Favorite Apps for Developing Language

By Brittany Lehane September 19, 2013

This is a list of my top favorite apps for children who are developing language. I love them the most because they are either free or reasonably priced, work for a wide range of ages, and are super versatile. All of these apps can be used to target a wide range of objectives. I’ve seen them enjoyed by typically developing younger children or older developmentally delayed children. I’ve also used them in classrooms for children on the spectrum or are multi-handicapped. Read on to see the many uses I found for these apps and why I added them into my SLP tool kit.

1. My PlayHome (Free)

This app is a virtual twist on the activity of playing with a dollhouse. There are so many ways to target language with this app. I have the lite version which I highly recommend. With this version, you get the living room and kitchen with five characters to use. The best part of this app is the versatility. I’ve used this with typically developing and developmentally delayed children, chlidren who have autism, and multi-handicapped kiddos. The living room and kitchen scenes include opportunities to work on household vocabulary, food, colors,verbs, and many linguistic concepts such as on off/, up/ down, day/night, and open/close. The opportunities for encouraging language are endless with this free app.

2. Gift Wrap App (Free)

I found this app during the holidays but it can be used year round. The app screen becomes a wrapped present and the user can unwrap the gift by tapping the screen. The wrapping reveals a picture of your choice underneath. This is a fun way to work on whatever language you’re targeting. I was working on clothing vocabulary at the time, so I would have the student unwrap the present and label what they saw underneath. Its a quick, fun, and simple app with many ways to implement it in therapy.

3. SpeechwithMilo or any other of the Doonan Milo series ($2.99)

I love the Milo series. This set of apps can be used with typical or developmentally delayed children of many ages. I like that the user can set the list of words they will work on before using the app. The character Milo is a mouse that acts out the words. The user has the chance to repeat the word, listen to a sentence with the word, or move on. The series include an app for nouns, verbs, adjectives,prepositions, sequencing,articulation, interactive storybook. They have spanish versions as well.The prices range from $1.99 for the storybook app, $2.99 for the parts of speech, and $6.99 for the articulation board.

4. Coloring Studio (Free)

I listed this app because it is the one I have but any free coloring apps will do. These types of coloring book apps are very helpful in therapy sessions. If your planned lesson isn’t going as planned and you need a backup plan fast it might be time to take out the coloring app. This is a way to work on colors, following directions, labeling vocabulary, and taking turns in a fun way. It could also be used as a reward at the end of a session. This is a must have in my SLP bag of tricks.

5. Skitch (Free)

I saw this app recommended on Sean Sweeney’s SpeechTechie Blog (take a look here). It comes from Evernote (another app I love for notetaking and many other helpful tricks). In this app, you can take or a picture or choose a picture from your iPad’s camera roll or from the web. Once you have a fun picture for the background the student can draw, write, add boxes, crop, and add stickers to the page. I’ve used this to get a reluctant student to create sentences. We took a picture of him and his best friend and asked the student to describe the picture. He drew on the picture (adding mohawks on both of them) and I then asked him to write about what he had added to the picture. Another fun and free app!
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