Technology can be a great resource in helping children develop speech and language skills. Apps are often used in speech therapy sessions and can be valuable to parents when working with their child at home. I am frequently asked by parents which apps I would recommend to help accomplish speech therapy goals. Here are two of my favorite apps that can be helpful in working on speech goals at home and how to use them. Parent and child interaction is the key to success when using apps to improve communication. I hope you find these apps as useful as I do!
My PlayHome Lite
Free on iTunes for iPad (full version, $3.99). $2.99 on Android
This app is great for vocabulary! If your child is working on understanding what words mean, have them point to various objects in the app that you name. If your child is working on naming objects, have your child name items in the home.
This app has many different characters, rooms and objects. Give your child one, two or three step directions depending on their level. Some examples are, turn on the radio or go to the kitchen and have the mom pour a bowl of cereal.
You can target many different prepositions and concepts with the objects and people in the house. Talk about the positions of different objects in the house, the apple is on the table or the boy is next to the chair. Once your child has mastered that, you can give directions such as put the apple on the table or put the boy next to the chair.
Many different pronouns such as I, he, she, him, her, his and they can be used when talking about the scenes. Use these words frequently when describing the scenes and if your child is able, have them tell you what the characters are doing using these words.
It is important for children to know the function of an object and to be able to describe it. Find functional objects around the home and ask your child what it is used for. Here are a few examples: There is a toothbrush. What do you use it for? There is a chair. What do you use it for?
Free on iTunes for Ipad
There are many great apps that target articulation on the market; however they can be very expensive. I chose this one because it is one of the few comprehensive articulation apps that is free! The one downfall to this app when used for speech therapy is that some of the pictures will have the letter targeted in it but not the sound. An example of this is when you select one of the pictures is of a giraffe. In speech therapy that would actually be the “j”sound and not the /g/ sound. If you come across one of these words just skip to the next one.
Select the letter of the sound your child is working on. Next you will select if you want the targeted sound in the initial, medial or final positions. You will also have the option to select blends. It is imperative that the parent use the app with the child to make corrections when words are pronounced incorrectly. This app gives the user the option to mark if the word was said correctly as well as incorrectly in order to keep track of progress. There is also a small red button in the lower left corner of the picture that allows the user to record when saying each word. This is a great option to teach children to self-monitor their pronunciation of the words.