Times are uncertain, especially for schools. Although no one can foresee what SLP therapy will look like over the next school year for students and the school-based speech-language pathologists who serve them, we can assume technology will play a role. If you’re a school-based SLP, prepare yourself now by exploring and practicing with tools, apps and games that can provide excellent support during therapy sessions once school begins.
We’re partial to these resources, many of which are universal tools that will prove themselves useful both in person and via teletherapy.
Speech Stickers – This app is designed to target the very early stages of apraxia therapy. While it is simple in design, it is highly effective for targeting apraxia and keeping the child engaged. The child can practice sounds in isolation and in consonant-vowel and vowel-consonant combos. We give it two thumbs up and feel it’s well-worth the $14.99 one-time cost.
Articulation Test Center Pro – Created by speech language pathologists, Articulation Test Center Pro provides all the tools required to assess English-speaking children and adults of all ages. This app is made by the company that makes Articulation Station. It is a screener and/or a full articulation assessment all in one. Although it is not standardized, it will generate a report and treatment recommendations. There are four screening options based on the age of the child you are testing. It is user-friendly: with a simple tap, you can mark sound deletions, substitutions, and phonological processes. It allows an option to collect a speech sample for analysis. The app has a one-time cost of $59.99, and unlimited testing is available.
Speech Tutor Pro – The material within Speech Tutor Pro combines content from five of the best-selling apps in the industry including SLP Friendly Screener, Articulation Decks, and Articulation Videos to exemplify correct placement. The material has been fine-tuned and combined so the resources can be accessed easily without the need for multiple apps for students with a variety of needs. The app also provides a speech therapy portal that allows access to new material on a weekly basis. Materials can be shared, saved, and/or printed to send for homework. Speech Tutor Pro is offered for a one-time fee of $39.99.
Video Touch – Hands-down, this is a highly favored app used by pediatric-based speech therapists. Intervention possibilities are endless including requesting, describing, turn taking, following directions, etc. The app can be purchased separately or in a bundle (includes animals, wild birds, insects, vehicles, music, and underwater creatures). The child can simply tap on an animal and watch a 10-20 second video clip. For example, there is an adorable cat playing with toilet paper, a double decker bus racing through the streets of London, and every little boy’s favorite: a garbage truck picking up trash. Each animal typically rotates through four separate videos. This app never fails to entertain and engage children. Perfect and simple. The entire bundle is $13.99, and if you want to sample just one category, it’s an affordable $3.99. You’ll be hooked, and so will the children you’re working with!
Grammaropolis – Hailed as the Schoolhouse Rock of the 21st century, this app demonstrates a very thorough and comprehensive way of defining the eight parts of speech, including songs, stories, videos, and games. It uses animated characters who act out their personalities based on their word/role, from a “shady pronoun always trying to take the noun’s place to the motherly conjunction who simply wants to get along,” this app achieves the seemingly impossible and makes learning grammar and syntax fun. Access to the entire app comes at a one-time cost of $5.99.
Barrier Games – Barrier games simply involve placing a “barrier” between you and the child. In person, it can be physical, virtually it’s the distance. The goal is to try and duplicate the other player's scene utilizing verbal instructions. This strategy is very effective for developing listening skills, oral language, social language, understanding and using concepts. A great example of an in-person barrier game is Battleship. Virtually, since you’re in two different places, it means there is a natural “barrier” that works well in this scenario.
For a barrier game to be effective you need two identical sets of materials, such as Legos, blocks, or miniatures (people, animals, vehicles, etc.); worksheets with cutouts; and picture sets, stickers or colored pencils. The speech therapist takes turns as talker and listener. First, the talker explains precisely what they are going to do with their item(s). The listener must then perform the same action on their side. When verbal instructions are finished, the listener and the talker can compare the final product and have a dialogue about what was correct and/or incorrect. Barrier games can easily transition between virtual and in person, making it a good go-to option during these unpredictable times.