Sunday, November 16, 2014

10 Apps to Make A Busy SLP's Life a Little Easier (and help others who have busy lives) UPDATED!

"Life is rough sometimes." My children will tell you that they hear this phrase from me more often than they'd like, but it's true. As parents, therapists and teachers, we are always looking for ways to make life's rough moments just a little easier. We all have our own personal strategies and tools to help us out. My mom/therapist bag of tricks contains some apps that lighten my load and make my hectic schedule run smoothly (er, smoother). If you'd like to add one or all of these apps to your stash of "life-savers", please support Smart Apps for Special Needs by using the link provided.

1.  30/30 by Binary Hammer

This app is one I've been using with my own son, to help him schedule out how long to work on each area. It's easy to set up and very customizable.
You have never experienced a task manager like this! Simple. Attractive. Useful. 30/30 helps you get stuff done! You set up a list of tasks, and a length of time for each of them. When you start the timer, it will tell you when to move on to the next task. That’s it!

The task list is controlled entirely with gestures; a simple and natural way to use the app. The display is minimal but attractive and it still shows you everything you need to know:- What am I supposed to be doing right now?- How much time do I have left to do it?

(iPad/iPhone, $2.99)

 2.  Make Dice Lite by hnm

This app has limitless potential in a therapy setting.  I make dice for target sounds, categories, following directions, turn taking and more.  Pair a number die with a customized die to determine the number of trials or use 3-4 custom dice to make phrases.  You can choose from 6 color options and customize as many dice as you wish.  This app does contain ads, but they don't really bother me since I create all the dice ahead of time and the ads don't interfere with the students rolling.  Best of all, you don't have to worry about dice bouncing off and under the table which is one of my pet peeves.

(iPhone/iPad, free)  Full version available through in app purchase for $2.99.

3.  Tally Counters by Thomas Tsopanakis

Do you still use one of those hand held clickers to tally correct responses during data collection?  Give yourself a technology update with this simple, but useful app.  I have it downloaded to my phone so I can easily use it in conjunction with iPad activities that don't have built in data collection features.

(iPhone/iPad,  Free)

4.  Percentally Pro by Expressive Solutions LLC

This is a step up from a simple counter app in terms of data collection.  It can be used to monitor progress on any goal, objective or task.  Customization features and the ability to share data make this app worth the price.  Again, I prefer to use this app on my iPhone while providing push-in services in a classroom or while using other apps on the iPad.

(iPhone/iPad, $9.99)

5.  Turn Taker by Touch Autism

Several of my students have specific goals related to turn taking, but all children could benefit from working on this important skill.  This app provides visual and auditory prompts to address turn taking and sharing.  As an added bonus, it also contains a social story about playing a game.  I use this app frequently with a few of my groups and as a "refresher" a few times a year with others.

(iPhone/iPad, $2.99)

6.  Super Duper Age Calculator by Super Duper Publications

I am well versed in many areas, but even the simplest math problems make my brain hurt.  This app is a life saver for me especially during our yearly marathon of preschool screenings.  It's easy and fast to use and it's free!

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

7.  Remind 101 by remind 101

I have been using this one way messaging system to communicate with parents all year.  Users do not have access to your number and you don't have access to their information. Set up is simple and explained within the app.  You can set up multiple groups/classes and a parent can sign up or opt out at any time.  This is a very efficient way to communicate cancellations, updates or fun tips/activities for parents to work on at home.  Parents could even use this system to communicate with multiple teachers/therapists.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)  

8.  Sharing Timer by Handhold Adaptive, LLC

Sharing is a part of life, but it's a difficult skill to teach, especially to children who have a difficult time taking another person's perspective.  This app uses animated timers, visuals, and sound effects to help kids take turns.  You can set up the players, activity and length of time for each turn.  I love that you can use your own pictures and it tells you "who is playing now" and "who is up next".  Works like a charm and avoids those tug of war situations over toys/games and those important things like "the good slide at the neighborhood park".

(iPhone/iPad, $0.99)

9.  iRewardChart: Reward Tracker Behavior Chore Chart by GotClues, Inc.

I used to buy the paper chore/sticker charts, but forget to keep using them after about a week.  This virtual sticker chart is easy and always within reach.  You can customize tasks and rewards or choose from the default list.  This app syncs across devices using Dropbox.  I use this app for specific tasks like helping with clean up and more abstract goals like being kind or sharing.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

10.  Relax Melodies by iLBSoft

Life is gonna feel pretty rough if you aren't able to fall asleep or have trouble letting go of the anxiety of the day.  Use this app to create and combine sounds and melody mixes to help you or your child fall asleep or even just relax for a few minutes.  Timers and alarms can be set for specific periods of time.  Pair this app with some deep breathing techniques or yoga and you will be setting your child up with some great self soothing strategies.

(iPhone/iPad, Free)

We'd love to hear the apps that make your life easier.  Let us know in the comments below.

Sarah is focusing on 2 words that will soon make her life much easier -- Spring Break.

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