Articulation Station, a free app for iPhone and iPad, helps children who are working on articulating clearly.
“You just pick the target sound and can work on it at the word, sentence and reading level,” Cleveland-based Therapy in Motion LLC speech pathologist Kathy Darga says.
Some special needs children might need help with telling a story in the proper order. The app iSequences can help. (The lite version is free on iOS and Android platforms; $1.99 for full version for iOS or $2.99 for Android.)
“The pictures are mixed up, and you have to put them in order to tell a story,” says Darga and recommends the app for elementary school-aged children.
“Any of the Toca Boca apps (various prices for iOS and Android) are great for vocabulary and language and are very interactive and motivating,” she says.
For older children or young adults working on social skills, Darga recommends Between the Lines 1 and 2, $15.99 each for the iPad.
“You listen to what the person is saying and watch their expressions,” she says. “Then you have to guess what that person is really saying or how they feel.”
Other great speech and language apps include Dr. Panda games, various prices for iOS and Android, Squiggles, free for iOS and Android, Bugs and Buttons, $2.99 for iOS and Android, and MyFirstApp series, various prices for iOS, which also has categorization-type activities, Darga said.
For children who have trouble talking, speech and language pathologist Stefanie Peck at The Center for LifeSkills in Solon uses Sounding Board, free for iOS.
“It lets you use stock photos or your own photos to create a board of icons,” Peck says. “You can record something specific behind each picture. So, a 4-year-old client can choose which book he wants to read by tapping on the picture, or he can show that he can count by touching the 1 to 10 buttons, since he can’t say them verbally.”
Dexteria, $3.99 for iOS and Android, is a great app for learning to print letters and other fine motor skills, she adds. FingerFun, a 99-cent iOS app, helps with finger isolation skills and using fingers independently.
Also, teens and young adults who struggle socially, including those on the autism spectrum, can use FriendMaker, 99 cents for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. This app, created by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, along with her book, “The Science Of Making Friends,” “breaks down the process of making friends into easy, concrete steps — from choosing friends and improving conversational skills to online etiquette and handling teasing. The role-play videos demonstrate these social skills in action.”