Utilizing Technology for Speech and Language to Prevent Summer Slide
Summer break is here for many children or just around the corner for others. With this freedom comes concerns of regression for children that receive Speech and Language and other services. This is the time when many speech language pathologists will suggest technology options for kids that will not have summer sessions or will be away for extended periods of time.
Apps and online games that may be utilized for speech and language have come a long way. For families that own tablets or have computers with internet access, there are a number of resources. Another positive is that many of these items will be friendly to multilingual learners and assist all members of their family. With some knowledge of what each family has available at home, it is possible to give each child their own list of apps/games to use in order to strengthen their speech and language goals.
Connecting with Kids and Families
Many may question using apps or computer games with kids when there are other options. One major reason is that they connect with kids, as well as family members who will be working with them. These nontraditional tools may be used to work on sequencing, vocabulary, articulation, pragmatics, speaking confidence, and beyond. Online games and apps are a wonderful way to give many options that are often free to families. With an interest inventory, you can locate apps that will appeal to individual interests and mold the activities for their speech goals. Perhaps one child likes dinosaurs, while another is fascinated with baking. All of these can be worked with based on the operating system that the family may have (Android, Apple, or Windows).
Free Options That Anyone Can Access with Technology
A lot of traditional speech and language tools are on the expensive side for families and many are not portable. Apps on tablets allow you to be able to take them while traveling and to obtain new items as needed. There are countless free apps available to download. While most may not have been made for use with speech and language goals in mind, they can be integrated. Take your student interest inventory and head to websites that have lists of options and narrow them down for each child’s needs. Some great resources are:
- Smart Apps for Kids – apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPods.
- Smart Apps for Android – apps for Android devices.
- Smart Apps for Special Needs – apps geared for special needs where there is a drop down menu with items for Speech/Language
Search on these websites for speech and language, multilingual, or other areas. Remember that apps allow you to find creative solutions that work with different age levels and student needs. Thinking outside of the box and adding a mix of Angry Birds or Toca Boca Hair Salon may mean the difference in actively engaging kids over time.