Both Robyn and I have been using an iPad in therapy for a while and have found these particular apps useful in our practices. We have seen children become more motivated to participate in therapy and make progress faster. We have also witnessed children who previously had no other method of communication, besides gestures or signs, be able to make choices and express their own thoughts through the use of some of the AAC apps. We view this new technology as a great way to approach communication for children with or without a diagnosed issue. We are excited to see what the future will bring in the use of iPads and tablets in the treatment of communication disorders. Robyn and I do not have any financial relationship with any of the companies or websites that are referenced in the extended app list.
These are a few of my favorite apps that I use in therapy on a daily basis. Check out the extended list for many, many more useful apps with our own reviews.
Click N Talk:
I use this app for use as an AAC (Augmentative Alternative Communication) tool. You can create your own picture stories and boards using your own pictures. The app allows you to record your voice using the level that the child would be using such as single words up to complete sentences.
VAST-Core 1 Vocabulary:
This app was designed for children on the Autism spectrum to encourage imitation skills without the visual distraction of watching another person, which can be difficult for some children. I have also found it useful for articulation practice for syllables and single words, particulary with children that have motor planning difficulty (ie. Apraxia). It is amazing to watch how they immediately begin imitating the movements and often verbally imitating on the first try.
Bugs and Buttons:
This app is very entertaining and educational at the same time. It has great games that work on counting, matching, sorting letter and number recognition. It is definitely fun, but the child is building these pre-academic skills the whole time.
Most of the apps featured on our list are free, but can range from .99 to $4.99. It is always a good idea to read the reviews before purchasing apps to see if they are age appropriate for your child or clients. A good way to receive offers for free apps is through Apps for Autism by liking them on Facebook. Each day they offer different apps for free that are not always specific to children with Autism. It is a good way to try apps out without spending a lot of money.
From personal experience it is highly recommended that if you are using an iPad or tablet with your own child or your clients that you use some type of protective cover. Unfortunately, I learned this lesson the hard way when my own four year old dropped the iPad on a cement floor. Needless to say I was sick, but luckily it only cracked the corners and a little bit of the screen (if you can call that lucky). As always, purchasing insurance for your device is a good idea, especially if you are using the device with multiple clients or your child is using their device as their primary mode of communication. Learn from me and avoid the mistake that I made!