Interactive Speech Therapy sessions to work on sentence building

Standard

Developing the use of language needs to be motivating and meaningful. In recent years it has been very popular to work on language development within school and therapy settings using symbol prompts, often with a Colourful Semantics (developed by Alison Bryan) theme such as in the picture below.

IMG_1262

Using symbols has lots of potential for helping reinforce many actions and sentence structures but it’s easy to get stuck for ways to practise using them.

Here are some apps I’ve used successfully to liven up a group or 1:1 session while using symbols (e.g. as above) as a visual support. All of them can be used in a functional and interactive small group session by giving each other instructions or describing what someone else has done.

 

Finger paint with sounds (free).  One of the many free painting apps which can be used to tell each what to draw or paint e.g. Clare paint a yellow house. This one has sounds as you draw.

 

Pepi Bath (free). A fun free app with some drag and drop actions such as Wash Hands, Brush Teeth, Pour Washing powder, Hang Jumper.

 IMG_1266

My PlayHome Lite (free version great and full version for £3.99).  Has a range of animated activities that you can action by dragging objects and people around different rooms. A wealth of Subject Verb Object actions to use expressively such as the Girl is Eating an Apple and the Mummy is Pouring Water.

 

Toca Kitchen Monsters (free). Two different monsters and several different foods and ways of cooking e.g. Monster is Frying a Tomato, Green Monster is cutting broccoli.

 

Discover Musical Instruments Free Admittedly some more specific vocabulary (bagpipes, drum, guitar) needed here but this is a lovely free app and telling each other which instrument to play can be a fun group activity. If you’ve got more than one iPad you could effectively set up a small orchestra.

img_1227 

Toca Tea party (£2.99).  In the absence of actual party food, pretend or real, this is a great app for a virtual tea party with either toys or people. Tell each other what you want them to do e.g. Teddy drink juice, Peter pour tea, Katy give a plate to me.

 

Build a Train Lite (free). 

Potential for using some very simples phrases such as Beep Horn, Ring Bell, Stop, Go.

 

Puppet Pals (there is a lite version but directors pass £3.99 is worth it) I’m honestly not sponsored by this app but it really is so versatile. I’ve set it up with pictures of symbols and you can then set up little moving scenes of pretty much any action you want. I usually create the symbol on symbol software on my office PC, take a photo using the iPad and insert it into the app – only takes a few minutes before a session.

 IMG_1283

 

Other apps worth mentioning…

 

First Phrases HD (lite version £0.99) A well designed app which allows you to select a SVO sentence and then produces a animated video to illustrate it at the end. One of the best ways I’ve found to use this is to click through the vocabulary choice bits and just show the video and ask a child to describe it. But that’s fairly fiddly. It’s not ideal for an interactive session.

 

Photo dice (free).  An app which can be used in practically any therapy session but worth mentioning here if you want to provide some unpredictability of actions or objects e.g. what is Dennis going to wear? The hat/gloves/scarf/glasses etc. Or what is Aisha going to do to the box? Stand/Sit/Jump/Throw etc?

 

Advertisements

Apps to inspire group storytelling activities in the classroom

Standard

I’ve written blogs in the past focussing on different storytelling apps which allow you to create a story from scratch using your own pictures and words. But how about when children have difficulty coming up with ideas themselves or have difficulty retrieving the right words to use?

There are many apps that can be used to motivate children with their narrative skills through characters, pictures or sounds. When stories are developed in groups, children can motivate each other and focus on listening as well as expressive skills.

image

All the apps below are free unless otherwise stated. If using as a whole class activity, don’t forget to use a programme such as AirServer (see previous blog) so that the whole class can see the screen.

 

Story sound effects

storytimesoundsThere are lots of ways of using sound effects to inspire group narratives:

  • Start the story by agreeing on some characters and a scene (draw these out if possible!) Then play sounds one at a time and ask children to name them and volunteer ideas about what is happening in the story.
  • Take turns to say a sentence about the story based on the sound you have just heard and then choose a sound for the next person to describe.

Story time sounds is a great app with clear categories e.g. pirates or monsters, each with colourful pictures to choose from.
Movie Sound Effects has words instead of pictures and contain many sound effects in SciFi/Action/Comedy/Cartoon categories.

See previous blog for ideas of random sound effects to incorporate into stories.


Setting the scene

Some apps let you choose the scene and characters and allow you to move them around to create mini movies. The three shown below also have inbuilt recording facilities.

Puppet Pals (free lite version or £3.99 Directors Pass allowing you to add your own photos). I’ve done a previous blog on using this in class group activities so won’t add more here except to say it’s one of my favourite apps for stimulating expressive language and the combination of photos and fantasy characters can be a great source of inspiration for a wide range of ages!

Superhero HD Comic Book Maker and Princess Fairy Tale Maker by Duck Duck Moose have a large range of backdrops and characters to include in stories. Pick your scene, choose your characters and record the story as you move them around.


img_1239

Using story frameworks

Some apps are set up precisely for the purpose of group story telling. Easy to adapt for a classroom activity.

Story Wheel Lite has different themes e.g. Knights and Princesses/Space etc. It is set up for more than one player – each takes turns to spin the wheel and record a few words or phrases about the picture they are allocated. At the end all scenes can be merged.

Story Dice (£1.99) allows you to roll as many dice as you choose, each with drawings on from which you can obtain prompts to include in a story. More abstract pictures, might work well for older children.

img_1248Tell a tale provides the first line of the story, three random pictures and then the final line. Definitely one for older/secondary children.

Ten speech therapy activities which can be enhanced with an iPad

Standard
  1. Warm up games. Try Air Hockey (free). No pressure to talk, easy to play, requires someone else to play with you and surprisingly addictive.

air hockey 

 

 

 

  1. Visual Timetables. My favourite is First Then Visual Schedule HD (£7.99), which allows you to insert google images very easily. Makes a change from printing and laminating.

visual schedule

 

 

 

 

  1. Informal assessment. Use a range of apps to stimulate informal talking and receptive language. Favourite apps to stimulate expressive language are Imagistory (free) or creating a spontaneous story using Puppet Pals and photos of the child. My favourite receptive assessments involve Keyword Understanding (£6.99 or free lite version) and Toca Kitchen Monsters (free).

imagistory

 

 

 

 

  1. Setting expectations of a session. Use Sand Timer (Free) or ASD tools timer (£1.49) to show how long an activity is going to last. Also use goal setting apps such as Simple Goals (free) for older children to record what they are working towards.

 

  1. Trialling AAC. Easy to take photos and give choices on the spot rather than having to ask about favourite items, take photos then go away and laminate… Use ChoiceBoard Creator (free) or TalkBoard (free) for basic grids to practice with.

talkboard

 

 

 

 

  1. Oro-motor assessments. Dress up an oro-motor assessment as a motivating activity using Bla Bla Bla (free) and Speak Up Too (free) for visual feedback.

speak up too

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Parent Child Interaction. Not sure how we ever managed video PCI without iPads – video it, play it back to the parent and if necessary, reassure them that you are deleting it in front of them. Also use for informal, spontaneous feedback e.g. during a swallow assessment.

 

  1. Talking about what has just happened. An immediate record of the session you’re in. Talk about doing something, do it and talk about what you did with visual prompts. Saves you going away to print photos.

ipad camera 2

 

 

 

  1. Taking photos of plans, sessions, child’s work. An easy way of referring back to previous sessions – whether paintings that were made or stories which were created. If the app doesn’t store creations, take a screenshot by holding down the home button and then pressing the on/off button. The image will appear in Photos.

photo-6 

 

 

 

 

  1. Inspiring parents to carry on activity at home. A lot of parents are worried that they don’t know what apps to download for their children and are keen for ideas. If they can see their child engaged with an activity with you, they’re more likely to try it at home.

 doodlecast

Not just a reward strategy: using iPads interactively to develop communication

Standard

I gave a ‘Lightning Talk’ at Therapy Ideas Live in London last week and I’ve promised to put a list of the apps recommended on this blog. In my allocated 5 minutes, I discussed an app for a few different areas of language target that you could work on in therapy sessions – thinking mainly about social and functional uses of language e.g. telling stories and telling jokes.

You can see a video of the talk here.

Suggested apps were as follows:

scene and heardIntroducing Ourselves. Scene and Heard Lite (free)

 

choice boardMaking Choices. Choiceboard Creator (free)

 

Expressing Opinions. Talking Mats (lite version =talkingmat free)

 

ipad cameraSending Messages. Video function – no apps needed.

 

Giving Instructions. Cake Doodle (£0.79)cake doodle

 

Sharing Experiences. Photo Grid (free)photo grid

 

Telling Stories. Puppet Pals (free, £1.99 storytimesoundspuppetpalsfor adding your own photos), Story Time Sounds (free)

 

Telling Jokes. Knock Knock Numbers (£2.29)jokes1

 

tea partyHosting Others. Toca Tea Party (£2.49)

 

Asking Questions. Guess the Person (free)guesswho

 

Problem Solving. Faces iMake (£2.29)face2

 

air hockey2Initiating a Game. Air Hockey (free)

 

flip flapWord Play. Flip Flap Farm (£0.79)

 

 

Using your iPad for story telling with your child using free apps

Standard

imagistoryNarrative skills are an essential part of children’s language development. Young children learn to structure stories and put events in sequence by talking about things they have done and seen. These skills support their ability to create their own imaginative stories as their talking develops.

Below are some ideas for (mostly) free apps which you can use to support your child’s narrative and story telling skills from a very early language stage onwards. Some of them allow you to record a story bit by bit and play it back at the end and others provide visual prompts to help you let your imagination run wild!

 

Story Creator  story creator

How to use: This app can help develop a child’s story telling skills by supporting them to retell stories of things that have happened. Whenever you are having an exciting day out or doing something interesting at home, think about taking photos/videos on the iPad and creating a story about it afterwards. Make up a story when you get back and tell another family member astorycreatorbout what you saw or play them your recording.

  • Click on the + and Add New Story.
  • Give the story a name and add a photo for the front cover.
  • Click on Add new page symbol to add new pictures to the story.
  • Click on the microphone picture to add a recording.

 

Imagistoryimagistory

How to use: This is a wordless picture book to encourage you and your child to make up a story yourselves.

  • Click on Create and choose one of the two free stories available.
  • You can either fill in your name and take a photo first, or just go to Quiet Read to start the story.
  • Talk about what is happening and swipe left to move between pages.
  • Read the story again and again and use new words each time!

imagistory1imagist2

 

 

 

 

storytime sounds

Story Time Sounds

How to use: This is a great resource of sound effects which you can incorporate into youstorytimesoundsr stories. A motivating resource for story telling and a few prompts to help develop the plot…

  • Choose a category e.g. Space, Lost World etc.
  • Choose a sound to mark the beginning of your story.
  • Take turns to choose a sound and say what is happening next using that sound!

 

puppet palsPuppet pals

Cost: free for basic version/ £1.99 to add your own photos

How to use: You can use this app to make up a story about you, your child and fictional characters at the same time. You can record the story while moving the characters around on the screen.

  • Either choose ‘actors’ from the menu or click on ‘Add actor from photo.’
  • Choose a background scene (you can also Add backdrop from photo).
  • Use the scale in the bottom left hand corner to make the picture fill the screen and move the characters about.
  • Click the red button to record a story and save to the iPad using the disk symbol.

image

Suggestions for activities:

  • Take photos of you, your child and your home. Create a movie about something you have been doing that week.
  • Make a short movie to show your child and then let them do the talking.
  • Make up a story using photos of your child’s favourite toys.
  • Dress up and take photos of yourselves, then make them into a movie that you can show other people.

 

story wheelStory Wheel Lite

How to use: This ‘Spin the Wheel’ app allows you to record a story and helps you decide on a character to talk about next. You can use this app as a tool for creating stories with more than one person.

  • storywheel Click on Create a Story. You will need to fill in your names before you continue.
  • Select a theme from Pirates, Story Teller, Knights and Princesses etc.
  • The first person spins the wheel to show a character.
  • Record a short sentence or two about this character as the first part of the story.
  • Press Next Player and spin again.
  • When you have completed creating a story, press Done
  • Say Yes to saving and then Listen to Story.

Ideas for speech and language therapy activities using iPad videos and photos

Standard

Time for a blog on my favourite iPad tool – taking photos and videos.

As long as you have an iPad 2 or more recent, you’ll have an inbuilt camera which makes it incredibly easy to use photos in activities with children (and you can delete them at the end of the session if there are any difficulties with consent).

Here are a few ideas for short language based group or individual activities using the camera function which don’t even require you to download any apps.

Attention activity – What’s different?

  • Take a photo of a person, room or area.
  • Change one thing about it or them and take another photo.
  • Ask the children to work out what has changed.

This provides an easy attention activity without having to rely on children closing their eyes!

fruit2fruit1 

 

 

 

Social skills activity – Guess the emotion

A quick activity for a social skills group exploring different emotions.

  • Ask each child to make a facial expression and take a photo.
  • Show the photo to the group and talk about what the expression might mean.

Expressive and receptive activity – Listen and Make

  • Ask someone to carry out a simple activity, e.g. making a collage, building a tower or threading beads.
  • Take several photos which break down the activity into several clear stages.
  • Show the photos to one child and ask them to convey the instructions to another child without showing them the pictures.
  • Compare the end photo with the finished product.

The emphasis in this activity is on one child using their language to tethreading picll the other child how to do something. In addition, the other child can develop skills in listening to their peers. The art/craft activities work particularly well with younger children who are not confident with colours and preposition words. Examples of stages from a few different activities below:

 

boat collage

bino1

 

 

 

 

Expressive and receptive activity – What’s happening?

I’ve already blogged about this in the past but worth repeating here as this is a tool I use regularly.

  • Take a short video of a real or acted out scenario and ask the group questions about it. It could be a video of a busy road on your way to work, a video tour of a supermarket aisle or an acted out scenario by a teacher who has discovered her bike is broken.
  • Show the video, ask Wh questions and talk about what could happen next.

There are plenty more ways of using photos and videos – please share any other ideas you might have tried!

Using a musical app for developing early language skills

Standard

imageStumbled across this interactive app (Sago Mini Music Box – £1.99) as a tool for developing language with early years children. I’d downloaded it as a recommendation for a musical app but it’s also got lots of potential for stimulating language.

You can select either a boat or a hot air balloon which moves along at a speed depending on where and how much the child taps the screen. Each tap creates the next note of a nursery rhyme as well as an action: dolphins jump up, birds fly and trees and flowers appear.

I used this with a 3 year old with language delay and as the boat moved along I started commenting on what was happening. The child also started using lots of language to describe what she saw.

It’s like commenting on a picture book but the child is essentially in control of where the ‘story’ goes which makes it extra engaging. This would be a great app for parents to use at home to practise commenting on and sharing stories with their child. image