As a speech-language pathologist that has been affectionately nicknamed “the app guy”by literally every single one of my co-workers, you could only imagine the massive amount of app-related questions that I receive. One of the most popular inquiries that I get from my colleagues is something along the lines of “Erik, what’s your favorite speech therapy app?”
Such a great question!
But such a hard one to answer because each day I seem to have a new fav. Seriously. Like, if you asked me that question on a Monday, I might say one thing, and then if you asked me again a few days later, I would probably name a completely different app. This is because I’m constantly exploring new apps in an effort to find the best ones that can fit into my specific speech therapy setting.
But guess what?
I think I’ve finally made up my mind, with regards to what my all-time favorite speech-therapy app is. I would like to go on record as saying that the YouTube app is my all-time favorite speech-therapy app! (And my second favorite speech-therapy app would have to be Multiple Choice Articulation – so go buy that one ASAP, hehe!)
The YouTube app? That’s not even a speech therapy app!
Oh but believe me, it is. You see, the YouTube app is THEE gateway to the world’s most extensive video-sharing website and it gives you access to TONS of videos that could potentially be viewed and discussed during speech therapy. TONS of videos. Just how many videos do you think are on YouTube? Well, as mentioned in the statistics portion of Youtube’s website, approximately 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. Every. Minute! That means that there’s an endless amount of content that we, as clinicians, have access to and we could easily share that content with our students, in an effort to help reinforce the given goals and objectives.
The power of videos.
You don’t need me to tell you that videos are more stimulating than pictures. Pictures are static. They lack movement (and audio). So whenever possible, we must try to utilize videos in our sessions because they contain movement and are often much easier to relate to than a standard two-dimensional presentation of whatever is being presented. For example, while recently working on WH questions with one young boy, I showed him a picture of a child giving her muddy dog a bath. Now, anyone who has ever given a dog a bath before knows that the whole scenario is a messy one that often results in the human getting soaked from the pup shaking water all over the place and sometimes even trying to escape from the tub. I found myself asking questions to my client such as “Why do you think she might want to change her clothes after she washes her dog?”
He was silent and confused.
This particular student wasn’t able to make the connection that the human was getting wet during the dog wash. He continuously kept mentioning that the dog was the only one getting wet because the dog was the only one in the tub. And you know what? He was right (to an extent). All he had to really guide my question was the picture that I was showing. A picture that lacked movement and action. So that is when I grabbed my iPad, opened up the YouTube app, and did a quick search of dog washing videos.
That is when I was immediately greeted with dozens of videos.
Together, we watched a handful and each one showed a happy dog shaking its fur furiously after having water and soap all over it (this video was our favorite because it’s a slow motion one!). That’s when it hit my student, it was one of those lightbulb moments that us SLPs live for. He got it. He made the connection that even though you might not be in the tub with your pooch, you still might get quite wet, therefore, that would cause you to change your clothes after you wash your dog.
In closing . . .
Thanks to the YouTube app (and Wi-Fi, of course), I was able to get my student to where I needed him to be. This is just one of the many examples that I have that illustrate what YouTube can do for our students with communication difficulties. From social skills to articulation to everything in between, there are hundreds of video presentations on YouTube for us to explore. So my question to you is, have you ever used YouTube in speech therapy before? If your answer is no, what are you waiting for? Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.