Learning to Hear: Finally, the Technology

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Hearing aids have improved by leaps and bounds over the past decade. The advanced signal processing and wireless connectivity options absolutely boggle the mind. As an audiologist, I’m constantly amazed at what today’s hearing aids are capable of doing for patients. I’m equally amazed at what my patients expect the hearing aids to be capable of doing for them; yet can we blame them? They are bombarded by newspaper advertisements and mailers boasting the incredible benefits of modern hearing aids. They don’t understand what all is (or should be) included in bundled pricing, so they figure that a $X,000 pair of hearing aids should fix their hearing problems and more. I believe these inflated expectations, coupled with a lack of comprehensive patient education during the rehabilitative process, explain why patient satisfaction and market penetration are not increasing at the same rate as the technological advancements in amplification.

So how do we address these issues? The answer always goes back to the root of our profession. As audiologic rehabilitation specialists, our job is to equip our patients with tools and strategies necessary to function successfully in the world, despite their hearing loss. Patients must understand that hearing aids are only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to successful communication. In fact, there are five essential keys to communication success:

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In previous blogs we’ve discussed listener strategies, speaker strategies, and environmental modifications as critical parts of the communication puzzle. During the aural rehabilitation process, I deliberately present those pieces before I discuss technology options. Listener strategies empower the patient to take responsibility for their hearing loss. Speaker strategies engage the communication partners to be involved. Environmental modifications make the patient and their communication partners aware of their surroundings and empower them to actively create the best possible listening situations.

When we’re finally ready to present technology options, there are two important points to keep in mind. First, we need to be sure we are presenting options. I don’t mean options in terms of different hearing aid manufacturers. I mean options in terms of ALL the technology options appropriate for the patient, based on his or her specific listening challenges. I present the options as a continuum, with inexpensive assistive listening devices and personal sound amplifiers on one end, and high end hearing aids with wireless accessories on the other end. Obviously there are many technological options in between. Second, it is critical that the technology options are presented in conjunction with the other strategies discussed. Patients must understand that technology must be combined with speaker and listener strategies and environmental modifications. The speaker, listener, environment, and technology keys are equally important when it comes to ensuring a successful communication exchange.

The fifth key to communication success is practice. Patients can learn all the communication strategies in the world, but they won’t help a bit if they don’t actually use them. The same goes for technology. Patients can buy the most advanced digital hearing aids available, but they are just a waste of money if they refuse to wear them in all of their challenging listening situations. As rehabilitation specialists, we are responsible for motivating our patients to practice and use all that they’ve learned. We must find ways to hold them accountable and create a follow-up plan that ensures long-term success.

Patients with hearing loss have many options when it comes to pursuing technology. As audiologists, it is our responsibility to make them see the “big picture” and implement a comprehensive plan that addresses all pieces of the communication puzzle. I truly believe that patient satisfaction and market penetration rates will only increase when we return to our roots and make patient education the focus of our rehabilitation efforts.

 

Dr. Dusty Ann Jessen, AuDis a practicing audiologist in a busy ENT clinic in Littleton, Colo. She is the founder of Cut to the Chase Communication, LLC, a company dedicated to providing “fun, easy, and effective” counseling tools for busy hearing care professionals. She is also the author of Frustrated by Hearing Loss? 5 Keys to Communication Success. Dr. Jessen can be contacted at info@CutToTheChaseCommunication.com.

 

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.

Aural Rehab: Are We Getting the Job Done?

tin can 2Aural rehabilitation was once the root of our profession. ASHA defines it as “an ecological interactive process that facilitates one’s ability to minimize or prevent the limitations and restrictions that auditory dysfunctions can impose on well-being and communication, including interpersonal, psycho-social, educational and vocational functioning.” Audiologists know the importance of providing our patients with education, counseling, and training to overcome the challenges presented by hearing loss. However, the most recent MarkeTrak survey results indicate that very few of us are actually providing these services to our patients. This is an unsettling finding to say the least.

I truly believe that most audiologists attempt to provide their patients with adequate education and counseling. However, these MarkeTrak survey results prove that our attempts are not being received by our patients. I believe there are two factors at play: technological overwhelm, and unrealistic expectations. Patients are often so overwhelmed by the vast array of technology at their fingertips that their sole focus is on the technical workings of the hearing aids and wireless accessories. In addition, the vast improvements in technology lead our patients to believe that the hearing aids alone should address all their communication problems. What we are missing is a standardized, effective, and efficient aural rehab protocol that helps our patients to retain what they have learned, and use the strategies we teach them.

As a practicing audiologist, I face these challenges on a daily basis. As technology progresses, I find myself spending more clinic time educating my patients on the technical aspects of their new hearing aids. In a busy ENT clinic, time is of the essence, and this leaves very little time for counseling about realistic expectations, communication strategies, and auditory training. I tried various educational handouts as well as group AR classes, but struggled with patient compliance. I also found it difficult to engage family members in the rehabilitation process. When I read the MarkeTrak survey results, I realized I wasn’t the only audiologist facing these challenges. So in 2013 I set out to develop a fun and effective approach to aural rehab that would be easy for patients to comply with, and efficient for professionals to implement. I call it Cut to the Chase Counseling. There are three simple steps to this aural rehab approach:

1. Education: Patients need to be educated in a fun, easy, and efficient way. While there are many great educational materials on the market, I chose to create my own patient guidebook that organizes communication strategies into five simple keys (see below) that are easy for patients to remember. It is also important that our education addresses realistic hearing aid expectations as well as the importance of family member involvement. Our aural rehab approach defines the following components as the “5 Keys to Communication Success.” I will discuss these further in future blog posts.

2. Action: Patients need to immediately act on what they’ve learned to begin creating new communication habits early in their rehab process. We start this action with personalized Successful Communication Plans that guide the patient and their communication partners as they apply the five keys to their most challenging communication situations.

3. Follow-up: Patients simply cannot absorb and retain all of the education and counseling during their hearing aid trial period. They are often so overwhelmed by their hearing aids, that they may actually remember precious little from what we have been teaching them. For this reason, they must receive some kind of regular follow-up education. Studies show that consistent long-term follow-up drastically increases patient compliance and satisfaction. We provide this follow-up in the form of weekly emails that patients receive for an entire year following their hearing aid fitting. These emails reinforce effective communication strategies and encourage the patients to return to their hearing care professional with any questions or concerns.

We know that our job as rehabilitative audiologists goes far beyond fitting hearing aids. I hope this simple three-step approach will provide an efficient way for professionals to ensure that education and counseling are an integral part of every hearing aid fitting. In the following five blogs, I will dig deeper into the five keys to communication success and give you strategies for integrating them into your practice.

Dr. Dusty Ann Jessen, AuD, is a practicing audiologist in a busy ENT clinic in Littleton, Colo. She is the founder of Cut to the Chase Communication, LLC, a company dedicated to providing “fun, easy, and effective” counseling tools for busy hearing care professionals. She is also the author of Frustrated by Hearing Loss? 5 Keys to Communication Success. Dr. Jessen can be contacted at info@CutToTheChaseCommunication.com. 

Collaboration Corner: The Technology You Need to Get It Done

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Like most school years, I’m always amazed at how chaotic re-entry can be. As a traveling therapist (locally, and now globally) a few everyday tech tools are an integral part of connecting with my colleagues and consulting with other educators. As practitioners, we are stretched in a thousand different directions. Here are some quick ideas to use with these virtual life-savers. Best of all, they are free:

Googledocs: Get online and create group documents without several versions sent around in different attachments. It’s a totally collaborative platform. In my workplace, we have used it to:

  • Make group SMART goals even smarter; create group professional development goals all in the same place.
  • Make Power Point presentations for that next staff meeting virtually.
  • Create spreadsheets to share caseload information, class lists, inventories of tests and supplies.
  • Collaborate on evaluations and writing reports.
  • Have a place to access reports and notes from any laptop or computer.
  • Create meeting minutes for everyone on the team to access.

 

Doodle: Have a team meeting to set up? This little online tool allows you to email several time slots to one group of people all at once, and poll the best date.

 

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Skype: Nothing like a little face time, right? Using Skype is free, but conference/group chats are available for a small monthly free. If you have a camera and a working mic on your laptop, or i-device you are good to go. I can consult with South America while looking at the notes I’ve pulled up from my google docs. I like Skype because it is super user-friendly for those who are a little tech-shy. This year I’m even using Skype to consult with supervising a SLPA in training. Through Skype I can chat with his supervisor who is out of state.

Dropbox: Similar to Google docs this has the additional ability to drop in video, notes, or whatever information you want to share all in one folder. You simply download the app to your desktop or portable device. If you put it on your iPad, then you can take videos on the go, and put them directly into the shared folder. This is great forum to video your sessions with your students, and share them with parents and teachers.

Happy techno-collaborating!

 

Kerry Davis, PhD, CCC-SLP, is a city-wide speech-language pathologist in the Boston area. Her areas of interest include working with children with multiple disabilities, inclusion in education and professional development. The views on this blog are my own and do not represent those of my employer. Dr. Davis can be followed on Twitter at @DrKDavisslp.

Snap and Post Photos of Your Day to the ASHA Leader Instagram Contest

instagram blog 2Say “cheese!” The new ASHA Leader is commemorating its inaugural year by celebrating YOU. We’re putting together a book of photographs that showcase what our members do best—helping people communicate. And we want your Instagram photos to be a part of it!

Ah, Instagram. I never go on a walk without my phone/camera, just in case a moment presents itself. There’s a walking loop near ASHA’s headquarters that’s about a mile long, and on nice days it’s a great way to blow off some steam, get some fresh air and remember there is a world outside your cubicle. But it’s also inhabited by trees, birds, flocks of geese, various corporate buildings and some shockingly obnoxious D.C. metro intersections, all of which make great fodder for Instagram.

Maybe you do it, maybe you don’t, but unless you’ve been living in a cave in the wilderness, you’ve undoubtedly heard about Instagram. It’s a photo app that allows users to filter, modify, and edit their photos any way the imagination allows. Many Instagrams start out looking like any digital photo, but end up looking like anything from quirky postcards to beautiful pieces of art. Check out the app and download it to your phone at Instagram.com. Then hop on over to Webstagram online to see millions of snapshots of life from around the globe. For Instagram examples from the Leader staff, go to Webstagram and look under the hashtag #ashaigers. Hey, sometimes your inner artist works, sometimes it doesn’t, but it’s always fun to try!

Because it’s so cool and we know you all have great stuff to share, we want to see your Instagrams. We know you work hard, have fun and blow off steam—show us! We want to see Instagram photos of your typical day as a speech-language pathologist, audiologist or researcher. How do you start your day? What moments during the work day or after hours are especially meaningful? Joyful? Or even particularly frustrating? Be creative and unique with your camera shots—capture the essence of your day and the landscape in which you live it (search the hashtag #ashaigers to see some staff examples).

The dates of the contest are May 12-18. The theme is “A Week in the Life of the Professions.” Upload your photos (put whatever filters or edits on them as you see fit) and be sure to include the hashtag #ashaigers in the caption.

Don’t have Instagram? E-mail your photos to leader@asha.org with the subject line “Instagram” and we’ll upload them for you.

After May 18, we (the Instagram-delirious Leader staff) will select the most memorable photos for inclusion in an orderable book. We’ll also feature as many of those selected as we can in our July issue! Everyone included in the book will receive credit and recognition; through a random drawing, 20 contributors will receive a free copy.

And we’re going to keep the photo fun going after May 18, selecting from photos you continue uploading to #ashaigers for a new recurring “Glimpses” feature in The ASHA Leader.  So c’mon folks! Grab your cameras, fancy-frame your subjects and settings, and get snapping and uploading! We want the book to be a memorable, lasting revelation of one week in the lives of speech-language pathologists, audiologists and speech-language scientists making a difference.

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Gary Dunham, is editor-in-chief of The ASHA Leader and can be reached at gdunham@asha.org.

ASHA’s Listen To Your Buds Campaign Brings Safe Listening Message to The 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show

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Annette Gorey, ASHA’s Public Relations Specialist, works to get ASHA’s booth ready for the show.

More than 150,000 people may hear more about ASHA’s Listen to Your Buds campaign at this week’s 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This marks ASHA’s fifth consecutive year as a CES exhibitor, and the ASHA Public Relations team couldn’t be more excited to spread the word about listening safely and preventing noise-induced hearing loss.

The Listen to Your Buds exhibit will be in the heart of the CES Digital Health Summit. And new this year, ASHA joins the show’s MommyTech Summit to connect with influencers, mommy bloggers, key children’s health and technology media and more. We’ll convey how Listen to Your Buds can help parents help young people use personal audio technology safely. As you probably well know, the parent blogosphere is more powerful than ever and growing fast. This is an increasingly important audience for our Listen to Your Buds campaign and outreach efforts.

The time has never been riper for a safe listening message. Spend a day with a toddler, elementary school student, tween or teen – or just walk around the mall, stand in line at Starbucks or stroll down the street – and you can’t help but see how kids are more connected to personal audio devices than ever before. Headphones have become a fashion item. The latest color iPod is in the hands of a six-year-old. Teens are at the gym listening to music. And this past holiday season, personal audio technology items were among the hottest gifts around. Now, in the wake of technology gift-giving and increased daily technology time, parents should monitor their child’s usage and volume levels and model safe listening behaviors – and the tips at www.listentoyourbuds.org can help.

We know even minimal hearing loss can affect children’s social interaction, communication skills, behavior, emotional development, and academic performance. Some parents are now realizing this, too. Eighty-four percent of parents are concerned that misuse of personal audio technology damages the hearing of children, according to the results of an online poll commissioned by ASHA last May. Parents also show overwhelming support for hearing screenings for tweens and teens—71% for 10- to 11-year-olds and 67% for 16- to 17-year-olds—according to a University of Michigan Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health released just last month.

ASHA’s exhibit booth in the Living in Digital Times area has information about hearing loss prevention, warning signs of hearing damage, and how to find a local ASHA-certified audiologist using ASHA’s ProSearch. ASHA member and Las Vegas audiologist Dr. Daniel Fesler, CCC-A and Buds Coalition Musician Oran Etkin will be on hand to talk with attendees.

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), who puts on the CES each year, is among the Buds’ dozen dedicated sponsors; we joined forces in 2007. Recently, CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro highlighted just how important the Buds message is. “As a longtime supporter of the Listen To Your Buds youth campaign, CEA represents companies that create audio technologies for listeners of all ages,” says Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “We promote products, like noise-canceling and sound-isolating headphones, that help minimize outside sounds, and volume-controlled headphones that give control to parents of young children. New innovations are still to come that will help us practice and teach safe listening so that we can all listen for a lifetime.’”

Erin Mantz is a Public Relations Manager for ASHA.

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

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

It Really is a “Brave New World” for Speech-Language Pathology!

In 1931, Aldous Huxley’s novel A Brave New World told us a tale of what society in the distant future would look like… a place of advanced technology, new social structures and radical changes in how humanity interacts with each other… sound familiar?

Well, arranging the Georgia Speech-Language Hearing Association’s (GSHA) short course offerings has opened my eyes to how very fast the role of being an SLP is changing from year to year. We are now serving highly diverse populations of multiple nationalities, utilizing technology that just 10 years ago was science fiction and becoming more and more an integrated part of the healthcare community in general. From NICU to hospice, home health care to the public schools, SLPs are involved with communication and swallowing disorders across the lifespan. We are providing these services in a cost effective, evidence based manner that is making real and measurable change in the populations we serve.

It is with this “Brave New World” in mind, that GSHA would like to present to our fellow convention-goers three short course opportunities that are sure to make a positive impact on the clients, patients and students we all serve. ASHA has given the Georgia association the wonderful opportunity to provide ticketed pre-convention and convention related short courses on November 14th and 15th. Please join us on November 14th for-

Barbara Fernandes, M.S., CCC-SLP The iPad and Your Therapy – Apps, Accessories, Accessibility and Features

Jose Galarza, M.A., CCC-SLP Spanish Influenced English: What Every SLP Should Know

and on November 15th for-

Kate Krival, Ph. D. CCC-SLP Anticipation: Neural Bases and Clinical Implications in Swallowing in Adults

Our pre-convention activities on November 14th will include presentations from Barbara Fernandes, M.S, CCC-SLP and Jose Galarza, M.A. CCC-SLP. Barbara (better known as GeekSLP) will be presenting on all things Apple, Ipad and App related. Bring your Ipad and/or Iphone to her presentation and you will leave better understanding how to use it with your respective population. Jose’s presentation will address the needs of monolingual SLPs working with bilingual children in the school setting. Since school SLPs are increasingly faced with the communication needs of Hispanic children, his presentation is especially relevant to the English speaker attempting evaluation and treatment of those children. Barbara and Jose are both experts in their respective areas and will highly impact the attendee in a positive manner.

On November 15th, join GSHA in welcoming Kate Krival, Ph. D., CCC/SLP. Dr. Krival directs the Swallowing Research Lab at Kent State University and she is a Research Investigator in the Head and Neck Neural Interface Lab at Louis Stokes Veterans Administration Medical Center in Cleveland, OH. She is particularly interested in clinical research targeting sensory-based interventions for swallowing disorders in adults with neurogenic dysphagia. If dysphagia is your area of interest, Kate will leave you with tons of evidenced based ideas for use with your patients!

So, Join GSHA and ASHA in facing this Brave New World of ours with the confidence that these courses will keep you informed, up to date and ahead of the curve!!! See you in Atlanta…

 

Edgar V. (Vince) Clark, M. Ed., CCC/SLP, advocates for the importance of state association participation whenever possible. He is currently the GSHA to ASHA Liason for the 2012 convention, current GSHA CEU chair and is a past-president of GSHA. Professionally, he is interested in adult dysphagia, all things technology, and the use of social media for promoting the professions.

 

The ASHA Convention is quickly approaching! If you haven’t already registered, don’t delay–register today! Stay tuned to ASHAsphere in the weeks leading up to the ASHA Convention for posts by the official Convention bloggers–Jeremy LegaspiTiffani Wallace and Katie Millican. Not an official Convention blogger but want to write a post about it for ASHAsphere? No problem! Send posts to Maggie McGary at mmcgary@asha.org and it could be featured here.