Top Apps to Encourage Communication Development

While not a substitution for traditional tools and methods of speech therapy, I have found that when used the right way, it is possible to use apps to encourage and teach a wide range of specific communication skills. Ipads and apps are often highly motivating for children, so having a good catalogue of apps to support communication skills can really assist in teaching new skills as well as increasing consolidation and transfer of that skill in different ways. So here is a very brief list of some of my favourite apps for encouraging different communication skills.

Apps to encourage speech sounds
# Talking Tom – great for recording speech and encouraging sounds in a motivating way for children.
# Articulation Station – can be downloaded for free and then specific speech sounds purchased as needed. Fun arcade style games for working on speech sounds in a range of levels.
# Tiga Talk – fun mini-games that target and encourage a sound in isolation – accurate production makes the rocket fly, boat move etc.
# Artikpix – flashcards with a specific sound focus.

Apps to encourage comprehension/following instructions:
# Toca Kitchen Monsters – fun app that can be used to encourage a child to follow specific instructions as well as working on a range of vocabulary.
# My Playhome – a super dollhouse app that can be used to encourage following directions.
# Splingo’s Language Universe – a app designed by speech pathologists to develop receptive language skills. 

Apps to encourage expressive language development:
# Speech with Milo – a fun range of apps targeting specific vocab and grammatical structures, such as verbs, prepositions etc.
# Sago Mini Friends (and the other Sago Mini apps) – cute characters engaged in fun activities – great for targeting a wide range of vocabulary (nouns/verbs/prepositions etc), following instructions and descriptive language.
# Playschool Artmaker: great for creating scenes to tell a story – work on sentence-building, descriptive language and narrative skills.
# Sentence Builder by Mobile Education Store – great app for building sentences to match to pictures
# Monsters vs Superheroes – great app to create characters, and even record your voice to tell a story.

Apps to encourage social communication skills development:
# Daniel Tiger’s Grrr-ific Feelings – a sweet app for younger children that teaches lessons about a range of feelings.
# Social Adventures – works to teach and develop a wide range of social skills such as awareness of personal space, reading non-verbal cues, compromising and initiating social interaction. Created by speech pathologists and occupational therapists, it can be taught over an 8 week program or just focus on specific skills.

This list is just a few of my favourite apps that can be used to promote specific communication skills. Find more suggestions at Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org), an independent non-profit organisation who does the hard work for you to help families make smart media choices. There are a whole range of reviews, advice, tips and lists to enable you to find great appropriate options in apps, movies and books for your children.