Check out our four favorite starting points to find all types of speech and language therapy activities that are a perfect fit for adults working hard to recover from aphasia, stroke or TBI – with specific examples to get you started
by Jordyn Sims, M.S., CCC-SLP
1. Speech Pathology Specific Apps for Mobile Devices like iPads and Android Tablets. Several companies now focus on adult-specific therapy applications. Obviously, I’m a little biased and think one particular app shines as the most versatile. But there are some good apps out there that are adult focused:
- Constant Therapy Oh wait… you knew I was going to suggest that one first? In all seriousness, Constant Therapy is a great option for patients who are looking to “carry over” the work they do in therapy to home practice, whether that’s while they’re still under your care as a clinician, or if they want to do therapy independently (the app will advance tasks to the next level for them automatically) after they’ve been discharged. It’s also a great option for patients who don’t have access to in-person speech therapy, for economic or geographic reasons. The tasks focus on both language and cognition, and we’re always working to expand the versatility and level of challenge of each individual task as well as our set of tasks as a whole. Free for clinicians. 30-day free trial for users. Go download it now.
- Tactus – this Canadian company has many apps available for both language and cognitive areas. You purchase each app separately, and the company has come out with a number of new apps in the past year. The apps are a little harder to use at home independently, as they don’t tell you whetn to move up or down in difficulty level within the apps, but they are particularly great for speech therapists looking for in-therapy tools.
- Virtual Speech Apps – another company that’s really broadening its adult focus. Similar to Tactus, these apps are harder to use independently at home, but the material is phenomenal, and the amount of control the apps give you as a clinician is great in terms of complexity of tasks presented and exactly what type of stimuli you want your patient to see.
2. Speech Pathology Paper-Based Products. If you’re ready for a little blast from the past, you can go back to good old paper (and let’s be honest, when you buy most of these, you can buy them as PDFs now, so don’t worry about the paper problem). Here are a few of my favorites:
- The WALC series – these focus on language, cognitive skills, and have a lot of really practical items. Another nice feature is that you don’t have to buy all of it at once – you can buy one book at a time to focus on exactly what you need.
- The HELP series – again, language, cognition, you name it, HELP has it. I also like that there are some portions of HELP that are very specific skill focused, where others require skills to be applied.
- Just for Adults – this series also has multiple books which is great. They also have fantastic color picture cards that use nice photography and have some built in questions on the back. I also like to just use the photos as stimuli during therapy.
3. Non-Therapy Apps that Provide Language Skills Practice. Here are a few that happen to require language to use them successfully:
- Words With Friends – basically “Scrabble” for your mobile device (so much fun, it can be addictive!). This is great because you can compete with others, but there’s no time pressure, so you can take your time. Thinking of words that contain certain letters is great for word-finding problems (difficulty thinking of the right word is a common issue in TBI and Aphasia).
- Ruzzle – I’ve personally spent an embarrassing amount of time playing this app. You look at a set of letters and find as many words as you can. This requires executive function, attention, planning, and definitely language/reading skills.
- 4 Pics 1 Word – this is a great one for naming, focusing more on the meaning/semantic side of finding the word you want. Again, fun and addictive.
4. Non-Therapy Items You May Already Have at Home
- Built in alarms and calendar reminders – use your phone to set up reminders for meds, appointments, deadlines, you name it – to be honest, I use this all the time for myself, in addition to helping my clients use this as a compensatory strategy.
- The Internet – whoever created it, thank you! The Internet has every topic you could ever want, and can be tailored to your own interests and those of your clients or loved ones. Google your client’s or loved one’s interests and hobbies and you’ll find lots of material to read alone or aloud.
Constant Therapy is a cognitive & speech therapy app that helps people with brain injury, stroke and aphasia work on key speech and cognitive skills – like memory, math, reading, writing, counting change, and more – needed to get back to an active life. Built and tested by a team of top neuroscientists and clinicians at Boston University, Constant Therapy has proven effective in multiple peer-reviewed, published research studies. Both clinicians and patients can download and use Constant Therapy.
Jordyn Sims, M.S., CCC-SLP is a speech pathologist, working in the Baltimore area. She graduated from Boston University, where she worked with Dr. Swathi Kiran in the Aphasia Research Lab. Her research focuses on MRI data of persons with aphasia, and how brains change and adapt after a stroke. She blogs about all things speechie for Constant Therapy in her free time (yep, she’s a major SLP nerd).