Speech therapy software: It’s widely available, easy to implement into a speech therapy plan and, by most accounts, very effective with the youngest patients.
Surveys show that nearly three-quarters of all speech therapy patients use software to practice at home, and 89 percent saw noticeable improvements.
Maybe it’s time to abandon the flashcards and consider the value of implementing speech therapy software for your pediatric patients.
During therapy sessions, your goal is to engage patients and try to maximize the interaction… But how do you encourage kids to keep making strides when you’re not around? Software solutions and apps are just what you need to entice, encourage, and motivate your young patients between therapy sessions. After all, it doesn’t take much persuading to get kids to pick up an iPad.
Here’s our picks of the top interactive speech therapy software and apps that’ll keep your pediatric patients engaged in the learning process—and having a good time while they’re at it—when you’re not around.
- TalkTime with Tucker
Ages: PreK-grade 4
What it is: Desktop software
Who it’s for: Reluctant talkers (autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, physical disabilities, and language-learning disorders)
It’s no secret that kids respond best to animated characters, so right off the bat, TalkTime with Tucker’s character hits the right note. This voice-activated program encourages kids to vocalize. To get Tucker to move and talk, kids will need to speak into the microphone and talk Tucker through a series of adventures – something sure to keep them on the edge of their seat.
Tucker can navigate five themed adventures, including On the Farm, an activity that will have your kids so caught up in making animal sounds they won’t even realize they’re actually doing articulation exercises. As the animals on the farm make their sounds, they’ll ask the child to parrot them back. Once the youngster makes the sound, the animal gives Tucker something to put in his wheelbarrow, delivering that all-motivating endorphin spike we all know from playing Candy Crush.
Another themed adventure, Fantasyland, encourages kids to raise their voices. As they speak louder into the mic, they’re actually able to make Tucker take flight. Though a bunch of fantasy creatures will come out of the woodwork to impede Tucker’s progress, all kids have to do is repeat a word to get him through the hairy situation. We love this feature because it keeps things moving while providing additional nuggets of excitement as kids make their way through Tucker’s adventures.
- Tiger’s Tale
Ages: PreK-grade 6
What it is: Desktop software
Who it’s for: Children with voice, fluency, and articulation disorders, autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, emotional disorders, and pragmatic disabilities
Tiger’s Tale encourages kids to speak for a tiger that’s “lost” his voice. One of the coolest things about this program is that kids can record their own voice and hear it played back to them. As Tiger searches for his lost voice, a series of characters show up to ask players questions and the responses are digitally recorded.
Once each choose-your-own-challenge is complete, kids can then replay the entire thing to see a complete movie of their latest adventure and hear their voice speaking for Tiger and interacting with other characters. If a character asks children to answer and they don’t respond, the story keeps moving as a way to keep kids engaged. This feature is awesome for kids who might be initially reluctant to interact with the program.
We love this program because it achieves the perfect blend of positive reinforcement and support, which keeps kids feeling empowered and ready to tackle more adventures.
- Speech Therapy for Apraxia App
What it is: App for iPad, Kindle, Nook, or Android tablets
Who it’s for: Children with apraxia
A board-certified SLP with some help from the National Association for Child Development, created this app designed to help target apraxia in children. With eight progressively difficult levels, it’s an app that works for children of all ages.
Depending on the needs of the child, one of eight consonant groups (19 consonant sounds) can be selected. Audio and colorful illustrations accompany each syllable, and the program gives the option to either repeat a level or move on to the next.
While arguably not as flashy or engaging as other speech apps, we ae big fans of the app’s smooth configuration that takes kids seamlessly through increasingly difficult syllables and levels.
- Articulation Station (Pro)
What it is: App for iPhone and iPad
Who it’s for: Anyone with speech delays
Chances are good that you won’t be hearing any moans of boredom when your kids are using Articulation Station, thanks to its colorful, real-life photos, six activities, and several levels of difficulty that allow them to work from the word levels to the sentence levels, and then finally to the story levels. Motivation is the name of the game with Articulation Station, and it doesn’t disappoint.
There are a lot of things that make this app so popular, including its bright, engaging design and ease of use, but we love it because it offers voice recording for immediate feedback, scoring and other data tracking that’ll keep you in the loop on your kids’ progress.
Activities include flashcards that featured 60 target words for each sound, a matching game, rotating sentences that feature 3+ target words per sentence, and two levels of stories that include plenty of target words. There’s plenty here to keep your kids interested and coming back for more.
- Webber Hear It! Say It! Learn It! Interactive Book-Software Program
Ages: PreK-grade 3
What it is: Interactive book software program
Who it’s for: Children with voice, fluency, articulation and auditory processing disorders
Webber’s Hear It! Say It! Learn It! is a speech sound awareness and phonics program that includes workbooks and an interactive CD-ROM. It teaches 16 speech sounds and phonemic awareness through scripted lessons that encourage children to listen for a sound, and then articulate it.
A target sound is introduced, followed by a story and several tasks that feature this sound throughout. As your kids becomes familiar with the target sound, more activities that focus on sound and letter identification can be introduced.
This program is a more formal option than other apps, but for kids who thrive on structure, the workbook-guided design hits the mark. The directions are easy to follow, and kids are sure to be drawn to the cute pictures, although it lacks the vibrant graphics that similar programs offer. For this reason, it is best for the youngest of learners.
- Emerson College offers a Master's in Speech-Language Pathology online - Prepare to become an SLP in as few as 20 months. No GRE required. Scholarships available.
- NYU Steinhardt's Master of Science in Communicative Sciences and Disorders online - ASHA-accredited. GRE and bachelor's degree required. Graduate prepared to pursue licensure.
- Baylor’s Master of Communication Sciences and Disorders online - Bachelor's and GRE scores required. Complete full time in 20 months or part time in 28 months.