10 Apps for Speech Language Pathologists
By Jennifer Larson, contributor
Best Apps for Speech and Language Therapy- A Must Have List
Mobile applications, or apps, now touch every part of our daily life, from entertainment and personal convenience to professional practice. In fact, there are dozens of apps that can be used in speech-language pathologist jobs alone.
But which speech therapy apps are worth considering?
The answer will vary depending on your individual therapy patients.
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Why use apps in speech therapy?
According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), using mobile devices and apps with children can offer some advantages. Children often enjoy using them, which helps to keep them motivated.
Some speech therapy apps are most appropriately used in the educational setting, while others can be incorporated into the clinical therapy setting and/or used at home to reinforce therapy goals. And some can be used by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to track a patient’s progress.
For example, SLP Progress Monitoring is an app for Android devices that helps the SLP user gather data and track students’ progress.
Nashville-based SLP Heather Gillum likes the newer iPad-based assessment tools such as the Clinical Assessment of Language Fundamentals, which is a new version of a longstanding, reliable test. The new digital version automatically calculates the scores during the assessment and saves time, she noted.
10 top speech therapy apps
Here are 10 of the most popular apps currently being used and recommended by speech language pathologists. Browse our list as the first step in researching which speech therapy apps might be most appropriate for your practice and your individual patients:
1. Articulation Station. (iTunes) This free app can be used on iPad or iPhone and is designed to help children practice at the “word, sentence and story levels in 22 sounds in the English language.” It can be used by SLPs, parents and other educators to work with children and adults with speech sound delays. A $59.99 Pro version is also available.
2. Articulation Games. (iTunes) This iPad app, available for $34.99, helps users practice speech sounds. It uses four different games to make working on articulation skills exciting and motivating. There’s also a free “lite” version available for download.
3. Let’s Use Language. (iTunes) One of several apps offered by Everyday Speech, this $4.99 app focuses on literary-based language development. It uses 10 stories to teach the language concepts of vocabulary, sequencing, categories and opposites, including 40 total lessons. Expanded Pro version also available.
4. Conversation Therapy. (iTunes & Google Play) Speech-language pathologists can help people who have had a stroke, live with autism, or have a speech or language impairment get talking with this app that sparks conversation. Available for $19.99.
5. ABC Food. (iTunes) At only $2.99, this fun, award-winning app can help children learn how to use descriptive language. It teaches new words through sight, sound and touch, incorporating food-related pictures, sounds, videos and interactive games. Or check out Peapod Labs’ other ABC apps such as ABC Bugs, ABC Wildlife, ABC Music and more.
6. Speech Essentials. (Google Play) This speech therapy app for Android devices features games, flashcards and activities to make articulation practice fun and engaging. It can be used by SLPs or parents to practice the techniques taught in therapy. Try the “B” sound for free, then pay $1.99 per sound or purchase the full SLP app suite at a discounted rate.
7. Speech Trainer 3-D. (iTunes) This $7.99 speech therapy app for iPhone and iPad was created specifically to help individuals with speech-sound disorders and English language learners. The app features animated videos of the mouth making consonant and vowel sounds.
8. I Can Have Conversations With You! (iTunes) This app was designed to boost understanding and expression for a verbal child with autism. Packed with videos, photos, audio clips, reward screens and interactive cues, this speech therapy app can help kids (6+ years) who struggle with the words, gestures and feelings that others are expressing.
9. SpeechBox for Articulation. (iTunes) This easy-to-use app was designed for children with autism, apraxia, and other speech language disorders. It is also appropriate for stroke patients. Includes over 700 engaging colorful pictures in 34 categories, plus professionally recorded word prompts; SLPs can also add their own word prompts and notes for targeted words. Available for iPhone and iPad for $19.99.
10. Speech Tutor. (iTunes) SLP practitioners, speech therapy students or parents can use this speech therapy app to see how sounds are made inside the mouth. The animations allow users to “see through” parts of the mouth that have been made transparent, with a side view and a front view of each sound production. Animations can be viewed at three different speeds, and paused at any point. Price: $3.99.
RELATED: Speech Language Pathologists in Schools: 10 Tips for Success
The limits of speech therapy apps
When considering any speech therapy app to use in your SLP practice, it is important to remember that apps have their limits.
Even the most widely-used apps may not be appropriate for every patient or client. Some patients have very complex communication needs, and so there may be accessibility concerns. They may not be able to use an app on a mobile device due to certain limitations.
Depending on their particular needs, speech therapy patients may need another type of tool to help them communicate effectively with the world.
ASHA takes the position that a formal, team-based assistive technology assessment must first be conducted to determine the most appropriate device (and app) for an individual who needs augmentative assistive alternative communication (AAC).
Taking the time to educate and share your expertise is also paramount.
“A tool is only successful when it’s a fit for a person and someone is teaching them how to use it,” said Mary Alice Favro, MA, CCC-SLP, clinical assistant professor, and clinical and training director of the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program at the University of Vermont.
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