Santa's Christmas iPad… Now what?

January 7, 2012
Kira Wright, CCC-SLP

This is part of a continuing series of posts on therapy ideas to support assistants (SLPAs) and paraprofessionals in the schools in their work with students and their supervising SLPs.

Our last post on technology in therapy focused on choosing appropriate apps for the students you're working with and the goals you are targeting. Maybe you've had a chance to download some apps and try them out, and if you have, you have certainly experienced the "time-suck" that can occur when you start to browse the App Store - there's always another link to follow, another search term to try. And of course, you have to play a bit with all those apps you've downloaded. It's easy to feel discouraged when you realize that the "app-world" is constantly changing with new developments and new ideas all the time. How can we stay current? How can we broaden our horizons beyond the couple apps we are currently using? What about online resources and other technology? SLPAs and paraprofessionals and their supervising SLPs work with a broad variety of students, each with their own interests and needs.

One answer is scheduling time regular time (each day or week or month?) to read what people are writing about technology and special education. Set up Google Reader to collect new posts from blogs (Google "speech language blogs" or something that reflects your interests to get started!). I used a couple of speech-language-type blogs I enjoy to find other recommendations, and I also looked at people who were posting interesting speech language stuff on Twitter to see who else they were following.

If you don't want to be so specific about your sources, or you'd like material on more broad topics, use an app like Zite to pull news for you. In playing with Zite (only for iPhone and iPad right now), I created a personalized magazine that updates every hour with sections on Psychology & Mind, Special Education, Linguistics, Knitting, and Russia! Truly a magazine just for me!

SLPAs and paraprofessionals should always operate within the scope defined by state and national licensing organizations and should only conduct allowable tasks under the supervision of a speech-language pathologist.