Back-to-School time is fast approaching. With it comes to deadlines, learning goals, and new students to meet. Technology is quickly changing the landscape of speech therapy, and there are a number of useful apps that can help make this year's back to school the best yet. Apps allow for students to get hands-on time practicing with a modern tool. Tablets can sense voice and motion, and will translate the results based on the application that they are using at the time. Here are just a few apps that can be considered crucial in the speech therapist's device lineup.
ApraxiaVille is an application designed to be used in conjunction with therapy for apraxia of speech. This app has numerous features, many of which are unique to it. These make it a standout within the SLP app category, and one not to be missed. ApraxiaVille animates all its consonants, vowels, and diphthongs–whereas many apps will opt to not animate their findings. Seeing them animated may help children connect how to correctly pronounce the sound on their own. A therapist may select targets for a student to hit, such as a particular syllable structure or set of phonemes. If multiple students are present in the same classroom or session, if a BYOD policy is in effect–or numerous tablets/devices are available–multiple students can be working on different goals at the same time. ApraxiaVille also allows therapists and educators to track a student’s progress through individualized scoring as well as a voice recorder. ApraxiaVille also has a “word farm,” which allows students to practice combining particular phonemes to form words. This also comes with a homework sheet feature, allowing for parents to print out a worksheet to practice from at home. ApraxiaVille’s price point is $29.99, making it a purchase that must be considered in light of cheaper options.
An alternative to ApraxiaVille is SlyApraxia, which features a fox character as its mascot to introduce children to speech and language learning. While a simple application compared to many, its price point is comfortable at $5.99 on the iOS store. SlyApraxia consists of 125 images which are organized into different syllable categories. SlyApraxia includes a vast number of categories for the price, including: CV, VC, CVCV, and multi-syllabic choices. The application also provides a rudimentary data tracking system which allows the SLP or educator to email the results of each session to review, as it does not allow for saving individualized profiles. Though having a limited number of features, SlyApraxia is one to have available if your budget is tight at the start of the new school year.
Speech Therapy for Apraxia was developed by the National Association of Child Development, and is currently only $4.99 on the iOS store. Levels in this application are designed to scale in difficulty as a child progresses through them, determining which words are targeted as a result. As the student continues through the lesson, the level of repetitions and the overall complexity of the words presented will also increase.
There are a variety of apps to be explored, including Articulate It, Sunny Articulation Phonology Test, R Intensive SLP, and more. The apps chosen for any particular device will depend on the needs of the students in question, and the budget of the SLP or district. Exploring apps as a useful educational tool at the start of the school year can be beneficial, and allow for more customization toward learning goals as the year progresses.