Kids love to use technology, so why not embrace it during the summer months? Summer is the perfect time of year to give suggestions to families for carry over practice to avoid Speech and Language regressions during break. Some children may receive summer sessions with a therapist; others may not and will need suggestions on ways to work on skills at home. While we recommend these, we must encourage a variety of different activities so kids aren’t having too much screen time.
If students do not have access to tablets, smartphones, or computers at home, encourage families to go to their local library. Many libraries have areas where children may get an hour of time on the computers with internet access. In addition to this, some libraries also allow patrons to check out eReaders that may also help with these. Talk to librarians in your community to pass along current information to families to assist them.
Some may not understand why technology can be an asset for speech and language learners. The biggest reason is that they actively engage kids. In addition to this, family members will often get involved and participate when technology is incorporated. With these resources students are able to work on vocabulary, articulation, sequencing, pragmatics, building their self-confidence when speaking, and more. Apps and online games are often free and provide a wide variety of options for different interests. Update interest inventories of kids and families to help and match them up to items that will be a great match. Remember that just because an app is a game and has no specific speech tie in, does not mean that you can’t think outside of the box to make an activity to work on specific speech and language needs.
Many apps that are specifically made for speech and language sessions are pay-to-play and more intricate than most children will need at home. Since many families have mobile technology, look for apps that can go on a tablet or smartphone. Rather than search within the app stores, there are several resources out there to help match up kids and apps. Below are three that are excellent for students:
- Smart Apps for Kids – apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPods.
- Smart Apps for Android – apps for Android devices.
- Smart Apps for Special Needs – apps geared for special needs where there is a drop down menu with items for Speech/Language
Also check out websites related to shows, characters, and other popular items for online games that kids can use on computers. Be sure to give families several ideas for kids to use. Encourage them to focus on speech and language goals while having fun with these apps or games. Remember another positive is that many of these technology options will be friendly to multilingual learners and assist all members of their family.
……………………………………….Interested in using technology in your speech and language career? Check out some of our teletherapy opportunities here………………………………………….