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Guest Blog: I-Therapy - featured February 18, 2011

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By: Shareka Bentham, SLT copyright 2010. Shareka Bentham, SLT

This blog post has been reprinted with express permission of the author as it appeared on her blog Easy Speech and Language Ideas

Hello and a Happy New Year to everyone!

I'm back from a way too long hiatus, where I've been doing some serious procrastination with regards to updating my blog. It has been on my fancy 'to-do list' since the beginning of the year and look, one month late, here I am! While I was gone I was cruising around the Caribbean (and gaining 15 lbs while at it) and when I returned I took a huge step....I opened my own private practice. It's quite small scale to start, operating from home and doing some home and school visits, but I'm really enjoying it. I'll update you on its progress as I go through the year.

Tonight's post is about my favourite christmas present, the ipad :)

I am now officially addicted to the ipad! as a personal tool and more importantly as a therapy tool. The number of apps available for use in therapy is amazing and the children love them. It has really brought a new life to my therapy sessions. The key for those searching for apps is to not only search for those labels specific to therapy like "speech therapy" or "autism" (while they return good results too). Try searches like 'preschool', 'phonics', 'routines', 'animals' to get some fun finds. I think I get approximately 4 new apps a week (mix of paid and free) to work with in therapy. I love that I can use it with everyone, from my toddlers to my adults.

Here is how I incorporate a few of the apps into my therapy sessions:

Welcomes and warm ups:
With the younger ones I tend to start with a song. My favourite for this is the very interative "Wheels on the bus HD", which appeals to the older children as well. I also like to use the "Routines" app, which makes morning routines visual and exciting. I tend to do some voiceovers and actions with this one ("wash hands, brush teeth" etc).

For warmups with older children I've fallen in love with the cute lovable monster Grover in his interactive storybook The Monster at the end of this book", which never ceases to make me....err I mean the children giggle.

A great activity for vocab building, as well as following directions and auditory memory is "Animal Train", where children have to listen carefully for the animals to put in the train. I had feedback from a parent who was amazed that her son pointed out an iguana on television, a word that he had learnt previously from animal train.

"Cookie Doodle" is another favourite, where children "make" cookies from "scratch". The best part is adding all the ingredients (tilt and shake ipad to pour and shake etc), and then eating the cookie at the end. It's really good for sequencing and vocab building.

I've just started using "Guess Em", a type of 'Guess Who' game for question structures and problem solving with a little boy who also has an ipad, and that has been going well.

I also enjoy "Who's Hiding", and use it both as a language tool and a reinforcer. Children love swiping away the blanket to find the animal hiding underneath. I use it as a cause effect tool for toddlers, as a 'guess who's hiding' game for older ones and as a sentence builder- "The elephant is hiding under the blanket". Children also enjoy swiping the blanket across as a reward for completing tasks.

Another app I use as a cause and effect tool is "Toy phone", which gives sounds for animals, vehicles and musical instruments.

Artic and Phonology
I've been trialling "ArtikPix" for artic and I find it quite useful to carry, especially when I'm visiting schools. I'm also trialling "All about Sounds" with a little one.

I've found a nice therapy tool in Goodreader, which although not a fun app itself, allows me to carry the pdf versions of my artic and phono books around and view them on my ipad, which is pretty neat.

These are only a snippet, and I will review more as I go on, but I must say the ipad is the best thing to happen to technology. Thanks Apple :)

Featured Guest Blogger/Author: Shareka Bentham, SLT

From her blog: My name is Shareka Bentham, I'm a Speech and Language therapist (also known as a Speech Pathologist in some countries), working in private practice. I earned my Masters in New Zealand and returned to Barbados to practice. I'm quite a newbie in the field, as this is my first year practising, but I've learnt a lot thus far. There aren't many speech therapists in my country, one working in government, and the remaining 4 or so in private practice catering to a population of approximately 275,000. Needless to say I have a pretty hectic caseload with a range of communicative needs. I work with both paediatric and adult populations with speech, language, social communication voice, fluency, and feeding disorders and my settings range from clinic, hospitals, and house/school visits. I'm also the in-house therapist at one primary school, so yes it gets quite busy.

Tags: Article Newsletter Language Newsletter 11 February 2011