Tech Tuesday

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!

2 thoughts on “Tech Tuesday

    • Jessica Oliver says:

      The hearbuilder app was the first one. I just have the free version.

      Inference Pics Lite Version- free and has been good for giving a few more varied pictures for inferences for my MSD students. I also use it for describing photos. Will probably purchase the full version later.

      The WH question app pictured is one of the free Autism iHelp apps. They give one set of free WH questions. They are good as an alternative to cards sometimes. Not a lot of options in the free version, but helps with interest when you need it. The Autism iHelp series has a lot of different concepts in this format. I downloaded several.

      Also pictured is the free version of superduper’s WH questions app. Search superduper and they have a few freebies.

      I’ve also used Inference Ace and Inference Clues. They only give one level free but it was good for a change of pace.

      The reward games I used for MSD students were EduKidsRoom and EduKitchen. They work on basic concepts and skills but they are easier for the kids to complete and they are great minigames as rewards. I usually let each kid do 2 minigames before they pass to the next kid. They even like to help each other. The only issue I have found is there are pop-up ads that will happen after so many mini-games. Not a big deal though.

      SoundingBoard is a good free app for AAC needs if you wanted to trial the use before calling in a consult.

      The app I used with the student above for articulation was digraph sh. It only workes on /sh/ though. The company that makes it is Innovative Mobile Apps. They have a few other freebies that are good for various things. Especially with younger kids and some MSD students. They have an app called little finder that you find named items and click on them. It has a 2 player option. It can be paused to talk about the items after finding a few. I usually write down 5 items as they find them, pause the game, work on describing skills or categories (ect) and then let them play 5 more rounds.

      Hope this helps!

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