A Mid-semester review of iPad Technology in the Clinic

The graduate students in the Speech-Language-Hearing Science Program who have been using the iPad in treatment in our clinics have provided a brief mid-semester summary of her experience with the iPad during therapy.  Their clients and patients present with various communication disorders.  They describe how they use the device and the patient’s response to the treatment methodology.  You will notice that not every patient is successful or comfortable with the iPad.  This is teaching us how to be more selective in our use of it with our patients and clients.  The students are using the iPad as a sound level meter, a recording device, an assistive communicative device, and in accent reduction for an ESL speaker.  At the end of the semester, the students and the patients will be completing a survey rating their experiences.  We will use that data to guide our future use of this exciting therapeutic approach.

 Student M.O.:

Torrey is continuing to use the IPad successfully. He is able to communicate his thoughts, questions, and concerns through the Proloquo application which is especially useful because he cannot communicate these things verbally. The timer app that was installed on the IPad is also very helpful in our therapy sessions. The application allows Torrey to keep tract of exercises such as humming exercises to warm up his voice and prolonging vowels. I continue to find success using the IPad and it is incorporated into each one of our therapy sessions.

Student T.B.

R.D. has had a Lingraphica communication device for several years, but it is not functional in her everyday life due to its large size and complicated nature. We are utilizing the Proloquo program on the iPad to see if that would be a more efficient and viable option in her everyday life to help with her communication because she is severely apraxic. At first, Renee struggled with the iPad, but has become more accustomed to it as the weeks have gone by. She had a very easy time using the categories to create “I want” sentences and “Help” sentences. We then switched over to the typing setting to give R more options of answering questions. She struggles to type sentences with the device, but can type one-word responses easily. She sometimes has trouble finding the keys, so her field of options must be reduced. One trouble is the device is it seems to be too sensitive to the touch and she often hits the wrong button by accident and then has to go back and delete it. She does seem to enjoy using the device and is not easily frustrated by it.

Student D.M.

I have been using the Ipad with my accent reduction case. The client has been having many issues with distinguishing vowels, since his native language, Spanish, only has 5 regularly used vowels while English uses 10 pure vowel sounds. Using the Ipad, I recorded both me and my client saying first, the vowels in isolation and then in words and had my client “grade” himself. After he decided if his production was incorrect or correct, I had him attempt to mimic my production, and we would record it again until his vowel sound was produced correctly. Using the recordings, the client was able to distinguish different vowels with greater ease toward the end of the session. At the end of the session, he was able to produce all 10 vowels in both isolation and in a word. Using the Ipad to record his voice seemed to help him make a significant amount of progress in just one session.

Student L.S.

 My clinical experience using the IPad has been rewarding. My client is a 13 year old boy with a moderate-severe stutter. He is pleasant to work with and cooperative.  However, he has a hard time identifying the ways in which his stutter negatively impacts his speech and social interaction.  In order to overcome this obstacle, I was able to record his conversational speech during a session and, using the IPad, play back a recording for him within seconds.  Immediately, he was able to identify characteristics of his speech and prosody that detracted from his message. This stimulated a more open and productive conversation between my client and I about effective ways to improve his speech. I plan to implement the IPad in future therapy sessions through the use of Skype. Since speaking on the telephone can be a daunting task for a person who stutters, Skype may be a plausible alternative to communicate.

Student K.G.

My client has responded very positively to using the iPad during therapy. He really likes it and was even showing me how to use it, since I had never used one before. He has an iPhone and at the end of one of our sessions, he downloaded the program on his phone and is using it at home. We are using the application, Decibel Meter Pro, because his goal is to speak above 70 dB.  It is very helpful and he does like using it. We are also using the sound level meter to measure his volume and comparing the iPad and sound level meter to see which he likes using better. The iPad is very useful during therapy; however, since the device is so animated, it is often hard to get an accurate reading. It also turns off occasionally. He often gets a higher reading with the use of the sound level meter. The iPad has to be placed very close to him to get the same volume reading. We are still using the iPad during therapy, but my client does also like to use the sound level meter because it is not as animated, making it easier to get an accurate reading.

Submitted by:  James M. Mancinelli, MS CCC-SLP
Director of Clinical Education
SLHS Program


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