Apps That Encourage AAC (Using Technology for People Who Are Nonverbal to Communciate): Part One
I love apps! I am actually obsessed with apps! I run my business with apps and my iPads and I love using apps in therapy.
Apps are great for encouraging kids and adults to practice and use their AAC systems. While you can use almost any app to encourage AAC, these are some of the apps that I particularly like using in speech therapy for AAC use.
There are quite a few skills that are really important to work on when using AAC. These include motor skills and speech/language skills. There are so many apps that help with these skills but it is very hard to navigate the app market,
Here are a few of my very favorite apps that help kids learn cause and effect!
CAUSE AND EFFECT APPS:
Cause and effect is a skill that you hear a lot about. It is one of the skills most people agree is essential for a child to learn for expressive communication.
Many children and adults who are nonverbal do not have the ability to cause an effect on the world. Because of this, they do not learn the skill of cause and effect. It is not necessarily a cognitive issue. It is frequently an issue of lack of exposure.
It is important to determine if the child or adult understands cause and effect and has it cemented as a mastered skill. Cause and Effect is a base for many other skills they need to learn.
Cause and effect is simply doing something and making something else happen. If you push a button, the toy turns on. If you switch a light switch, the light turns on. It is a very important concept to understand.
Typically developing babies and small children learn this while they are playing with toys. Many of our kids cannot play with toys because of their motor impairments.
Therefore, they have never gotten a chance to learn cause and effect. Some kids with autism or other disorders just have not quite put it together and do not understand that they have an effect on the world. Sometimes this is because their behaviors are different from the typically developing child. When they do something, they do not get the effect that they planned on. They have difficulty moving their bodies so every time they do something, something different happens. Their movements are inconsistent so the results are inconsistent.
There are a few apps that help teach cause and effect.
Baby Rattle Toy is a great app for cause and effect. It is by the developer, SelenaSoft, Inc. It is one of my very favorite apps. This app is simply a star that moves around the screen. When you tap the star, it moves faster. If you hit any place else on the screen, animals pop up. The child learns when they hit the screen, something happens and that they caused the action.
Photo Buttons by Sensory Smoothie is another great app. This was developed by a speech pathologist. It is great for cause and effect. It is a little more complex than Baby Rattle Toy. This app has buttons that pop up on the screen when you tap the screen. Then if you tap the button, it will turn over and say a word. This is a great app to also use for vocabulary development. You can customize all of the buttons, and as they turn over, the child will learn different words. I also use it for articulation therapy. For instance, if a child is working on “R” words, I can customize this app so all the buttons have “R” words on them. When they turn the buttons over, they hear an “R” word and can then repeat it.
Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box by Cognable is another great app. This one is great for kids who love different types of lights. As you touch the screen, the screen lights up in different patterns and in different colors. It’s a simple app, but it does have a lot of options of different types of lights, and kids and adults love it. They learn that when they touch the screen, the screen lights up. They are causing that action.
To find more tips and tricks for encouraging AAC and helping your child use technology to communicate, read my book Talking With Tech: Solutions for Children and Adults Who Are Nonverbal
I would love to work with you or your school district to help your child communicate effectively! Click here for more information!
Come back for Part Two later this week!