Over the last decade, educational games for children have grown tremendously. So many games and activity-based apps have been developed to help teach children on a variety of topics. For children with speech disorders, using a mobile app or game has been shown to be extremely effective in their development.
What Is Speech-Language Therapy?
“Approximately 8% of children aged 3 to 17 have a disorder related to speech, voice, language, or swallowing,” according to the NIDCD (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders). In most cases, it is recommended for children with speech disorders to undergo speech-language therapy.
Speech-language therapy is the treatment for children with speech or language disorders including articulation disorders, fluency disorders, and resonance or voice disorders. According to the NAPA Center, speech therapy has many benefits for kids including improving communication to express thoughts and feelings, preparing them for school, improving vocal quality, and increasing self-esteem and independence.
When a child needs speech-language therapy they will consult with a speech language pathologist or speech therapist. Speech-language pathologists (SLP) or speech therapists study human communication and communication science disorders.
Speech-language therapists have a high educational background with some form of education in communication sciences and disorders, state certifications, participation in clinicals, and sometimes a passed completion or a national exam. Speech assistants have also been known to assist in speech therapy sessions with children. Speech assistants usually have a 2-year or 4-year degree in communication science disorders. Learn more about speech pathologist qualifications, their educational background, and how to become a speech pathologist here.
Assisting Speech Therapy Development With Games and Apps
Many speech therapists use educational games and apps in their sessions, and they recommend them to parents to continue their child’s development at home. However, it is important to note that games or apps should not completely replace a speech therapy session with a professional skilled in communication science disorders.
“Integrating games and activities into speech therapy makes learning and engaging more enjoyable for children. It can also help to harness their natural curiosity and playfulness to accelerate their communicative growth.” – Michael Lantigua, Director of Community Relations at Children’s Rehab
Mobile apps and games are great for children with speech disorders because they are a cheaper, consistent, and fun way for children to keep up with their development at home in between scheduled sessions with their speech therapist. Here are some of the top-rated fun speech therapy games for kids.
1. Tongue Twisters
Remember the old playground tongue twister, “Sally sold seashells down by the seashore”? Or “If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, where is the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked”? These tongue twisters can help tremendously with children who have trouble with their articulation. The Peter Piper one for instance would help with the sound “P”.
2. Pop-up Pirate
Pop-up Pirate is especially fun for younger children. The child will try to correctly pronounce, and articulate a given word. If they do it correctly, they will take a turn pushing a sword into a barrel to get the pirate to pop out. This game also helps to teach children how to take turns.
3. Rory’s Story Cubes
Rory’s Story Cubes consists of nine cubes with different images on each side of the cube. There can be 10 million possible combinations for children to practice. The cubes teach school aged children how to express their language skills, interpret images, and use proper syntax. This game is a favorite of many speech pathologists because it helps to develop vocabulary, listening, articulation, and storytelling.
4. Articulation Station
This game is best for children ages 4 and older. It has six different activities for kids including flashcards, matching, rotating sentences, unique sentences, and stories. It also has a voice recording feature to help with auditory feedback to assist parents or speech therapists with scoring and data tracking.
5. Fluency Tracker
This game is great for children that have a problem with stuttering. The app will track when a child stutters, how many times, and with whom the child was speaking. This helps to analyze the child’s anxiety levels of speaking to different people and then the speech pathologist or parents can develop a more specialized therapy session to help overcome this.
6. Let’s Be Social
Many children with autism struggle with communication science and disorders. Let’s Be Social is an app designed to help children with autism understand typical human interactions and how to respond to them through various activities. The 40 lessons are divided into skill sets of personal interactions, navigating the community, school behavior, handling change, and social relationships.
Additional Speech Therapy Resources:
- Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development
- Speech Language Therapy Videos
- Super Duper Publications Word FLIPS for Learning Intelligible Production of Speech
- Speech Therapy for 0-5 Year Olds
With consistent practice at home, help from a speech pathologist skilled in communication science disorders, and encouragement and motivation children can develop better speech and language patterns. The important thing to remember is to implement a combination of both professional help and at home practice to stay consistent with their learning and development.