Jessica Oliver shares:
I have always enjoyed using iPads in therapy with students. In the last few weeks, I have spent several hours looking for free apps to address the needs of my students at my schools. I really started using my iPad around the Valentine’s Day holiday. It took me a while to get into the hang of using the iPad during group therapy. Initially, I used it for showing short video clips for working on a variety of skills. Video clips can be used in a thousand ways. I wrote a previous post about the Simon’s Cat videos and using them for inferencing, problem solving, describing, and a lot more language based tasks. I also use videos for holidays that give historical information that are appropriate for middle school students. This allows for detail questions, main idea questions, inferences, drawing conclusions, predictions, articulation opportunities, and more.
In addition to using an iPad for video clips, there are several free and low cost apps that can address goals that your students may have. I have a few students working on following multiple step directions from elementary school. I don’t have a lot of materials specific to following directions as they aren’t goals I often work on, so the iPad was a great way to work on them. I found the Hearbuilder App, which allows students to work on a variety of types of directions with multi-steps. Directions are temporal, sequential, basic, spatial, and more. The students really enjoy it and it has built in reward games.
I was also able to find several apps that engaged my more difficult to engage students. I have students who are working on language activities and questions with a response field of 4. Several apps were free and available. My students were able to make selections and match question cards to answers on the device and this was enough to hold their interest for an entire session! I was also able to find a few sorting, matching, and organizing game apps that were great for rewards for MSD students who need to earn a reward on a star chart to work.
Other apps that I have found are ones that can be used for describing similar to EET type goals. They break describing into function, visual components, parts, where you find it, ect. There was also an inferencing app that has pictures that let students inference about jobs, emotions, conversations, seasons, thoughts, social situations, and more! My MSD articulation students were included in the use by playing spelling games after producing sounds.
Overall, the addition of an iPad to my therapy room has given my students a variety of ways to address their communication needs. It has reduced the amount of materials I have to travel with and greatly increased the interest of my students during sessions!