Are you considering an iPad for your family with an eye on the benefits for your child with apraxia? Do you have an iPad and are not sure how to maximize its positive effects? How can you justify spending the bucks on such a cool toy for your family or school? The iPad provides an accessible, portable, dynamic and exciting playground for children with apraxia. In fact, this technology has benefits that other technologies and therapy activities lack. The iPad’s small size and weight (1.3 lbs.,) touch screen, fast load time, numerous applications and high quality audio recording capabilities merge to have a potentially huge impact on communication success.
As we know, children with apraxia have some common characteristics. For example, they benefit from opportunities to practice target sound sequences frequently. Our children do best when their experiences alternate between high and low communication demands. Accurate and supportive feedback speeds up speech learning. Children with apraxia benefit from feeling our cues as well as hearing and seeing cues to encourage understandable speech. Thoughtful use of the iPad can address these distinctive needs and be part of a solution to help our children reach their potential.
Does your child hate to practice speech sequences over and over? Often, this repetitive practice is hard work, with no intrinsic communicative value and children resist. With a motivating ‘app’ and quickly alternating turns, the iPad can encourage your child to practice, practice, and practice without distress.
With the iPad you can easily switch between activities with little time or preparation. This feature allows the users to rotate between activities with ease. It is easy to switch from verbal to nonverbal activities, alternating the communication demands. By using proficient skills, practicing emerging skills and learning new skills alternatively, our child with apraxia is anchored in success while risking more difficult sound sequences.
The iPad can provide feedback and cues to our child. Some apps cheer, clap or even groan! With the iPad’s built-in microphone and speakers, children can hear and compare their own sound productions with that of a stable auditory model. And it sounds fabulous! With the vast number of applications available, the iPad can provide visual cues that are motivating and high quality. With some practice [and a sturdy hand], the adult can incorporate tactile and kinesthetic cues while sharing an iPad activity.
Still not sure about the iPad? Then consider the iPod Touch. It is less than half the price and very light weight [.2 lbs]. Its size can make sharing an experience a bit more difficult but certainly worth considering. One last note, I have no investment, financial or otherwise, in Apple or any of its subsidiaries!
[View Kim using an iPad in therapy for a child with apraxia of speech]
[Kim Singleton, M.S., CCC-SLP has extensive experience serving children and adults with complicated communication challenges. She specializes in providing treatment to individuals with autism spectrum disorders, childhood apraxia of speech, and clients using augmentative and alternative communication systems. She serves individuals through her private practices in the Philadelphia and upstate South Carolina areas. For more information on Kim, please visit her website at http://www.kimsingleton.com]