Whether you love technology or hate it, I think we can all agree that it’s here to stay and will play a major role in the workforce and economy for decades to come. Therefore, it’s important that we start introducing it to our students as soon as we can. Providing exposure to technology, as well as helping to foster emerging tech skills, will help our students develop the tools necessary to navigate everyday tasks in the home, school, and work environments. Lucky for us, there are a ton of speech and language therapy apps that can help facilitate these skills, as well as make therapy engaging and fun. Below are some ideas for various levels:
I love teaching students with special needs functional life skills, but unfortunately the school environment is limited in its resources to make this effective. There is an app I absolutely love using with these students called Fun and Functional ($9.99). It’s a great app to expose students to the language that involves real-world everyday items and their use. It targets both receptive and expressive language skills, as well as providing visual and auditory reinforcement. Another app I have found to be useful with this group includes My PlayHome. The first one is free and includes a home environment with various family members you can add and manipulate through daily routines, including making breakfast, making the bed, getting dressed, etc. It’s great for categories, following directions, location concepts, and sequencing. You can add to the environments and begin to build an entire community with school, hospital, and store settings for $3.99 per setting.
There are a ton of articulation apps out there for SLPs and the best ones I have found include Articulation Station (/p/ phoneme is free; other sounds range in price from $2.99 to $7.99), Phonic Genius ($0.99), Sensory CineVox (free), and QuickArtic (free). All of which are affordable and have the capacity to target sounds in isolation, words, phrases, and sentence levels.
I find that students with fluency disorders perform best when they are given auditory feedback of their speech, helping to facilitate insight into their speech deficit and develop self-monitoring skills. For these students, I enjoy using Fonate DAF – Control Stuttering ($1.99). This app allows for students to hear their speech rate with a delayed auditory feedback. You can plug in headphones to your device, if desired.
There are a ton of language-based apps out there, and everyone has their preference, but here are a few I’ve enjoyed using in the past. Splingo’s Language Universe ($2.99) is an interactive app that has four levels based on developmental age, helping students process concepts such as location, actions, and description words. Let’s Be Social: Social Skills Development ($19.99) is a bit pricier but is a great app to teach students with ASD appropriate social skills. This app helps students develop language to engage within the community, how to process changes in others’ behaviors, and what to do with other personal interactions.
With all of the iPad apps out there targeting our growing field of speech and language therapy, it should never be difficult to find what you’re looking for. Many of our students are already exposed to a lot of screen time, but with our guidance, that screen time doesn’t necessarily have to be a passive way of entertainment – it can also be informative and beneficial to the growth of their speech and language skills!
Author: Griffin Parrott, M.Ed., CCC-SLP