Online SLP Resources: How to Make the Best Use of Your Time

SLP Technology

Each year as school gets back into full swing, I ask myself questions about how I can improve over the year before, such as:

  • How can I improve my students’ outcomes?
  • How can I ensure my students perform well outside of therapy sessions and progress toward “graduation”?

I also analyze my tasks for ways to more efficiently use my time. Over the past few years, I’ve made several significant changes that are effective for both my students and my efficiency, restoring more of my valuable time. One of the most effective has been incorporating digital resources.

Why Digital?

Digital resources have a number of advantages:

  • They eliminate the prep time required to print, cut, copy, and laminate materials.
  • Students love technology, so I spend less time on external reward systems.
  • The materials act as both a learning tool and a reinforcement, creating a win-win scenario.

Research supports the use of digital resources in speech and language therapy for both adults and children.1, 2, 3 Additionally, a pilot study conducted in 2010 found that teletherapy outcomes were the same as those achieved in a face-to-face setting (and students and parents “overwhelmingly supported” the teletherapy model).4

One common misconception about incorporating technology into therapy is that the students will simply be given a device and then expected to work independently on their therapy goals. This isn’t how it works. When I work with my students, the technology component is just an additional tool in my toolbox to facilitate speech and language targets. I am involved in every trial, providing guidance, modeling, cueing, and scaffolding based on my students’ needs.

It might be easier to think of technology the same way you would flashcards, books, or gameboards: The digital material is used as a resource to guide your students toward their goals with you ultimately leading the session.

The interactive materials I use allow my students to practice:

  • Following directions
  • Manipulating items on the screen
  • Asking and answering questions
  • Demonstrating understanding of target vocabulary
  • Describing pictures
  • Identifying story elements
  • Retelling stories
  • Sequencing actions
  • Making inferences and predictions

I am able to better home in on my students’ strengths and capitalize on the positives while ensuring that we address more challenging areas. Here are three resources I recommend along with tips to make the most of each.

Boom Cards

Boom Cards are digital interactive task cards. They allow students to point and click on buttons, drag and drop items around a screen, and fill in blanks. The students receive immediate feedback, and the self-grading cards save you time on data collection.

When used with a group, they encourage students to approach the board and click on the correct answers. As you talk through the lesson, you can cue your students to expand on their responses by posing additional questions to them and requiring them to complete grammatically correct sentences. You can facilitate a smaller group’s session using a tablet or iPad and having students take turns answering the questions or manipulating the items on screen.

Throughout the process, challenge your students to engage with the content verbally to increase the length of their utterances. I typically use these in 2:1 sessions, which allows students to communicate with their peers about the presented content.

You can assign Boom Cards to your students for “homework,” allowing for additional reinforcement of targets addressed in therapy. This lets you assess progress and determine which areas might still need to be explicitly taught. Repetition and consistency are key, ensuring that students gain confidence as they work through the digital decks.

Google Drive

The Google Revolution is driving today’s classroom. More and more schools now provide Chromebooks to their students for 1:1 digital learning. This not only equips students with the tools they need to succeed in the real world but also motivates them by incorporating familiar technology.

You can take advantage of this resource and your students’ eagerness to use it. I use Google Slides to incorporate digital interactive notebooks into my sessions. You can create a lesson to address a wide range of targets that coincide with your students’ goals. The digital notebooks can be used during the session and then assigned for continued practice at home.

Digital interactive notebooks are customizable, letting you and your students have fun personalizing them. Once notebooks are completed, they can be shared with parents and classroom teachers so they can see what their students are working on during their speech and language sessions.

If you have the privilege of 1:1 sessions, you can assign each student their own notebook to customize with your guidance and assistance. I enjoy involving parents in the process by asking them to provide personal pictures that can be uploaded directly to their child’s notebook. When students can share personal pictures of their family, friends, pets, and places they have visited, they become more expressive and excited about the activity. You can visit my website to learn more about digital interactive notebooks and how they can be used in therapy.

These are just a few of the digital formats you can utilize in your therapy sessions immediately. As you gear up for the new school year, maximize your efficiency by going digital so you can spend less time prepping and more time enjoying what matters most to you. To learn more about incorporating technology into your speech and language work with children, be sure to check out Sean Sweeney’s MedBridge course series and my website.

MedBridge Home Exercise Library

Did you know?

MedBridge now offers home exercise options specifically for speech-language pathologists who work with children. Our library includes short, engaging video-based exercises that help kids practice phonemes, oral motor strengthening techniques, and breathing exercises. These exercises are made specifically for kids and feature animation as well as active demonstrations so kids can easily follow along.

You create customized programs on the MedBridge platform, which can either be used during a session with your guidance or assigned as homework since families can access the exercises either through the online patient portal or the MedBridge GO app on an Android or iOS device. The free app includes push notifications to remind kids to practice and gamification features to encourage regular use.

  1. Macoir, J., Lavoie, M., Routhier, S., & Bier, N. (2018). Key factors for the success of self-administered treatments of poststroke aphasia using technologies. Telemedicine and e-Health, published online ahead of print.
  2. Felix, V. G., Mena, L. J., Ostos, R., & Maestre, G. E. (2017). A pilot study of the use of emerging computer technologies to improve the effectiveness of reading and writing therapies in children with Down syndrome. British Journal of Educational Technologies, 48(2): 611–624.
  3. Furlong, L., Erickson, S., & Morris, M. E. (2017). Computer-based speech therapy for childhood speech sound disorders. Journal of Communication Disorders, 68: 50–69.
  4. Grogan-Johnson, S., Alvares, R., Rowan, L,, & Creaghead, N. (2010). A pilot study comparing the effectiveness of speech language therapy provided by telemedicine with conventional on-site therapy. Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 16(3): 134–139.