Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Toddler Jukebox---Augmenting apps to enhance communication

Hello Blogger Friends!    First of all, my blogging rate subtantially slowed once summer hit.  Even with ESY, I found myself referring back to my past blogs for ideas of what to use in therapy.  I became my own resource!!!!  We made cat puppets, crafted ants, and read all of my tried and true adapted books---all of which have already been blogged about.  The kids didn't mind.  With no new materials, it was difficult to post about speech therapy much, and for some reason, I didn't feel inclined to be madly creative on July evenings.  Wait until August 27th!    My creative juices will crank up again, I promise!

For now, I want to share an app I found that was perfect for some of the children I worked with, particularly the younger set.  During ESY, I worked with several children who needed help with basic verbal requests.  The iPad was a motivator, but most apps are a bit busy, to say the least.  I found one that combined very familiar songs (e.g. The Wheels on the Bus) with making choices.  The name is Toddler Jukebox, and it was exactly $1.99.    One person in the app review section of iTunes called it 'lame'-----that was perfect for me.  My kids needed something that had very simple graphics, and was easily understood.  They needed something that had some familiarity to it--in this case it was the music. To use the app, the child merely has to touch the picture of the song he wants.  A little graphic in the middle makes slow circles.....mesmerizing to some kids.

communication board made from a screenshot.
You may wonder how I used this in speech therapy sessions.  I like to augment iPad use with communication boards.  In this case, I took a screenshot of the app itself, printed it, and used the picture as the communication board.  In this manner, the child points to the picture of the song he wants, and uses a word if possible.  Only after this communication takes place is he able to touch the iPad.  I maintain control, but he is rewarded.     The kids loved this app, and we all had a great time.  This wasn't my entire speech therapy session, but possibly a 5 minute choice-making session at the end.  The session then ended on a positive note, and learning to make choices was practiced in a motivating activity.  I  try to keep in mind that the iPad app is not the goal; expressing choices in some way is; the iPad is the tool to get there.
The iPad is the joint reference

Extended School Year has ended, by the way!   I had a great time, but am really looking forward to time off.     


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