Using Apps in Speech Therapy

Posted by Abigail Long on

Do you use Apps in Speech Therapy?
I like to use what I call "educational reinforcers."
These are the apps that get me more bang for my buck!
I don't allow iPads in therapy unless we're either working for something "fun," or I am in full control (i.e. the iPad is in MY hands). I also really like iPad apps that give me control to pause, turn music down so we can talk, etc. I guess you could say I'm pretty picky! (that's also why I started creating my own no print activities that work how I'd want an app to work!)Last year, I went to an amazing full day conference on using technology in speech. It helped open my eyes to the possibilities of utilizing apps educationally, and also helped me with some super great no prep therapy (WIN!). Today, I'm going to share 5 of my favorites with you.

Five of My Favorite Apps

#5 App Advice Daily FREE

This app is my holy grail. Everyday, it sends out a list of "free apps of the day." It's a game changer! I have gotten so many incredible apps for therapy for FREE by using this app! It alerts my phone every day during lunch, so I take 2-3 minutes to scroll the flash freebies (usually 3-5 per day) to see if there's any I want to download. I have gotten many My Town and Dr Panda apps FREE with this! Check it out here

#4 ARrrrrgh FREE

This is one of those apps that is super cool, super free, and makes you think, "This thing is so awesome I'd actually PAY for it!" 
Using the camera, this app allows users to BURY TREASURE and it looks like the treasure is being buried right under your carpet or floor!! Then, it allows another user to try to figure out where the treasure is buried (think "hot cold" game you'd play as kids to help someone find something) and it really looks like you're digging your carpet up to find the treasure (one of my K students called it "magic"... agreed!)
I use this one for following directions, sequencing, articulation, rate of speech, vocabulary, predictions, describing. The possibilities are endless!
#3 Speechy Lite FREE
This app transcribes whatever is spoken into the microphone into writing, and is perfect for my older articulation kiddos to progress monitor speech in conversations and reading. I love how well the microphone in the app picks up speech, because it's truly an accurate representation of what it hears. My /r/ kiddos can visually SEE what happens when they glide, i.e. in the final position ("what! I said CAR not CAW!"). I also like it because it picks up "slang" which leaves great opportunity for discussion ("do we say WANNA??"). My students working on generating complete sentences love when I pull this out because it means less writing for them, but great opportunities for self-reflection. Win win!
This is another holy grail app. Don't have time prep verb cards?? Bitsboard. Don't have time to find those final consonant /k/ cards?? Bitsboard, Need something more engaging for busy hands? Bitsboard. I think you get the idea! Basically, you create boards (or "decks" is how I think of them) of cards that you can use in multiple ways: 

Photo Touch – a word is said aloud by the Bitsboard voice prompt and the child simply has to select the associated picture 

Memory – the classic Memory card game 

Pop Quiz – similar to Photo Touch but prompts the answer with two choices

Match up – the child needs to drag the picture to its matching spelling

Word Builder – a letter scrambling game

Spelling Bee – a picture card is shown, along with that word’s given number of letters (e.g. three spaces for the word “rug”) and the child has to spell that word

Bingo – a nine-space bingo board is used

Reader – the target word is spelled at the top of the app and the child needs to select the matching picture from a choice of three

Word Search – a classic word search game appropriate for kids around kindergarten or first grade and up. The target words, shown in pictures at the bottom of the screen are scattered (only forwards and not backwards!) throughout the grid either vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

My favorite way to use the app is to search in the catalog where other people have already created tons of boards! I'll search things like verbs, pronouns, big, out, categories, food, R words, S words... etc etc. Another cool feature is that you can search users. For example, if you select the settings “cog,” and select the fourth option in that menu: catalog, you can select the magnifying glass to search for "speech buddies." This then allows you to download their free articulation flashcards! It's amazing (and nooooo prep!!).
#1 HelpKidzLearn FREE
Everything on this site is amazing, especially if you have any students with visual and/or hearing impairment. There's so much to do and use that it's hard to sum it up, but their apps are really great for our kids, play around on the website and you'll quickly fall in love! 

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