Teaching kids language skills can be challenging and frustrating for parents, teachers, and speech-language pathologists alike. But the latest entrant to a suite of entertaining and educational speech therapy apps created by Doonan Speech Therapy may hold the key to getting youngsters interested and engaged in learning language.
The Speech With Milo "nouns" app, which is scheduled to launch before Thanksgiving, will become the 10th app in the Speech With Milo platform, joining apps that help kids learn verbs, prepositions and adjectives, as well as an articulation board game and interactive storybook.
The Speech With Milo family of apps has more than 150,000 collective downloads.
The app also supports a first-of-its-kind front-facing camera app, which allows children to see themselves in the "iPad Mirror." This mirror technology will be utilized on iPads 2, 3, and 4, as well as on the iPad mini. The iPad 1 will feature images and audio only, allowing children to see pictures of Milo with the stated noun, as well as record their own voice. The technology for iPhone 5 is pending.
The Speech With Milo app suite was designed by Poorani Doonan, MS, CCC-SLP, founder of Speech with Milo and a licensed speech-language pathologist based in San Ramon, CA. She created the apps because she found that while children responded to the iPad, there was a real need for basic language building apps.
"As a therapist, the one thing I've learned is that kids love to see themselves," explained Doonan. "A mirror is a great tool in therapy! Now, with this new camera app, children can see themselves as they learn. They are surrounded by the colorful world of Speech with Milo.
"Specialized apps tend to be extremely expensive and not necessarily friendly to non-professionals," Doonan added. "We wanted to make an app that any parent could pick up and build basic language skills with their children."
One speech therapy professional who tested the app shared her impressions of it: "It is a lot easier to get kids to say 'chicken' when they look like they are in a chicken suit. You can record a video of children saying each and every word on camera - then play it back with them or share it with friends and parents."
The app will officially make its debut at the 2012 ASHA Conference in Atlanta on Nov. 15, giving thousands of SLPs the ability to receive an in-depth demo from the Doonan Speech Therapy founders.