on locations and viewing photos in the Panoramio layer. The stunning interactive 3D imagery available on the desktop version will soon be available on mobile devices as well.”

These columns are written somewhat ahead of time, and I wanted to let you know (and see) that the free Google Earth app NOW has 3D imagery for select cities (with more to come): Boston (yay), Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, San Francisco, Geneva, and Rome.

A 3D view of Boston you can interact with via touch.  The new Tour Guide feature makes Google Earth even more navigable with “playable” (and pausable) views of landmarks and key geographic features. Panoramio Photos provide you with countless visual stimuli to explore, describe and discuss with students.

 

The new version also comes with a super-handy tutorial that opens on launch (later it can be re-accessed anytime under the “wrench” icon) that can provide a nice lesson in following directions:

This visual/touch tutorial shows you how to navigate in Google Earth for iPad, and also gives you a good opportunity to target spatial concepts including cardinal directions. Again, bring it up anytime under the “wrench” icon.

I really hope you enjoy this great app.  The only caveats I can share are that the 3D imagery is not available on iPad 1, and that I sometimes get a message that “Google Earth is running low on memory” but the app continues to function.

Common Core Connection
This app can be used, with your verbal prompting and scaffolding, to target standards such as:
SL.3.3. Ask and answer questions about information from a speaker, offering appropriate elaboration and detail.

 

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

 

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.

Apps and EBP

Stream of Apps

Photo by Phil Aaronson

When I review apps, my years of experience play a significant role in my assessments of their usefulness. I rarely base my reviews on research to determine if the app is evidence based.  This is because research is time-consuming and the reviews of apps already takes a considerable amount of my time. However, I do check suspicious claims. A claim will strike me as suspicious if I suspect that the citation of research has been done to sell the app. Those of you who have read my earlier posts know that I have shown where a claim of an app being based on research is not supported by the research cited.

In this month’s ASHA Leader, Lara Wakefield and Teresa Shaber, in their article, “APP-titude: Use the Evidence to Choose a Treatment App,” noted, “App developers’ descriptions and customers’ reviews, however, may lack discussions of evidence and contain inherent biases. SLPs who use only this information may be relying solely on opinions and advertisements to make decisions.”  Wakefield and Shaber then discuss a five step process for determining if an app is evidence based. These steps are:

Step 1: Frame your clinical question using PICO (Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome).
Step 2: Find the evidence.
Step 3: Assess the evidence.
Step 4: Search the app store and consult the evidence.
Step 5: Make a clinical decision and integrate the different types of evidence to determine your choices.

It is quite easy to do the research. Some app developers cite research in their app descriptions. Follow their lead and make sure the research does support the developers’ claims. ASHA has a database of thousands of articles. Do a search using a few key words and a screen will appear with various articles to peruse.

If one wants to be certain that a particular app meets evidence based standards, one needs to go that extra mile.

 

(This post originally appeared on Apps for Speech Therapy)

 

Mirla Raz, CCC-SLP, is a speech pathologist in private practice (Communication Skills Center) and the author of the Help Me Talk Book: How to Teach a Child to Say the “R” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons, How to Teach a Child to Say the “S” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons, and How to Teach a Child to Say the “L” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons (also available in Kindle). Her latest endeavor is her blog Apps for Speech Therapy.

Rate That App

Day 99, Project 365 - 1.29.10

Photo by William Brawley

More and more SLPs are using apps in therapy and more and more speech/language apps are flooding the app store.  I love to use technology and apps in my therapy sessions, but how do I pick which apps to use?  Honestly, as the market for apps and the number of apps increases, it is becoming harder to determine what apps to buy.  I wrote an earlier post about where to go to find apps.  I also have shared my spreadsheet of apps for speech/language listed by target area.

Today, I want to talk a bit about determining what apps are appropriate and useful in therapy or educational settings.  In order to make this decision, we really must talk about a rating system for apps.   I know some people love rating systems and some people hate them.  I have found that the more reviews I read, the more I want reviews to be to concise and tell me whether or not the app is worth my time and money.  With that in mind,  I have been searching the web to try to find a “good” system for rating apps.   During my search I found rubrics, guiding questions, checklists and star ratings.  After reviewing a variety of these sources, I developed two checklists and star rating systems for apps.   One checklist/rating system is for reviewing speech/language/educational apps and the other is for reviewing game/book/productivity apps.  The original idea for the checklists was based on a list created by Tony Vincent (more info about Tony is written further down on this page).

The basis of the system is to allot one point for each item on the checklist, adding up points for a total score.  The total score is then translated into a star rating.  I am hoping that this system will allow me to be more objective and consistent in my app reviews.  It will also allow me to post star ratings on iTunes as I know iTunes reviews are important to app designers.

Here is a preview of the App Review Checklists and Rating Charts:

If you would like to take a closer look at my checklists, you can download themhere and here.  As always, I am open to sharing.  My only request is that you link back to my blog, and provide any feedback for ways to improve the checklist and rating chart.  I know my system is not perfect and I will most likely tweak it as I use it to evaluate apps.

Some of you may be interested in reading more about the resources that I used to help me create my lists/rating charts.  You can find links and information below:

  • Speech Techie’s Fives Criteria:  Sean Sweeney of SpeechTechie.comcreated this criteria system for evaluating technology.  It is a general set of criteria that can be used when determining if particular apps are useful for speech/language therapy.  If you aren’t familiar with Sean, he is a certified SLP and technology specialist.  He is involved in app development at Smarty Ears and he presents around the country regarding use of technology in sp/lang therapy.  To learn more about his 5′s criteria, you can download his booklet here.
  • Evaluation Rubric for iPod Apps:  This rubric was created by Harry Walker, a teacher, elementary school principal and blogger (I Teach Therefore IPod).   I found that many educators site his rubric when discussing ways to evaluate apps.  I found several app review rubrics that were based on his original rubric for evaluating iPod apps.
  • Ways to Evaluate Educational Apps:  This is a blog post written by Tony Vincent of LearninginHand.com.  Tony shared a rubric and checklist he created for evaluating apps.  He also discussed several rubrics and checklists that have been developed by other educators and school systems.  The idea for the overall set up of my checklist as well as items to include was based on a checklist that he created called, Educational App Evaluation Checklist.  If you love technology and you don’t read Tony’s blog, you should start today.  His blog is an amazing resource for all things technology in education.

If you have any feedback regarding the checklists, I would love to hear from you.  Stay tuned for app reviews that include my checklist and rating system.

 (This post originally appeared on Speech Gadget.)

Deborah Taylor Tomarakos, MA CCC/SLP, has been pediatric speech language pathologist since 1994.   She has experience in both public school settings and in outpatient pediatrics.  She is currently employed by a public school system.  Deb has provided therapy services to children with a wide variety of communication deficits, including children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, CAS, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, language based learning disabilities, and literacy deficits.  Strong areas of interest include technology use in therapy, CAS, and literacy.  You can find her online at www.speechgadget.com where she shares therapy ideas, resources, websites, and technology integration tips. 

One-Dimensional Speech-Language Therapy: Is the iPad Alone Enough?

Dimensional Doors

Photo by the_tahoe_guy

Smart phones, iPods, e-readers, webcams, iPads and more…my humble listing does not even touch the surface of the plethora of hard-to-pass-up gadgets introduced by technology.

We undoubtedly live in a digital era. I just co-authored a digital songbook for speech, language and hearing goals. I am in the process of developing an app for the iPad for language intervention. My 3-year-old daughter could easily become an iPad junkie if allowed unlimited access. I’ve also been guilty of texting my husband from the upper level of our home because I was too lazy to walk downstairs. I understand emails and text messages have become primary modes of communication, and I am not opposed to the reality in which we live.

My concern today is that I have heard of SLPs who are abandoning all traditional or old-school therapy materials and methods and beginning to strictly incorporate the iPad in most if not all of their therapy sessions.

I cannot deny the iPad is a powerful motivator, a versatile and effective therapy tool if used appropriately, and a great time-saver in multiple ways, but can I deny the effectiveness of other tried and true therapy tools? Have flashcards, markers and paint, manipulatives and hard copy storybooks become obsolete? My personal and professional opinion is a resounding NO!

When recently perusing a long list of available apps geared for speech/language pathologists, I was amazed to find that there truly seems to be an app for everything—articulation, phonology, minimal pairs, wh– questions, following directions, predicting, inferring, pragmatics, categorization skills, verb usage, homophones, comparing/contrasting, story starters, goal-writing, and on and on and on. While these resources are great and I commend the innovative SLPs creating these wonderful apps, my only caution is that we not become one-dimensional in our provision of services.

Allow me to clarify that I love my iPad and use it regularly with various children I work with, however, I don’t believe any one tool will ever be sufficient or appropriate for every child or for every intervention goal regardless of how technologically advanced it is.

The crux of the matter is, in addition to our digital reality, the other reality I see is that children still must learn to interact with people in addition to machines. There is still much to be said for the meeting of the eyes, for the exchanging of words between humans, for appropriate physical contact, for the manipulation of objects in one’s hands, and so forth, so we must not write-off valuable non-techie resources and materials that are still available to us.

This is not a call to put away our iPads, it is merely a call to evaluate and utilize all of the effective tools we possess in order to provide excellent speech and language services to the individuals we serve.

Let’s not sacrifice all traditional therapy materials and methods on the altar of technology!

(This post originally appeared on The Speech Stop)

 

Ana Paula G. Mumy, MS, CCC-SLP,  is a trilingual speech-language pathologist and the author of various continuing education eCourses, leveled storybooks, and instructional therapy materials for speech/language intervention, as well as the co-author of her latest eSongbook which features songs for speech, language and hearing goals.  She has provided school-based and pediatric home health care services for nearly 12 years and thoroughly enjoys providing resources for SLPs, educators and parents on her website The Speech Stop.

Apps Targeting Language for Middle Schoolers

Visione e prospettiva divergente

Photo by mbeo

Far fewer middle school students need our services as compared to the number of preschool and elementary aged children who do. Those who still need therapy present with the unique challenges. After all, they still need our services. Finding apps for our middle school population can be challenging.  I have found a few apps that can be used with those students who have deficits in language.

Proverbidioms: After publishing this post, I downloaded this app. Rather than publish a new post, I decided to edit the post by adding my review of this app. T.E. Breitenbach produced an illustration, Proverbidioms, in 1975, that became a popular poster. It is now produced as an app. It approaches the understanding of 264 proverbs and cliches in two ways. The student is given a list of idioms. He selects one and then searches for it in a scene where a specific illustration demonstrates its literal meaning. The scene is busy but one can increase one’s specific area of focus by moving two fingers outward on the screen. This enlarges a specific illustration. This also allows one to scan the screen and see more detail. Once one matches the idiom and picture, a screen appears that defines the idiom and its derivation. If the child correctly makes the match on the first attempt, he is awarded a gold star, two attempts a silver star and three attempts a bronze star. I think middle school students will enjoy the pictures and the challenge of matching idiom and picture. A word of caution: some illustrations may be more explicit than one may consider appropriate for this age group.

Ages: 13 to adult
Ratings: ++++
Developer: Greenstone Games
Cost: Free for one illustration, $1.99 to $2.99 for additional illustrations

Word Stack Free: This app can be used to strengthen a student’s vocabulary and reasoning skills. It does so by presenting a stack of words. Each word is arranged in random order on eight blue stacked strips on the left side of the screen. The task for the student is to find relationships between words. Words can be synonyms, antonyms, or be made into compound words. To start the game, the student reads the starter word that is on a green strip on the bottom right hand side of the screen. The student looks to find a word on a blue strip that is a synonym, antonym or can combine with it to make a compound word. The student places the word selected on top of the first green strip. If the selection is correct, the strip turns green. There is now a two word green stack. Next, the student must find a word on the left for the new word on the stack. Again, it must be a synonym, antonym or combine with it to make a compound word. The task continues in this fashion until all blue strips have been correctly stacked and are green. If the word the student selects is incorrect, it cannot be stacked and returns to original position. I played a few rounds and found that, at times, finding the right word can be challenging. (A word of caution: words can be randomly placed until one is found that turns green.) To extend the task further, the child can be why the words are the same or opposite in meaning. If a pair of words forms a compound word, one can ask the student to use the new word in a sentence.

Ages: 12 to adult
Ratings: ++++
Developer: MochiBits
Cost: Free for 40 game stacks (one stack per game). One can purchase additional stack packs for $.99 each or all four stacks for $1.99.

Confusing Words: This is not the first time I have downloaded an app and then months later cannot find it in the app store. But I was able to find what looks to be a similar app, called “Which Word?” Both of these apps try to help untangle similar sounding words that tend to confuse such as affect and effect, passed and past or there and their. I have not downloaded Which Word? so cannot review it. However, it looks similar to Confusing Words but in a more pleasing format. Each word is defined and then used in a sentence. The confusion of similar sounds words can be most evident when students write. This app may help students better understand which word to use.

Ages: 10 to adult
Developer: Triad Interactive Media
Cost: $.99

Feel Electric: I reviewed this app a few months ago for my post on descriptive apps.  Feel Electric is animated, interactive and offers a variety of options for learning a range of 50 emotions. The student starts with What’s the Word to see faces of real people expressing each emotion. From there, the student can select her emotions at the moment, create a diary of emotions, manipulate the facial features of creature to show specific emotions and play a Mad Libs type game that, when completed, will create a zany story based on the words selected. There are three fun interactive games where the child needs to pair the facial expression with the written word. Each of these 3 games is scored. The app also allows one to add ones own pictures, music and videos. This is a great app to use with middle school students. It can be used to help tweens and teens identify and discuss a range of emotions they may be prone to feel. The app’s activities can be expanded to make this a fun language learning activity.

Ages: 5+
Rating: +++++
Developer: The Electric Company by Sesame Street
Cost: Free

(This post originally appeared on Apps for Speech Therapy)

 

Mirla Raz, CCC-SLP, is a speech pathologist in private practice (Communication Skills Center) and the author of the Help Me Talk Book: How to Teach a Child to Say the “R” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons, How to Teach a Child to Say the “S” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons, and How to Teach a Child to Say the “L” Sound in 15 Easy Lessons (also available in Kindle). Her latest endeavor is her blog Apps for Speech Therapy.

Autism Awareness Month

As April- Autism Awareness Month- draws to a close, I wanted to share a presentation I made this weekend in Florida at NOVA Southeastern University, sponsored by the Florida DOE and the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD). The focus of the presentation was technology resources (web-based and iOS) that are dedicated to or can be “re-purposed” for use with the population of students with autism at various levels of functioning.  One goal of the presentation was to place technology resources in context of intervention programs helpful for this population. Along with Dr. Robin Parker and Dr. Marlene Sotelo, we also ran an informal “App Smackdown” in which participants shared apps that they have found helpful for students with autism.  The presentation is embedded below, and a link to a supporting weblist is here, and the apps shared during the smackdown here.  I hope you find it helpful!

(Google Reader and Email subscribers, please click through on the link to the post in order to see the presentation on the blog):

 

(This post originally appeared on SpeechTechie)

Sean J. Sweeney, M.S., M.Ed., CCC-SLP, an SLP, instructional technology specialist and consultant, works in private practice at The Ely Center in Newton, Massachusetts. He is the author of the blog SpeechTechie, a contributor to the ASHA Leader, and recently took on a role as Product Development Manager for Smarty Ears Apps.