Thank you to Melissa Angelo and Deborah Clark for this post about their experiences with iPads in the speech-language program in Burlington.
Last year, the elementary school speech-language pathologists received iPads to use with their students. They were an immediate hit. Aside from the “cool factor”, we found them to be a new way to engage our students in their speech-language therapy as well as an effective means to address their goals. We developed a set of iPad rules (e.g., clean hands, no grabbing, waiting your turn), and then we were off to explore and learn (and even have our students teach us a thing or two!)
We have used the iPads to target a variety of speech and language skills including articulation, fluency, grammar, following directions, narrative development, vocabulary development, oral comprehension, and social/pragmatic skills. We have tried out dozens of apps. Some of our favorites include the following: “Lemonade Stand” for cooperative learning, problem solving, and inferencing; “Dictionary.com” as a quick reference for vocabulary tasks and writing; “Stories2Learn” for creating social stories when problems occur in social situations; “Grammar Dragon” for learning parts of speech; “My Play Home” for following directions and expressive language; and “Super Stretch” for yoga, movement exercises, and relaxation.
With the iPad 2, we are now able to project apps onto our interactive whiteboards as well as onto Apple TV, which comes in handy for larger group lessons. Recently, we used the Google Earth app on the whiteboard with our younger students in order to find their houses. We found this to be an incredibly motivating way for some of our students to remember their home addresses in case of emergency.
Since using the iPads, we have seen improvements in turn-taking with our younger students, an increase in expressive language output with some of our autistic students, and an overall increase in sustained attention to task. Our students who are working to improve their articulation skills can access a variety of voice recording apps to self-assess the accuracy of their sound production.
In the relatively short time that we have been using the iPads, we feel that not only are we addressing some of our students speech and language goals, but we are also introducing them to the technology that surrounds them daily. As technology is constantly evolving, we look forward to evolving with it.
Melissa Angelo and Deborah Clark