By: Sarah Wu
Working as a teletherapist has made me more comfortable with technology – and I thought I already *was* comfortable with technology! But now I’m using different kinds of media to reach students in speech therapy. Here are three things I use in speech therapy that I never used before:
1. Google Images – Google Images is a powerful image search and it comes in handy all the time when a new word comes up during speech therapy. Make sure that you put “SafeSearch” on. To do that, search an image and then look to the top right of the results and make sure it says “SafeSearch on.” After you switch it on, it will default to being on for good, which is nice. What I like about Google Images is that often it will pull up different results for one word and it will give a lot of visual representations for my students. For example when you search “farm” you get pictures of barns, cows, fields, and tractors – all of the related words that students should know about the word “farm.” You can even make a word map of your results by putting the word “farm” in the center circle and then put lines out to the related words. Keep in mind that “SafeSearch” is not perfect. That’s why it’s critical to preview the image result every time before you share your screen with students. For example, searching the word “overalls” comes up with some results that do not relate to farming.
2.YouTube – Students love videos (and so do many adults too!) so I use it to my advantage by using functional videos with students to tackle their goals. First use the YouTube search function to google “How It’s Made.” I have been using these videos for years because students are curious about how things are made and there are an absolute ton of videos from this show on YouTube. Some of these programs are from the UK so if you are not okay with a British accent, you will have to keep looking. Just like the images, I would preview these videos before sharing them because there can be resolution issues with the recordings. Another series that is fun are the Simon’s Cat cartoons. They are wordless and show a cat getting into trouble. I would preview these as well because sometimes the trouble that the cat gets into can be over the top. Lastly, I have a YouTube channel that I use for speech therapy videos. I started a series of Wordless Life Skills and they are useful for students to learn how to cook basic recipes. You can find them here: https://youtube.com/sarahwuslp
3. Websites – Using your laptop for speech therapy is easy and fun. Free sites like Funbrain, Abcya, Starfall, Mystery Doug, and PBS Kids have some useful lessons when you dig around on those websites, but I have found several paid sites that are better organized and more helpful for students during speech therapy. Those include BrainPop, Epic, ixl, and Everyday Speech. These are just a few of many online options! You can explore the web using Google Search for educational websites for kids and find a ton of websites that can be used in speech therapy.
Incorporating technology into your speech therapy sessions is a great way to increase engagement with all students, but especially those students who struggle to pay attention and work during class.