Appy New Year from Speechie Apps: My Top 10 Apps of 2014

10537900_10101501552134624_704772621593102184_oAppy almost new year from Speechie Apps! We’re getting ready to kick off 2015, but it would be a shame to ignore all the great apps we SLPs used in 2014. To celebrate, YappGuru.com is hosting an “Expert Linky Party” (click to see details) with a great group of app review bloggers from around the world. We’re all sharing our top 10 apps we’ve used and recommended in 2014. This is a brief compilation of the ones I personally have been using and showing the most at work and in presentations over the past year, in no particular order…

1. Dysphagia by Northern Speech Services. I pull this one out all the time at the hospital. No more messy diagrams or vague descriptions of “things going down the wrong pipe.” Easy-to-see clips of a normal swallow, penetration/aspiration, and various swallow physiology impairments. Great for patient, family, and student education. Simple, clean, well worth the $10. See my review (and other experts’ reviews of it too!) here on YappGuru.com.

2. Spaced Retrieval Therapy by Tactus Therapy. This has been one of my favorites in the SNFs this year. A relatively simple app (are you sensing a theme here?) that is based on the evidence-based technique of spaced retrieval in patients with memory impairment. (If you want more information on spaced retrieval, check out this Gray Matter Therapy post.) Extra bonus? It’s only $4! See my review on YappGuru.com for more details.

3. STAC by Cognitive Innovations. This app is for adult cognitive testing. My favorite thing about this app is that it is a standardized assessment – which is a direction toward which I would really love for many of the more traditional tests move. Also, it was created by two outpatient therapists – one speech-language pathologist and one occupational therapist – which adds a nice multidisciplinary level to it. As a standardized assessment, it is naturally – and, reasonably – pricier than your typical app ($129), but I’d encourage you to check out my review on YappGuru.com.

4. Speech Trainer 3D by Smarty Ears. Another oldie-but-goodie. This was one of the first apps I ever reviewed here at Speechie Apps, and it’s still one of the ones that gets the most oohs and ahhs when I show it off during presentations. Great animations of how sounds are produced, and when you flip the iPad/iPhone sideways, it turns on the front-facing camera and shows a comparison of how the child is producing it vs how the model produces it. Way more exciting than mirror work or verbal/tactile cues alone, and only $8. YappGuru.com has reviews of this app from myself and from blogging app expert Mary Huston, so be sure to check it out.

5. Soundable by LessonPix and Tactus Therapy. This one you don’t even have to share with your students/patients! 😉 A “Words With Friends”/Scrabble-type app you can play with other SLPs…but with IPA phonetics. Oh, and did I mention it’s free? A number of the YappGuru experts have reviewed it, too.

6. Bla Bla Bla by Lorenzo Bravi. Free app that was never intended for therapy, but can be used to give basic biofeedback to kids and adults for appropriate volume level. Great for showing a visual cause-effect of increased/decreased volume. I reviewed it here on YappGuru.com.

7. Bag Game by all4mychild. Another one of my all-time favorites that SLPs just eat up when they see it, largely because there must be a million ways to use it, and for only $2. One of my top recommended apps for using in groups with preschoolers and early elementary kiddos. See my and other expert reviews of it on YappGuru.com.

8. Sign 4 Me by Vcom3D. This year I had the pleasure of working with a patient in one of the SNFs who is Deaf, and the language barrier was a huge issue. I have a background knowledge of ASL, as I have family who are Deaf, and I grew up in a city with a very rich Deaf culture. This app was great for looking up unfamiliar words. The animated signer is easy to understand, and you can move him around to get better views as needed. Great for working with adults or kids who utilize sign, whether as a primary form of language, or to supplement speech. It is worth the $13 purchase. My YappGuru review has more details.

9. Conversation TherAppy by Tactus Therapy. Yes, there are three Tactus apps on this list! But what can I say? They’re just that good for apps for adults, which has been most of my caseload this year. Conversation TherAppy is another one of those extremely versatile apps that I use as intended…and also in 20 other ways. The $25 price tag is a steal for all the therapy content you get. See several YappGuru expert review (including my own) here.

10. Guided Access. Okay, so I’m cheating with this last one here. This isn’t an app, but rather a tool that Apple created within it’s accessibility settings so that you can have more control over your iPad. I’m still amazed that so few SLPs are aware of this. You can use it to limit the touch screen, ability to click out of the app, the amount of time an app runs, the physical buttons, and so much more. Go to Settings-> General-> Accessibility-> Guided Access to turn it on. Make sure to turn on “Guided Access” and the “Accessibility Shortcut.” Go into whatever app the child/adult wants to use, triple click the home button, and you can set up any restrictions you’d like! It’s too important not to mention, and I’d say it’s one of the best features iOS has to offer.

Whew! 2014 was a fun year for apps. Be sure to check out all the other expert bloggers’ top 10s – we’re all linked to this blog post on the YappGuru blog. Hope to see you all in 2015! Appy New Year from Speechie Apps and YappGuru!!!

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