We have entered a very exciting age of technology. Gone are the days of mix tapes, car phones, and VHS recordings of our favorite shows…In are mp3 files, smart phones, and TiVo. I remember when April was in speech therapy at school she was given token rewards for practicing speech sounds. When I have children do articulation drills (one of the most boring activities around) I am able to use more exciting motivators – language-learning video games, clips from their favorite shows via YouTube, etc.
Many families now have smart phones or other smart devices in the household. I have witnessed with my own eyes a two-year-old flicking through action vocabulary words on an iPhone while saying the words! While not a replacement for more traditional learning techniques these “apps” are a great way to practice goals from therapy outside the walls of the clinic/school/etc.
Here is a great resource on iPhone and iTouch apps iPhone and iTouch apps for (Special) Education. The author of this post also has a great blog: www.slpsharing.com. He recently did a post that included apps for high school students and adults such as grocery list organizers, bill pay, and to-do lists.
Children with Down syndrome can learn to use technology well and may benefit from it more than others in the long run. In general apps are entertaining, but the additional language-learning outcomes for children with Down syndrome may include:
- Learning to follow steps
- Articulation practice tailored to their speech goals
- Reading comprehension
- Learning basic concepts
- Communicating with others (if it’s a smart phone, practice their artic speech sounds, then call Grandma for skill carry-over)
- Understanding and anticipating routines
Unfortunately there are not many educational apps for smart phones like the Droid or Palm series. If you have any good ones please leave it as a comment. Many of the apps listed are free and can be fun for your other children (or if you’re really bored). Apps are a fun way to encourage language and technology learning – both necessary for successful communication.