Thursday, May 13, 2021

7 Speech Therapy Apps To Download Now For At Home Practice



By Kara Jackman 

Whether you are practicing at home or must stay at home because of COVID-19, speech therapy will always be part of the lives of our craniofacial kiddos and kids at heart. Here are some great pronunciation pathways to pursue (say that five times fast!). 


Smile Train Speech Games (Available in Apple 
App Store and on Google Play)
Starting with simple, free, and reputable, Smile Train’s Speech Games app is a good one for every day practice. Based on the letters needing some extra love, you are presented with either a story or a game to play that utilizes these letters. The images are not animated for the stories, but the words are displayed on the screen and your child will be able to advance the story on each screen. You can read to yourself or listen to the story read to you. There are six games per each sound that range from learning the sounds, to practicing syllables to memory, and a “drag the word” word building game. Simple, free, and efficient this is one app to have on your phone or tablet at all times.

SpeakEasy (Available in Apple App store, Android, Google Play)
SpeakEasy

SpeakEasy is a slightly more robust app that allows you to tailor usage to your child’s needs. Both caregivers and speech pathologists can make use of this app that helps children from ages 0-5 years old. Kyla from SpeakEasy told us more about the app, saying, "We currently have material for 0-5 years old, offered in 4 stages (preverbal through full sentences). We do not focus on age, but rather training parents and caregivers, offering ideas for simple activities they can do at home." This strategy helps reduce screen time for your kiddos. This app is pay-to-play at $19.99 per month, $9.99 per month when billing annually ($119.88/year). SpeakEasy was developed and maintained by a husband and wife team that work together to provide a high-quality product that could be a great fit for your family. 


Otsimo Speech Therapy (Available in Apple App Store and Google Play for Android) 

Otsimo Speech Therapy is a comprehensive app that features development of motor skills for the mouth and lips and speech skills, too. A variety of consonants, words, phrases are featured for practice. Caregivers may choose to coordinate with their speech pathologist, setting the curriculum by answering questions in the developmental test to customize your child’s practice and track their progress. The report generated will give you a regular practice schedule that takes into account your child’s age and attention level. You may create an account for more than one child. The exercises allow your child to watch their peers speak as they offer three different vocalizations or pronunciations for letters, words, and phrases. Then the child will enjoy a little fun with a funky filter selfie, practice their skills once more, and finally play a quick and easy game. The app features cute animations, videos of real children speaking, and the ability for your child’s voice to be recorded to ensure their diction is on point. The app boasts that your child will see progress in just 6 months. The app is backed by University of California Berkeley and the University of Edinburgh. Otsimo Speech Therapy is available for download on IPhone and IPad via the App store. Premium features require a subscription. You can subscribe for $6.99/month, annually at $4.49/month, or lifetime at $115.99. Learn more about how it works on Otsimo's blog.


Speech Blubs Pricing
Speech Blubs and Speech Blubs 2 (the updated version of the original app is available in Apple App store and Google Play)


Speech Blubs comes highly recommended by a wide variety of parenting magazines, speech pathologists, and medical organizations for being fun and effective. Speech Blubs’ dynamic presentation is second to none and worth the subscription tiers of: $14.49 per month, $59.99 for an annual subscription, or $99.99 for a lifetime license. Audio and a dynamic presentation keep your kids engaged while they improve their speech and language skills. A caregiver or parent provides information about the child’s speech therapy needs, including a comprehensive list of diagnoses, noting if they work with a speech pathologist or not, and their level of social engagement. The Speech Blubs app then generates a free personalized report with a full assessment, including tips and tricks on speech and language development. The personalized report informs the words and sounds your child will practice in fun subject areas like animals, shapes, and family fun. Users will also be able to mirror the way the actor on the app’s video moves their lips to speak the words or make other sounds. Children as young as one year of age can start with animal sounds, and then scale up to words and sentences. There are also songs, games, and a section that helps children understand their emotions and how to express them. As a reward, kids can create photos with filters or play games. The filters will have you and your kids entertained for days. Save photos to your photo album and share with your CCA friends!

Speech Blubs 2 Allows Kids 
to see others say words
and sounds
Speech Blubs 2 is the updated version with an expanded offering of videos and enhanced personalization. Kids can see themselves perform in the “videos related to the words and concepts they are learning,” say the Speech Blub developers in the description of this brand new app. 

SmallTalk and Miogym: Speech Apps for motor and mechanic support (Both available through Apple App Store) 

Aphasia Communications has a number of excellent apps to help those kids that have difficulty expressing themselves through speech. SmallTalk Aphasia Female/Male developed by Linographica will help your older child or adult “learn common words and phrases used in everyday situations, like meeting someone for the first time, telephoning someone, or ordering at a restaurant.”

Miogym

There are videos that demonstrate how to move your mouth to make sounds and words. The app also acts as a communication tool. For instance, it can inform people that you have aphasia, survived a stroke, or have trouble speaking. The user need only to hold up the app to share with friends, family, and medical providers. This app opens the world up for those that experience speech delays or have an inability to communicate with spoken words. The app comes in both male and female voice versions. Aphasia communications has a number of other apps to explore and improve the speech motor skills. This app appears to be free, but be aware that could change over time.

Similarly, Miogym helps toddlers and children develop proper motor skills to make sounds and words. The app begins with first sounds, “a collection of exercises that helps children begin to make their first sounds,” say the developers, including animals, trucks, cars, and more. Pronunciation of s,r,l,t sounds are the focus. Understanding and honing the ability to make the mouth move properly accelerates speech development which is the next step your child will take in this application. Children with the diagnoses of autism, apraxia, and dyslexia will benefit from this fun, interactive app that keeps them entertained, rewarded with games, and hooked by “leveling up.” Cute videos of kids performing the activities give your kiddo a training buddy as they learn, holding their attention better than a caregiver or other adult. This app is best for ages 2-7 years of age. A monthly subscription is $6.99, and a lifetime subscription costs $69.99.

A Speech App for Autism: MITA - Mental Imagery Therapy For Autism (Available through Amazon)

Like our bodies, all minds work differently, too. No person hears or interprets the world in the same way. Neurodiversity, as we now name it, contributes to our ability to speak and comprehend language. The MITA (Mental Imagery Therapy For Autism) app developed at Boston University helps synthesize the components that affect the different ways in which your child’s mind is unique. The app has brain games that utilize images, audio, and words to assist in the development of the child’s ability to build sentences to communicate things like “the cup is on the table.” It’s recommended to only have the child do exercises on this app twice a day, once in the morning and again in the evening.

Boston University researcher and app developer, Andrey Vyshedskiy, says more about how the app works in a Boston University The Brink research article, “Prefrontal synthesis is the mechanism that allows you to juxtapose several disparate objects. If I ask you this question, ‘If the lion ate the tiger, which of the animals is still alive?’ you are using prefrontal synthesis to imagine the events and answer that question,” Vyshedskiy says.


Without prefrontal synthesis, understanding complex language is impossible, Vyshedskiy says. Today, almost 70 percent of children diagnosed with ASD struggle with language and up to 40 percent of adults with autism have never gained prefrontal synthesis.

“Whenever language is delayed, when children don’t understand stories or acquire internal language, they don’t develop the deeper brain function of prefrontal synthesis,” Vyshedskiy says. “I realized, there might be a way to get at language development through a ‘back door’ in the brain—we developed this digital therapy app to improve language acquisition.”

These are just a few of the speech apps available in most app stores. There may be others that will suit your child’s needs better. Many have a trial period. Take the time to experiment with different apps to see which ones hold your child’s attention and interest. Everyone's needs are different, be patient and find the right fit so they will commit to a consistent practice schedule. Now go out there and have some fun.







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