The DYnamic Therapy Associates Blog
I have been fortunate enough over the years to have had access to wonderful software from a variety of manufacturers. Although I have my favorite products, they never have everything I want for my therapy goals so I find myself mixing and matching components of my activities to make them just right! I think it is great fun to throw all the different developers ideas into one sandbox where they can all happily play together (at least in my world!). I love to slap one developer's symbols into another developer's software and throw it all on another developer's device. I'm positive they LOVE that too. The good ones, anyway!
iPads are wonderful and the amazing array of apps is dizzying. Nonetheless, apps are significantly less robust than full blown software. So, here we are, back in the sandbox, pulling in the best ideas from one app to supplement the fabulous ideas of another. A little enthusiasm and app switching savvy and we have therapy activities that are more meaningful and motivating than if we only used one app at a time the way nature (or the developer) intended. Something like this bunny dog who will sit on command and go for walks with you but doesn't bark or bite. And must be potty trained. The best of all worlds.
Why combine apps?
Peek-A-Boo Barn has a bouncing barn with animals that knock on the doors to come out. Adorable! We practice our greetings when the animals pop out. Clicker Sentences let's us write about our activity, include a picture and print to take home.
Balloonimals let's kids blow up balloons and wiggle them into silly animated characters. Kids can take a photo and see the animals in different locales. Abitalk Sentence Builder let's you create sentences from your own images so we can write about our animals. (These are from my former intern, Katie Millican).
First Phrases (Hamaguchi) is one of our "go-to" apps for teaching students verbs and simple phrase creation. We watch the animation and when cued to repeat the phrase, our kids either verbally repeat OR use their speech generating devices to make their own 2 word phrase. Super motivating and targets basic, common verbs. This app very nicely doesn't charge ahead until you activate an arrow but, as I mentioned before, kids are FAST! After we play this game, we use our Speech Box app with screen shots of the First Phrases animation scenes so we can sort through a pile of pictures and decide which ones to talk about. Speech Box is a great library of "boxes" of pictures. It seems the developer was thinking of providing an easy access to sets of articulation cards (it comes with these) but it has a wonderful, broad set of photos AND allows you to add your own (screen shots of First Phrases in this case).
I use this concept for YouTube videos as well. Those little jokers go by super fast and there are ALL of those "suggested" (and sometimes "suggestive") videos to grab attention. Figure out what video is a favorite and just snap a few screen shots of it to drop into another app.
First Words International is another fantastic Hamaguchi app that teaches early developing single noun vocabulary in categories (vehicles, animals etc). It is truly a wonderful app that introduces multiple examples of the targeted word (5 different buses appear on-screen) and then presents the targeted word on a display with 4 random pictures distractors. Students are asked to find the "bus" on the page. Then students get to "spin the wheel" where, magically, a picture of the targeted word appears and they are asked to label it. We label with our voices, signs or our AAC device. Just to "cement" the concept in a little more firmly, we'll watch a video of the targeted word on our VideoTouch apps (animals, vehicles and instruments) or listen to it's sound effect on SoundTouch app. These are great apps that give multiple example videos or photos & sound effects for common nouns.
I'm definitely not done with this idea. I've been scanning all my older, but still amazing materials books onto my iPad , with the FasterScan HD app, coloring them in with HELLO Crayon app (thanks to suggestions from the Twitterverse) and saving them into Dropbox app so I can whip them out at a moments notice for therapy, to print out for homework or to share with my therapists. So much you can do with that silly little iPad!
What are YOUR favorite apps to combine? Leave us a note in our comments so we can learn from each other!
About the Author: I am a SLP who has the distinct fortune of having a job that is also my passion. I have been an AAC Specialist for almost 25 years in schools and my private clinic. I currently own Dynamic Therapy with my husband, Chuck (also of 25 years) who is my business partner and enabler. We have a wonderful staff of SLPs & AAC Specialists who work with us to help our patients. I hope you find my blog helpful as you join me in our journey with our unique and amazing friends! Vicki Clarke, MS CCC-SLP