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.