We have a discussion on our Facebook Fan Page twice a day. Amy's question resulted in numerous apps being recommended by our followers and by the Speech-Language Pathologists on our staff, to help with children who have a speech delay and an intellectual delay. I will break down this question into the following topics: apps for augmentative and alternative forms of communication, apps for expressive language, and apps for articulation in 3 different blog posts.
Amy asked: I would love if anyone knows of any good, free (if possible) apps for iPad for special needs children who have speech delay and an intellectual disability?
As a Speech-Language Pathologist, I recommend that you speak to your child's Speech-Language Pathologist to recommend apps for your specific child's concerns/age. Every child has different abilities, which would require apps specific to his/her communicative needs. This post will focus on apps to help with augmentative communication or the use of an app to assist in those that have difficulties with speech output. Parts 2 can be found here and Part 3 will be coming soon.
Here are some of the Augmentative/Alternative Communication Apps that I would recommend:
TapToTalk™ by Assistyx LLC
TapToTalk was recommended by one of our followers, who said that she liked this app "because it was free and easy to use." This app gives a child or adult that is non-verbal a voice.
Give a non-verbal child or adult a voice!
TapToTalk turns an iPhone™, iPad™ or iPod touch® into an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. TapToTalk makes communication fun, like another “game” on this cool device. Just tap a picture and TapToTalk speaks. Each picture can lead to another screen of pictures.
This free TapToTalk™ app comes with a fully functional album that you can use with your child. If you need an adult voice, a female voice or a different language, email us at email@example.com for instructions on configuring the free App appropriately.
TapToTalk is a must have app for special needs children with autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, apraxia and other speech delays.
FREE (iPhone/iPad) FREE $4.99 (Multiplayer)
My First AAC by Injini by NCSOFT
My First AAC is pretty expensive at $24.99, but it does cover everything you would need in an early augmentative communication app. It is designed for little ones 18 months of age and older and has a child friendly design. There is a child's voice and you can choose that of either a boy or girl voice in the settings. It allows preschoolers and toddlers with delayed speech or severe speech disorders to be able to communicate with their family, caregivers, teachers and therapists.
$24.99 (iPad only)
Scene Speak by Good Karma Applications, Inc
Scene Speak is a great tool for creating interactive social stories and for use as a communication tool for those with Autism, Aphasia, Apraxia, developmental disabilities or anyone wanting to enhance receptive language or visual memory. I found this app easy to use and was able to make 2 early learning books in about 30 minutes. I made a first words book and located all of the images from Google and was able to download them right into a Visual Scene Display to add to my book.
Personalized mages can be uploaded to the app. from your home computer or through an online image search. The images can then be resized and active “sound areas” can be added. The application allows both the number and size of the “sound areas” to be customized. Spoken messages can be added to the “sound areas” by using the Text-To-Speech feature, with one of five preloaded voices, or you can record your own voice to the “sound areas”. User can also add text to the sound area as a way of reinforcing receptive language acquisition. A scene can also be linked to another scene via the hotspot. This creates a unique opportunity to create a scene based communication system for those with communication delays. In addition, a scene can have text added directly to the bottom of a page.
Once a visual scene is created with active “hotspots” or text, scenes can be added into “Books”. Books can be created and images grouped into the book by a specific theme or area of interest. Multiple books can be created within the book library and as many visual scenes as needed added into the “book”. For example: you may want to create a “Book” titled “My Home”. Within that book may want to include images of different rooms in the home. Within those images you can add “sound areas” to label different objects or people that are represented in those images. A bedroom scene may say, “go to bed” when the bed is touched or “read a book” when a bookcase is touched.
$9.99 (iPad only)
ChoiceBoard-Creator by Techno Chipmunk
ChoiceBoard Creator allows you to create your own choice boards for individuals with communication challenges. The possibilities are endless, you can create a 2 picture or 3 picture choice board and it allows the user to train for more sophisticated communication devices.
It is an excellent tool to train and prepare users for more sophisticated communication devices via an easy, simple-to-use choice-making platform. The possibilities are limited by your creativity.
FREE (iPad only)
Listed here are some apps that I have personally used in my speech therapy sessions and have found them easy to use for both the user and the person programming the app for the user. What do you guys think about these apps listed and do you have more that you would like to add to this list?
Andrea H needs to find an app that can locate her dog each day when she escapes through the open door that her kids forget to shut.
Cas also contributed to the ideas of this post.