Break into the Word Vault
First, I want to say how excited I am to be back blogging after a few very busy months away. There are many more apps and tips to share with you in 2014 from my perspective working with the adult population in speech pathology. So without further ado, let's look at a new app!
Word Vault - Word Lists is a handy new app from Home-Speech-Home that I was recently given the chance to try out. This universal iOS app is a tool for therapists providing speech and language therapy to any age of client priced at $9.99. The no-frills interface is easy to navigate and provides access to tens of thousands of words and stimuli for a variety of therapy goals. The app is divided into four separate "vaults", each containing several lists of words and stimuli.
Word Vault is primarily a well-organized and searchable list of words - ideal for articulation, dysarthria, or apraxia therapy. Open either the Articulation Vault or Phonology Vault from the Home screen to find words by sound. Once a sound list is loaded, the words can be filtered by initial, medial, and fina position as well as syllable length. The display's font size and number of columns are also adjustable, allowing for low-vision use and controlling the amount of scrolling or distraction on screen.
For apraxia stimuli, look to a section of words called "Non-sense Syllables" in which consonants are paired with each of six vowels in a set order. The lists of "Multisyllabic Words" in the Phonology Vault are also helpful when looking for longer words on the fly. Clinicians treating dysarthria will appreciate having
"Minimal Pairs" listed out for each sound pair, right at their fingertips.
The Language Vault holds lists of words sorted by part of speech, but there are also pages and pages of other language stimuli: analogies, synonyms, categories, 1-4 step and conditional directions, multiple meanings, sequencing, and even short stories. The Social Vault holds conversation starters, idioms, proverbs, problem scenarios, and jokes ("Why wouldn't the crab share his sweets? Because he was a little shellfish!") - ideal for cognitive-communication goals in R CVA and TBI clients.
There are two fantastic features built into this app, aside from the plentiful content, that users will certainly appreciate. First, any list you bring up can be easily emailed off the device, so sending homework to your client is easier than ever. The second feature of note is that up to eight screens at a time can be pre-loaded for fast switching between lists. This can cut out navigation time in a group setting, when working with a client with multiple goals, or when there is no time to prep between clients.
The only caveat is that many of the language stimuli (problem solving, short stories, following directions, story starters, etc) are written for children. I wouldn't ask my stroke patients to tell a story about a "slimy monster, spaceship, and moon" to work on verbal expression, nor would I ask them to "stand up and then jump up and down two times" to practice auditory comprehension. As with any therapy materials, you'll want to pre-screen the items to make sure they're appropriate for your clients. Also note there are no sounds in this app, but there is a LOT of text.
All of the word lists and language stimuli are available for free on the developer's website, but having the Word Vault app installed on your iDevice so you can access, filter, email, and adjust the display of so many lists without network access just makes sense.