Within a therapeutic setting, an individual's progress can often be hindered by the compounding factors of motivation, depression, isolation, and end-of-life decisions/issues. Addressing cognitive and communication deficits as a result of strokes, brain lesions, dementia, etc., can be particularly challenging when the above factors are woven into the therapeutic equation. A combination of these dynamics can significantly erode therapy outcomes and minimize generalization to functional skill levels needed for independent living.
When developing treatment strategies and goals, it is imperative that we employ therapy approaches that are "evidence-based" in order to ensure optimal efficacy in treatment. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) defines Evidence-Based Practice as "the integration of: (a) clinical expertise/expert opinion, (b) external scientific evidence, and (c) client/patient/caregiver values to provide high-quality services reflecting the interests, values, needs, and choices of the individuals we serve." Therapy strategies need to be supported by external scientific evidence, but just as critically, those strategies and approaches need to be RELEVANT to those we serve.
With that being said, this page is dedicated to therapy approaches using iPad apps which utilize and access visual, auditory, and printed media/sources that are relevant and stimulating to this unique population of individuals. Specific therapy strategies such as spaced retrieval, semantic treatment, scripting, cueing, etc., can be easily integrated into activities on this page. Targeted skills, goals, and strategies are the foundation of any effective therapy lesson. However, the materials that we use to elicit those skills can encompass a wide variety of media. In therapy, we should always strive to stimulate thinking, increase attention, attach relevancy, and most importantly, improve cognitive and communication outcomes. Improved quality of life is our ultimate goal for those that we provide services to and enhancing skills in an enjoyable and relevant manner makes therapy all the more rewarding! Plan it, Do it, Check it off: Love this app for visual schedules.
I Get it apps: An awesome series of apps to help individuals of all ages organize tasks specific to community and social activities.
Spaced Retrieval: Spaced retrieval is a scientifically proven method of improving memory of names, facts, and routines for all people, including those with memory impairments (Alzheimer's disease and other neurological conditions).
Writing TherAppy: A unique app for spelling practice for adults with brain injury or stroke as well as ESL speakers or children learning to spell.
Reading TherAppy: An app for adults with neurological impairment and older children with special needs.
Mega Collection of Classical Comedy Shows: This app is one of the best buys in the app store ($1.99)! There are more than 40 Classical comedy series in the app and clips from any of the videos can be used for conversation, recall, sequencing, reasoning, etc. Getty Images: This app states that it has 24 million images with the ability to search by topic. Excellent resource for therapy!
Shorpy: I can't say enough good things about this app! It provides access to 6000 vintage photographs that are high resolution. An invaluable therapy resource as well!
Google Earth: excellent app for recall of personal information (e.g. address, community landmarks) or for general discussions regarding travels, etc.
Brain Trainer by Lumosity.com: this app includes several of the popular brain training exercises found on the lumosity.com website. I use these games for mental manipulation, processing speed, memory, problem solving, etc. From my experience, these games are most appropriate for individuals with mild cognitive impairments.
Idioms: hundreds of idioms in addition to a multiple choice quiz system - great for data!
Dumb Facts: another good app for reasoning, recall, discussion, etc.
Fave Quotes: One of my favorites! I use this app for verbal reasoning tasks. User can search by author, topic, or quote.
Clockface Test: a great tool to compliment cognitive-communication testing
Dollar Origami: Love this app for following directions and sequencing. It's especially fun to do when co-treating with an OT.
Video Time Machine: This app contains videos going back to the 1800's to current year. Great app for conversational starters, discourse, etc.
iBeat: A Metronome app suitable for use with verbal pacing
iMazing: Good app for visual scanning and problem solving.
Timeline Art Museum: This particular app is free but affords anyone the opportunity to download additional pictures of a particular artist for .99 cents. Since I use Norman Rockwell pics in therapy with adults, this app gave me 228 high quality pics for this artist alone. Well worth the price!!
Dysphagia: I can't say enough good things about this app. Excellent for patient education as well as just a great reference tool for SLPs.
iSwallow: Love this app for demonstrating common exercises for dysphagia via video.
In addition to the above apps, a must is Dropbox. Within this app, I can transfer any of my files from my computer onto my iPad. Using this application, I have many of the lists, picture files, and activities listed on this website under 'Therapy Ideas for Adolescents' saved in Dropbox. The majority of my activities for adolescents can be modified and used with adults. For example, through Dropbox, I can access stored pictures of magazine ads/vintage ads for abstract verbal reasoning tasks. In addition, a picture file of Norman Rockwell pictures can be used to address reasoning skills, narrative discourse, confrontational naming, and short term memory.
Another essential app is Puffin Web Browser. This super fast browser affords access to sites with Adobe Flash and has reduced the number of crashes encountered with Safari.
However, in my opinion, the most valuable app on an iPad is the YouTube app which comes pre-installed. I've created playlists through my account on Youtube for quick access with the following collections used frequently in therapy:
Funny commercials (sequence recall)
Comedic clips (e.g. Bill Cosby, animals)
TV theme songs from the 50's and 60's - Sequence recall, organization, etc. Refer to corresponding lesson for links for clips 'Retro TV Theme Show Songs'
Music - addresses conversation, sustained attention, voice activities