Over these past few weeks, I found several other resources that address the question of using technology in speech therapy. There are hundreds of apps, software programs, and resource websites available to be utilized by therapists, teachers, parents, and even the students. A vast majority of these tools involve games, bight colors, and pictures, in order to engage young learners.
However, since my main focus was on geriatric speech therapy, I was hoping to find more resources geared to that specific demographic. I discovered that while there is a plethora of sources for k-12 speech communication, the sources for adult learners are far more limited. While it is possible to attempt to use some of the game-riddled apps meant for children in adult teaching, one has to be aware that using such programs may be considered insulting or demeaning for older adult learners.
Since many elderly learners are reluctant to access technology in the first place, resorting to using programs meant for children can add a further barrier between the older adult demographic and their willingness to learn and utilize technological methods to improve their speech impediments. As someone who as a great deal of experience working with the elderly population, I have come to realize that one of the most important things to these older persons is retaining their dignity as they progress in age.
From their perspective, it can be terrifying enough to find themselves losing their independence and control of their faculties in a rapidly changing world that is far from the one they grew up in. For the speech therapists who work with them, it is of utmost importance to help these adults retain their dignity while helping them regain their ability to communicate. Because of this, one must choose the technological programs that they use very carefully. These programs should be age appropriate and respect the age and experience of their audience.
As medical technology in our world progresses, people tend to live longer lives. The elderly population is growing as well as the need for programs that are appropriate for their use. The technological advances in speech therapy seem far behind when it comes to addressing this demographic. Many of these program developers do not account for the accessibility of the older generation simply because so few of this population considers technology a viable option for their learning. This leaves us as society responsible for developing ourselves on two main fronts: helping the elderly become comfortable with using technology, and making this technology accessible and relevant to them.
In continuing to explore my topic, I spent this week trying to combine the two topics I addressed in my first entry. My goal for this week was to find technological resources that specifically addressed the older adult population. This was far more difficult than researching the two aspects separately. In the previous weeks, I found so many resources that it was difficult to find the most helpful ones. This week, I found myself struggling to find enough resources that addressed all of my requirements. I have included some of these resources below:
- The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) seems to be the largest virtual hub of information regarding speech communication disorders. According to their website, it is “the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for more than 173,070 audiologists, speech-language pathologists, speech, language, and hearing scientists, audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel, and students.” This website contains hundreds of links and programs that speech therapists as well as the public can access.
- This blog contains several resources and reviews for speech therapy apps that specifically address adult learners, The writer clearly explains how to use each app, with diagrams and explanations to help those who may not be familiar with how to work this type of technology.
- Tactus Therapy Solutions claims right away “We know about apps, iPads, and therapy, so let us do the research for you.” This resource is perfect for those who are overwhelmed by the prospect of exploring the web to find resources of use to them. This website contains an extensive list of adult-oriented speech apps as well as other programs such as webinars and online articles.
This week, I focused more on the other aspect of my topic: the uses of technology in rehabilitative speech therapy. I found out that in addition to websites with teaching tips, several apps have been developed to allow speech therapists and language acquisition teachers to assess and and improve communicative abnormalities. I have listed some of my favorites below:
- The Sunny Articulation Phonology Test Kit is a highly developed and praised assessment app that contains assessment tests that take approximately 9-20 minutes to complete. The app then displays the student’s current level and points out major speech abnormalities. It then gives basic treatment options to address the speech disabilities.
- Speech Trainer 3D is a great tool especially for adult learners. It contains three dimensional interactive diagrams of each vowel and consonant in the english language. This app can show users many of the mechanics of sound production by displaying and highlighting areas of the mouth and throat needed to produce each sound.
- The new Geek SLP app is a free online archive that contains dozens of app reviews and other resources for speech therapists, teachers, and parents to use when teaching students with communication disorders. It is constantly updated with new information and reviews.