High tech tools for speech therapyOctober 15, 2014
(Jacksonville, Florida) Like many kids, William Brown is comfortable with new technology. "I use it for like games, and apps." And now, he uses it to work on his pronunciation. During sessions with his speech language pathologist, and when he's at home, using apps on an iPad. "It's been really helpful as a parent," Brown said. "I can have him sit down at the counter as I'm fixing dinner, and I can listen to him and hear that he's doing it correctly.""
New software and hardware are now available to help kids work on their speech therapy from the comfort of home, or even on the go. Dan Smith is with Complete Speech, which makes the Smartpalate mouth device William uses with his therapist. Smith says the increase of at-home tools is due to demand. "Parents have approached us more and more to be able to use this technology. We've developed tools that allow the parents to practice with their students, with their children accurately at home."
The popularity of the iPad has generated an explosion of speech therapy apps. Experts say applications like "Articulation Station" and "Vowelviz" encourage kids to practic because they're more like interactive games than static flash cards. Kimberly Jasensky is a Speech Language Pathologist At Brooks Rehabilitaion in Jacksonville. She said, "It helps them to stay focused on something that requires a lot of drill and a lot of practice in order for them to get better with their articulation skills."
Colleen Mitchell, who works with William, points out the extra practice at home can help therapy to progress faster. She said, "It does make it a little bit easier and it does take away some of the time that we initially had to work on therapy, but it doesn't take away from just the good old traditional hard work."
But Mitchell says that work should start in the traditional therapy session, and advises parents considering at-home tools to work with a speech language pathologist. "There are certain steps that need to happen through therapy," she explained. "And, if a client or family, they're not aware of these steps, then what can happen is they can develop habits that are going to actually cause more problems for them in the long run."
As for William, his mother said the new technology helps him develop good habits by recording and playing back each drill. "These apps, and the technology has played a big part for William in continuing on his progression."
The apps range in price from free up to 50 dollars, and the smart palate mouth device is available for rent by parents for $89 a month.