Therapy Toolbox App-ternatives: Part 1
The cabinet in the speech office is filled with gadgets and gizmos for every purpose, now growing dusty as clinicians elect to sign out an iPad instead. Most of this equipment is now available in app versions, reducing the need for single-purpose devices and making the therapist's toolbox much lighter to carry. Over the next few weeks, I'll offer you 10 app-ternatives
to common speech therapy tools.
Instead of: Tape Recorder or Digital Voice Recorder
Try: Audio Memos Free
We all need to record our client's speech from time to time for transcription, pre/post treatment data, and outsider intelligibility ratings. While the cassette tape has gone the way of the Dodo, the digital voice recorder that replaced it was more difficult to use. Now recording apps are widely available and provide a welcome user-friendly interface for recording once again.
The iPhone comes with a voice recorder built right in, but the iPad requires a third-party app. There is no shortage of options, but Audio Memos Free is a good choice for a free app. Since it's the SLP and not the client using the app, the ad-supported version usually will suffice, though a $0.99 upgrade will get rid of the ads and add features such as background recording to multitask (record a client while using another app!), sending larger files, and securing your recordings with a passcode.
Instead of: Camcorder
Try: Built-in Camera
Video is useful to show clients how they look and sound, as well as for clinician self-evaluation. The video recorder on the iDevices is built-in, but you have to know it's there to find it. Go to the Camera app and flip the switch in the lower right corner from camera to video. Now the shutter button becomes your record button, taking live video. Videos will be stored in the Photos app, not the Videos app, as you might think. You can send them directly to YouTube (beware client confidentiality!) or email them off the device.
Instead of: Metronome
When working on apraxia of speech, melodic intonation therapy, fluency, or general speech rate issues, a musical metronome may come in handy to set a tempo. A stand-alone metronome can cost anywhere from $10 to $100. iBeat - the Metronome is a free app for iDevices (remove ads for $0.99) with a simple interface for setting a beat. Slide the virtual weight up or down the pendulum rod or touch the tempo numbers to bring up a tap-pad to set your own tempo. The app contains a number of other features musicians may find helpful, but it's simple enough to easily generate a basic beat for speech training.
Instead of: Dice
Try: Board Game Tools
Many therapy activities can be turned into a game by adding a timer, dice, or score pad. The party game Taboo! uses all 3 and is a common find in a therapy room. Another ad-supported app to help you carry the essentials everywhere you go is Board Game Tools (remove ads for $0.99). Roll from 1 to 6 dice, set a countdown timer from 1 second to an hour, buzz, or keep score. The screen is a bit cluttered, but it's all there if your game is missing a tool or you want to start an impromptu competition.
Instead of: Magnifying Glass
For those times when the print is too small for your client (or you!) or the reading glasses have been left at home, you may need a magnifier to make reading activities accessible. eMagnifier is another ad-supported free app ($1.99 for "pro" upgrade in-app) that uses the iDevice's camera to magnify from 1 to 8 times. The zoom is digital, so the 8x is quite blurry, but lesser zoom may help in a pinch.
Try these out (won't cost you a dime!) and come back for five more app-ternatives next week!