It’s hard to imagine life without some type of mobile device nowadays and our children don’t know any other way. Technology such as iPads or other tablets can be powerful instruments in your child’s development of speech. However there are some do’s and don’ts that we should carefully consider. Technology should complement, streamline, enhance, increase, encourage, assist and should never disrupt, replace, overshadow, confuse, complicate, overwhelm or distract from our child’s services/instructions. Let’s take advantage of this wonderful technology and use it to enhance our young ones.
Using technology like Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), iPad or other devices will not impede speech and language development. Some parents may worry that if we implement this alternative or augmentative system, this piece of technology, their child or loved one will not talk. It has been well established that that is absolutely untrue. If anything, it could help their speech and language development.
Another plus is there are no prerequisites – cognitive, behavioral, or otherwise – to use AAC or iPad. No one has to have a certain set of diagnoses, nor do they have to have a certain set of skills. The technology is for everyone, because the spectrum is wide.
A few tips and tricks to motivate your child’s speech development while using the iPad
- Using inexpensive disposable gloves and cutting out the tip of the index finger to help guide them into coordinating while swiping (an additional bonus is keeping the tablet cleaner). They will only be able to use their index finger while the gloves are on.
- An easy way to begin a visual schedule for teeth brushing, potty training, dinner time, homework or just about anything that is challenging for your child to do when given verbal instructions is: Use of iPad camera to take photos around the home to identify items and locations relevant to your child—turn it into a photo slideshow with narration.
- Another way to inspire your child in the development of speech production is using the iPad built in features like voice over, so your child can hear what he/she is doing with the device. This should be done for a brief period of time, 5 min or less to start until your child become familiar with the “verbal voice” commands and can navigate easily through the iPad. Go to Accessibility, Settings, General, Accessibility ,VoiceOver, Large text, Guided Access,etc.