The various touch screen devices from apple such as the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad can be great resources to help children develop a variety of skills related to speech and language development.
There are a number of resources to help identify useful apps and find programs that are a good match for your child. iTunes has a number of subcategories under the topic of education, including accessibility and special needs. The Moms with Apps website and app has a number of family friendly apps sorted by category with descriptions. App Shopper and App Advice are apps designed to help evaluate and sort through the many available options. Pacer Center has several people knowledgeable about apps and provides some additional information on their website. While a few apps can be used by children independently, the majority of the communication results from interaction with an adult while interacting with the apps. For older children, it is often fun to let them learn an app and encourage them to explain it to you!
For children just beginning to talk, the apps by outfit7 such as Talking Tomcat 2 can be highly motivating. The animated character repeats what is said in a funny voice.
App developer kindergarten.com offers a number of free flashcard sets that can be used for picture description and sentence construction and some grammatical forms. They also offer a number of discrete trial applications where the child is asked to identify an item based on name, function, or feature. These apps can be found by searching kindergarten.com on your device’s app store. More information is available at their weTime management apps such as Diner Dash and Supermarket Mania are fun for older kids. These apps allow them to talk about expectations in the situation, their own experiences, and why the customers are satisfied or unsatisfied. These apps also involve a lot of decision making and problem solving. Often something is added on each level so it is an opportunity to discuss the new tasks as they appear. Similar apps are available for other situations such as a clothing store, hair salon, and bank.
The App Story Kit allows you to import pictures and add text and voice to make books. This is a great way to help your child find pictures about their topics of interest and expand their ability to talk about the items. Children I work with have enjoyed going back and hearing their own recordings about their pictures.
The mobile education store offers a number of apps designed to support communication. Sentence Builder involves choosing the correct words to make a grammatically correct sentence about a picture. It has several levels and a great variety of reinforcers. Other apps from these developers have also received good reviews.
The food maker apps appeal to a wide variety of ages. One example is Pie Maker these apps involve going through a series of steps to make and decorate the target food. They work well for practice with sequencing while making the item and describing when decorating what has been made. Similar apps include cupcake maker, donut maker and cookie maker.In this age of technology, we are discovering apps are a great tool for children of all ages and abilities to grow in their communication skills.
Our newsletter often features lists of apps we like. Be sure to check it out. In order to keep up to date with all the latest apps, continually check the iTunes website as well as websites such as Moms with Apps and Kindergarten.com.