Speech therapy apps offer enjoyable and interactive ways to support speech and language development for individuals who need it. They can be beneficial for children who are just starting to learn to speak or those with speech-related conditions that may cause delays, for example, autism spectrum disorder. These apps often include engaging features like voice playback and interactive games for practicing and enhancing language and speech skills.
These apps can play an important role in supporting speech and language development in individuals with autism by providing accessible, personalized, engaging, and data-driven interventions. These are tailored to those individuals’ unique needs and abilities. However, it is important to keep in mind that speech therapy apps should not replace professional speech-language therapy. They can be used as a supplement or additional support to traditional speech therapies which are followed under the supervision of a qualified and professional speech-language pathologist.
Speech therapy apps are easily accessed on various devices, such as laptops, tablets, or smartphones. This feature makes them more convenient and portable for individuals with autism to use at their own pace in their own environment, and according to their own schedule.
Many speech therapy apps offer customizable and personalized features. So, they can be tailored to the individual needs and abilities of the user. This can include adjusting the difficulty level, targeting specific goals, or providing visual support to accommodate different learning styles.
Speech therapy apps are often designed to be interactive and engaging. This feature is particularly beneficial for individuals with autism who may have difficulties with attention, motivation, or social interaction. These apps include multimedia elements to get the user’s attention, and interest and encourage their participation in speech therapy activities. These elements can be videos, images, and audio cues.
These apps provide opportunities and alternatives for repeated practice of speech and language skills. It is actually very important for skill development and generalization. Users with autism can practice their targets in a controlled and structured environment. They can receive immediate feedback to improve their accuracy and fluency. It is very beneficial over time.
Many speech therapy apps offer data collection and progress-tracking features. This allows users, caregivers, and providers to monitor the individual’s performance, track progress, and make data-driven decisions. These data are especially important to understand the effectiveness of the therapy.
These apps provide individuals with autism flexibility. They can work on their speech and language goals independently at their own pace and in a more comfortable environment. This can empower them in order to take ownership of their own therapy process and promote their independence and self-confidence in their communication skills.
How to Choose Proper Speech Therapy Apps for Individuals With Autism
Even though it can be challenging sometimes, choosing proper speech therapy apps for individuals with autism is a thoughtful and informed process. There are some considerations listed below that you need to keep in mind when choosing one:
- Goals and Objectives: You need to start with identifying the specific goals and objectives that the individual with autism is working on. You need to choose apps that align with these goals. These goals can target articulation, vocabulary, grammar, or even social skills.
- Evidence-Based Practice: It is important to choose an evidence-based practice that has been developed or reviewed by professionals in speech and language therapy. You can consider apps that have been validated through research or have positive reviews and recommendations.
- Customization and Flexibility: You need to choose apps that offer customization and flexibility features. In this way, the difficulty level can be adjusted, specific skills can be targeted, and the content can be personalized according to the individual’s needs and abilities. This can ensure that the app can be adapted to the unique learning style and abilities of the individual with autism.
- Engagement and Interactivity: You need to consider apps that are engaging and interactive. There are some helpful features in this context. These could be videos, images, audio, interactive games, and rewards. These features help motivate the individual with autism to participate in therapy activities, maintain their interest and develop their attention.
- Accessibility and User-Friendliness: It is important to choose apps that are user-friendly and accessible, with clear instructions, intuitive navigation, and visual support. Apps should have simple and user-friendly interfaces. So, they can be more effective because of the fact that those individuals may have difficulties with complex instructions or navigating them.
- Data Collection and Progress Tracking: Data collection and progress tracking features can be important to see the progress by monitoring the individual’s performance and tracking progress. You could have data-driven decisions to understand the effectiveness of the therapy. This can help in making adjustments to the therapy plan as needed as well.
- Safety and Privacy: It can be even vital when it comes to individuals with autism. So, you need to ensure that the app has appropriate safety and privacy measures in place, especially if it involves sharing personal information or data. You should choose apps that comply with relevant privacy regulations and have security measures to protect the individual’s personal info.
- Cost and Availability: Even though it doesn’t look important, you need to consider the cost and availability of the app because it shouldn’t be a one-time app. So, you need to pay attention to subscriptions. Because after the individual gets used to using the app, it will not be easy to change their routine and habits. You need to evaluate the app’s value for money in advance to fit your budget.
- Professional Guidance: It should be always your priority to consult with a qualified speech-language pathologist or other professionals. It is important to get their recommendations and guidance on selecting speech therapy apps to work on specific areas.
By considering these factors, you can make a wiser decision when it comes to choosing speech therapy apps for individuals with autism. You need to ensure that the selected apps align with the individual’s needs and goals. They should be evidence-based, customizable, engaging, accessible, and user-friendly. Even though it doesn’t look important, they have to have appropriate safety and privacy measures. Consulting with a professional can also provide valuable guidance in the selection process.
What Do Speech Therapy Apps Include?
There are specific targets when it is time to develop apps for speech and language development. Even though the features and activities vary from app to app, they have similar purposes. Like many other cases in speech therapies, when it comes to developing a new app, it is a wise move to consult a professional. It will be a good thing to ask for their professional recommendations and approaches. They can give you a hint about speech therapy plans.
Speech therapy apps may include articulation exercises. With these exercises, individuals focus on specific speech sounds or sound combinations. These exercises often include practice activities. For example, repeating words or phrases, recording and playing back speech, and receiving feedback on articulation accuracy.
These apps may include activities as well. These activities target vocabulary development, including identifying and labeling objects, animals, actions, and concepts. There are some visual supports included to help them associate words with their meanings. These visual supports can be pictures, drawings, or illustrations.
There are speech therapy apps that include activities that target grammar and syntax skills. These skills are forming sentences, using correct verb tenses, and understanding word order. Visual cues, exercise for building sentences, and practicing the structure of the sentences could be those exercises.
Some speech therapy apps may focus on social skills as well. Since individuals with autism have difficulty with social skills, these apps provide some social cues, turn-taking activities, and cues for engaging in conversation. There are also videos, interactive scenarios, and practice opportunities for social interactions including these apps.
There are some apps as well that may include targeting fluency and stuttering. Individuals on the spectrum can work on their slow speech, breathing, and stuttering. These apps also include visual and auditory cues to show them how it is supposed to be. They are accepted as guidance.
Speech therapy apps may include activities that target auditory processing and listening skills. Anything related to auditory can be targeted in these apps. These activities on these apps may help to listen to and to process the language that is spoken in the environment. These apps also help them to, identify sounds, syllables, phrases, and auditory directions.
These apps include activities that target pragmatic language skills as well. These skills can be understanding the spoken language in the environment, using appropriate language in social contexts, making requests, expressing emotions and feelings, and understanding nonverbal communication cues and mimics with the help of videos and illustrations.
Many speech therapy apps allow for personalization and customization. This feature allows great adaptability of the app to the specific needs and abilities of these individuals. This may include adjusting the difficulty level, choosing specific targets, and personalizing settings.
Some speech therapy apps may offer data collection and progress-tracking features. The process can be easily monitored over time. Track performance can be evaluated. Data-driven decisions are made about the effectiveness of the therapy.
You can choose speech therapy apps that include reward or reinforcement systems in order to motivate individuals with autism to engage in activities or complete the given tasks. This may include different tokens such as earning points, unlocking levels, or receiving positive feedback and reinforcement for the successful completion of activities. It can be something online or physical that is provided by the primary caregivers.
There are multiple activities included in the “Articulation Station” app in order to help individuals with autism to practice words, phrases, and sentences. These activities help them in order to develop their speech skills over time. These activities are basically flashcards with more than 1200 pictures including short stories to teach rhymes with pictures, short stories including long sentences, matching games, rotating sentences, and unique sentences. All of them target specific sounds and words. It is also possible to personalize games according to your child’s needs since each child on the spectrum is unique.
This app offers 4 different levels that can be chosen according to an individual’s needs and preferences. Even though it is designed for toddlers, it can be used for older children as well. Over time, you will see the development of your toddler’s language and speech with the help of this app. All the levels differ according to the child’s need and ability to mimic the words. While level 1 includes one-word tasks, level 4 includes four-word tasks and sentences. These levels vary according to both developmental levels and ages. While designing this app, the focus was mainly on nouns, adjectives, and verbs that are highly used in routine daily life.
It is an app that uses 2D animated movies. This app allows users to see each sound production without obstructions like the tongue since it provides side and front views inside the mouth. The app offers a variety of animations, prompts, and practice opportunities with tips. These tips are obtained from professionals in the field. It also allows users to play movies at different speeds. In this way, it can be played in the background while practicing. So, it allows you to compare yourself. There are 3 different speed options to choose from according to your speech ability and needs. The ability to adjust the speed of animated movies allows for a visual representation of how sounds are formed in the mouth and throat. It makes that process more manageable and accessible to produce even difficult sounds.
LAMP Words for Life
LAMP is Language Acquisition through Motor Planning (LAMP) therapeutic approach. This app is specifically designed for individuals on the autism spectrum to develop their speech skills. It helps them to develop speech and conversation. This app offers a systematic and consistent motor pattern for some specific areas. Word production is one of them. In this way, it offers unlimited language growth opportunities. There is a symbols-based approach in the app which makes it suitable for both non-verbal individuals on the spectrum and older ones with advanced language skills. Each picture symbol on the front page represents a verb, noun, adjective, and category.
LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book
It is a fun way to introduce specific concepts and words to children. The categories include animals, fruits and vegetables, colors, activities, food, jobs, and more. There are 100 age-appropriate words but if you purchase for a child with autism, it will be always proper. When you hit the button, you will hear how to pronounce it first, then it allows you to repeat the word. In this way, a child can learn the word, its meaning, and how to say it. Also, it is good for bilingual children because it includes both English and Spanish versions of the words. LeapFrog Learning Friends 100 Words Book (Frustration Free Packaging), Green (amazon.com)
Alilo Starter Learn to Read, 3 Interactive Books 100 Flashcards 500 Recording Stickers ABC Card
It is a very interactive book to support your children to talk and even tell stories. It makes children love to listen, read, and talk. Thanks to the pen it comes with, when you touch the spots on the book, you will hear the stories. There are 100 flashcards that include fairy tales, nursery rhymes, and soothing music. Also, these cards help to teach animals, transportation, places, and more while making them more fun. These cards also stimulate the imagination of these children. Alilo Starter Learn to Read, 3 Interactive Books 100 Flashcards 500 Recording Stickers ABC Card for Toddlers, Preschool Educational Toys, Age 2-6 (amazon.com)
Wenbeier Kids Tablet/Kids Phone ABC Learning for Toddlers Teach Letters, Words, Numbers, and Music
Even though it is designed for early education, it can be used for the speech development of children with autism. It will be your child’s first mobile phone for educational purposes. It is an interactive toy including letters, words, and numbers. It is highly portable that can be carried everywhere easily. With this toy, also as a parent, you will be able to reduce electronics exposure. Amazon.com: Kids Tablet/Kids Phone ABC Learning for Toddlers Teach Letters, Words,Numbers and Music – Early Educational Tablet for Kids 3 Years+: Toys & Games