Getting Started: APPS we love!
Both Molly and I have iPads and iPhones, so our only experience is with the Apple APP Store and thats where our recommendations come from!
1. Cause Effect Sensory Light Box ($2.99)- is a sensory based app that little ones really love. There are different sound & light combinations you can choose from and every time you touch the screen you hear music paired with lights. HINT: this is a huge hit with kiddos who have fine motor issues and have trouble isolating a point since you can touch any part of the screen to activate the game.
2. Pictello ($9.99) and Story Kit (free) are fun and interactive ways to teach personal narratives and create individualized social stories.
3. If behavior management and visual schedules are more your thing check out ChoiceWorks ($6.99)- it's my personal favorite. It allows you to create and save a variety of visual schedules, upload photos or use symbols, and has a timer feature if that works for you kiddos.
4, 5, & 6. I don't do much articulation therapy, but I know it's a huge part of therapy for many clinicians. If articulation is a big part of your practice articulation station (free) has come highly recommended. For your kiddos who struggle with sound sequencing the VAST Autism Core-1 app ($4.99) is a great place to start. It allows the kiddos to watch a video, zoomed in on the mouth, saying simple words and then turn the camera on themselves while repeating the words. I have also used articulation flip-books ($9.99) quite a bit with my kiddos who are higher level and working on sounds in sentences and/or generalization.
7 & 8. Technology is a great way to get your students interested in learning all about narratives. There are so many apps to help with organization, content, and engagement. My absolute favorite is Toontastic ($9.99). It allows you to create stories using a bank of preloaded settings and characters -or draw your own- and talks your student through the parts of a story and what it means. Toontastic also has a feature where you students pick the emotion that matches their story and add music (matching that emotion) to the background. In the end the story is played like a movie for you both to watch. Story Grammar Marker ($24.99) is a bit more of an investment but also allows you to use visuals to create narratives based on the elements of story grammar. This app lets you choose from a variety of pre-set story grids or create your own!
9. Having some AAC app on your iPad is a great way to test the waters and see what app may be the best fit. There are a variety of options for you if you are purchasing them yourself (as some can be up to $300). Some apps like Touch Chat and Go Talk offer a lite version and I have used both often- however these may not be the best option for you if you don't have access to the full version as it doesn't offer the full experience of use an AAC app. You can always check the app developer's websites too, some companies such as Dynavox offer free versions to professionals so you can show your clients how it works.
10. We've reached the end of the road! Last but not least the Toca Boca apps (free-2.99) are amazing games. There are so many different ways to play and they are a universal hit with my pre-schoolers and my middle schoolers.
We hope our little list gives you some ideas of were you can start and makes the thought of using your iPad in therapy less overwhelming. Let us know what you favorite apps and and what you guys love for other platforms (Google, Amazon, or Andriod)