In Part 1 of our “Getting Started with Apps in Speech Therapy” series, we share reasons why speech-language pathologists should integrate touch-screen tablets and apps into their clinical practice – and the most important reason is you, the speech therapy client. Whether you’ve survived a stroke, suffered a head injury, or are looking to slow the progression of neurological disease, your progress in therapy is their top priority, and so much more likely to happen faster when you also do speech therapy at home.
Here are 5 reasons why it just makes sense to use apps for speech therapy at home:
1) More Practice
It seems there is never enough speech therapy. Often there are limits to the number of sessions provided, with one to three hours a week of therapy considered generous. Waitlists, fees, transportation issues, staffing shortages, and therapy caps all contribute to decreased access to the therapy you need.
We know that more therapy is better. The brain requires intensive and repetitive skilled practice to change, a process known as neuroplasticity. People with acquired communication disorders are often unable to return to work and spend a lot of time on their own at home. They are willing to do exercises, but nobody is around to help them. With apps on an iPad or other touch-screen device, you can get more speech therapy practice.
Speech therapy computer software is not a new concept, but the touch-screen interfaces of tablets make it so much easier to access. Apps do not require a mouse and keyboard, which can be very intimidating when using a single or non-dominant hand. You are also freed from sitting at a desk or table by using a lightweight and portable tablet. Most apps are designed to be user-friendly, offering attractive and intuitive graphic interfaces not found in older software.
Speech therapy workbooks and computer software have previously been hard to come by, requiring mail orders from specialty providers at niche prices. Now tablets can be picked up at any electronics store, and apps can be downloaded instantly at home. While speech therapy apps are priced higher than mass-market game or productivity apps, they are far cheaper than the home practice products of past decades.
You can download any single Tactus Therapy app for $25 USD or less and use it forever. No subscriptions or hidden costs.
3) Convenience & Control
When therapy exercises are available on a tablet, you can practice at your convenience – anytime, anyplace. There’s no limit on how often or how long you can practice. If you’re currently in therapy, your speech-language pathologist can help you find the right exercises and show you how to best use them. You can even share your results with your therapist remotely.
Tactus Therapy apps work without Wi-Fi, so once you download them, you can use them anywhere, whether you have a data signal or not. Save e-mail reports as drafts to send once you’re connected.
Apps also help put you in control of your treatment. You decide what you want to work on at any given time. You can work independently or with a partner, depending on the app. It’s amazing how empowering it can be to have some responsibility for your rehabilitation and to see your progress in a measurable way.
Speech therapy apps frequently have many levels, so you can keep using them as you improve. Cues or hints may be available to help you get the right answer. Sounds, images, videos, animations, and recording bring activities to life. The interactive nature of apps means you’ll often get instant feedback on your accuracy, something no worksheet could ever offer.
If you grow bored with one activity, there are many others to keep you challenged and motivated. Your speech therapist may also offer advice on how you or your family can expand on activities within an app to add therapeutic value.
Speech therapy exercises are just one of many useful things you can do with a tablet. Once you’re comfortable using apps for speech therapy at home, you can also send email, search the web, read books, play games, watch videos, take pictures, get directions, schedule reminders, record appointments – you get the idea.
Millions of adults without communication disorders use tablets in their daily lives; adding speech therapy apps is one more way to make the tablet useful for you.
Time to Get Started
A recent survey found that most home users of speech therapy apps report a significant improvement. They also look to their speech therapist for advice. You need your therapist to make informed recommendations for your home practice so you can get the most out of treatment. Please share this “Getting Started” guide with your therapist, or visit the Home Use section of our website for help navigating on your own.
Part 3 in this 7-part series of “Getting Started with Apps in Speech Therapy” offers essential information for purchasing, using, and maintaining an iPad & apps. Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to receive the complete series in your inbox.
Did you see Part 1? Read the Top 10 Reasons for SLPs to Use Apps in Speech Therapy.
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