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Many educational apps can be easily incorporated into the therapy setting and can be used to collect data, record conversational samples, motivate students and/or be used as an augmentative assistive device. Every therapist has their favorites and choosing the most appropriate apps may depend on your child and his/her needs. Some of our favorites include:

1. Articulation station: This is a fabulous articulation app that allows you to choose the target phoneme, level and position. It has an interactive feature which allows you to record a student practicing the target sounds. This aids in developing self-monitoring and self-correcting skills. The app also provides carryover opportunities with reading passages including target sounds. 

2. Conversation therapy: This app is better suited for older patients. Pictures are presented and a variety of targets can be addressed including: describing, defining, remembering, deciding, feelings, inferring, predicting, narrating, evaluating, brainstorming. Responses can be evaluated and documented in the application based on goals.  

3. Putt-Putt series apps: A super cute and interactive app in a variety of contexts (Putt-Putt joins the parade, saves the zoo, goes to the moon, enters the race, joins the circus, travels through time). Helps kids to increase problem-solving skills in creative ways while being able to answer ‘wh’ questions with guidance (what is the problem? who needs help? where does he want to go? why should he use that tool? what would happen if we…)

4. Let’s be social: social skills app: This app is great for kids who need to practice understanding and interpreting social situations and ‘why’ things may happen or how they could be made better. It is a great app for kids with pragmatic challenges. 

5. Speech flip book: This app allows the therapist to choose the sound/position based on the child’s goals. This app is great for apraxia and articulation practice. 

6. Speech with Milo: Discover the adventures of Milo (and friends) through his different apps, which help kids practice sequencing, understanding and using verbs and prepositions. 

  • Sequence: Sequence different stories by putting pictures in order. When the pictures are all in the correct order, a short video of the story will play to highlight your hard work! Make the task more or less challenging with/without written descriptions or story title.
  • Verbs: Watch Milo doing different actions in single form (words) or while a phrase is being said. Children hear the grammatically appropriate way for formulate sentences/phrases and the correct action(s) associated with the word.
  • Prepositions: Watch Milo correctly demonstrate knowledge of the preposition chosen (behind; he will go behind the tree, on; he will go on the carousel). Children can practice using prepositions in a variety of ways to demonstrate understanding after practicing with the app.

7. iSequence: A great app developed by an early intervention center for autism. The application comes with settings to include as much or as little within each activity as the child’s skill set allows. The app also allows you to work with both concrete and abstract situations to practice skills for ‘what will happen next’, ‘what will happen if…’, and  determining feelings/emotions. 

8. The monster at the end of this book (1,2): This is an interactive book app for the older child, featuring Grover, from Sesame Street. The book allows kids to comment, problem solve, retell and answer questions regarding each scene as the story is read. The app provides discussion prompts to help with guidance as well. Additionally, the words of the story ‘pop-up’ as Grover narrates so that kids can follow along flawlessly.

Apps we like specifically for Toddlers include:

1. 100 words for babies/toddlers: With this app, children are exposed to a variety of images within a targeted category (e.g. pets, farm, zoo, clothing, bath, vegetables, fruit, etc.) The educational benefits include: vocabulary acquisition, image and word recognition, fine motor development (if age appropriate).

2. Sound touch app: This is a wonderful app for practicing both expressive and receptive language. Toddlers/children can listen to the sounds of animals and common objects; parents/therapists can address receptive language by asking functional yes/no questions after a sound is heard (example, was that a cow? a duck? a train?). If the child is capable of more than a yes/no response, a follow up question can be targeted for expressive communication and comprehension (example: You’re right that wasn’t a duck. What animal made that sound?)

3. Elmo loves ABC’s: A great (and adorable) app that allows your child to work on upper and lowercase letters and their sounds. Associations of letters/sounds are applied to pictured objects as well. There are game options which are interactive and fun for kids to play!

4. My play home: Amazing! This app offers an interactive dollhouse where everything in the house can be used and/or manipulated. Children can create dialogue or follow therapist/parent directions during structured play/speech sessions. This tool can be used to help develop vocabulary, sequencing, following directions; formulating grammatically appropriate sentences and using accurate pronouns and prepositions. 

5. Bubbles: A basic app that allows little ones to practice cause and effect (what will happen if/first/then) situations just by popping bubbles. It can be a great way to practice visual tracking, increase motivation, and allow therapists/parents to insert language with each trial. 

As a note, applications are meant to be used a tool to engage, practice and motivate children to achieve their goals. Technology applications should not be used to replace therapists (or parents)!  Everyday there is more and more research available which shows that large amounts of screen time can be harmful to young children, especially those who present speech and/or language delays. Make sure to always monitor the amount of screen time your child is exposed to.