I was so excited about the giveaway last week, I just realized I forgot to do another aphasia-themed review for National Aphasia Awareness Month! No worries–I will make up for it and you will have one for each week this month as promised. 🙂 Since I think cooking is an awesome language activity, I went on the hunt for a recipe app that was cheap, well-organized, and had plenty of visuals. Several met this criteria, but Epicurious was my personal favorite. Play around with a couple options to see what best fits your clients’ needs, but this one is definitely a great place to start.
What It Is: A cooking app with over 30,000 recipes by Epicurious.
How It Works: Search for a recipe by picking from preset categories (e.g. “Summer Dinners” or “Graduation Parties”), typing in keywords into a search bar, or picking main ingredient(s). Sort through the results by relevance, rating, photo, alphabetical order, or most recently added. Favorite things or share them on social media sites. If missing any ingredients, add the recipe to the built-in shopping list. Read reviews or more about the recipes within the app.
Therapy Applications: This app can be used to combine functional, everyday activities with strategies and learning opportunities to increase language, and hopefully it will do so in a social way! First, my spiel about baking: it connects the present to older memories for many clients, involves cognitive skills like following directions, is often social in nature, can be used to address just about any language goal, and can usually be done in both therapy and home settings. So, why not just use a recipe book with your clients? Unlike recipe books, the app is free (and has 30,000+ recipes). Even more importantly, it is more interactive, visual, and organized. Many people with aphasia have comorbid difficulties with things like memory and organization, and this app can serve as a compensatory strategy for both of those things. For example, the home page features categories appropriate for the time of year and helps reduce organizational difficulties and cognitive load. In addition, the shopping list feature can help those with executive functioning and memory difficulties when they are planning meals for the week. Choosing ingredients to find recipes can help direct the individual to new options or help them decide what to make using the food they already have in the house (problem-solving!). The ability to share their recipes via email or social media sites can increase their motivation to participate in social interactions. Or, it can be a way for them to communicate throughout the week what they are doing so you can discuss it during therapy.
Pros: 1. Price! Many cookbook apps are getting pricier, so it’s awesome this one’s still free.
2. Great visuals (photos, choosing ingredients, etc.).
3. Useful for a wide variety of skills.
4. It’s functional and normal. ASHA stresses a life participation approach to aphasia (LPAA) that emphasizes a focus on real life. It is also always important to help the person regain the highest degree of normality as possible. This app is useful for any population, with or without language difficulties.
5. Social component.
6. Multiple ways to find recipes means people with different organizational styles and abilities will be able to use the app.
7. Huge list of recipes.
8. Could be used in therapy or for home activities that family members will easily be able to participate in.
Cons: 1. No cookbook app has everything. I saw one (which had a much smaller selection and was not free) that offered video instructions to accompany all of its recipes. It would be great if this app started featuring some videos.
2. Advertisements. As far as ads go, these ones were tolerable (no flashing obnoxious ones, all appeared related to cooking, etc.); however, they were still there.
The Take-Away: This app offers many wonderful features that could benefit adults with acquired language disorders or cognitive challenges. It boasts a high number of recipes, plenty of visuals, and great organizational tools. It’s a functional, free app that could be a great tool in therapy with adults.
My Questions for You: Do you use cooking activities with your clients? What goals could you address with this cookbook/shopping list app?
Looking for expert reviews of this app? Check it out on YappGuru.com!