Webinar with Joan Green: Learn the basics of using your iPad to help individuals with special needs

September 6, 2012

Friday October 5, 2012 1:00-1:30 EST

During this 30 minute webinar, Joan L. Green M.A. CCC-SLP ( The founder of Innovative Speech Therapy) will introduce you to the many features of the iPad which are helpful for individuals with special needs. She will share some of her top app picks and strategies to help you learn to use the iPad to help children and adults who have a wide variety of communication, cognitive, literacy and learning challenges.

Registering now will save you a seat in the live webinar and entitle you to one copy of the “special report” which will be available on the day of the event . “Seating” is limited.

If all goes according to plan, Joan will record the webinar and then offer a “pay per view” option so that the webinar can be viewed online with the accompanying “special report” to be used for future reference of discussed products and ideas.
$25.00 registration fee

Click Here to Reserve Your Space Now


Talking Temptations- Strategies and a few apps that promote the urge to speak

June 7, 2012

During speech therapy sessions with children and adults with severely impaired communication skills, one of my primary challenges is setting up situations that promote the urge to talk. As parents, therapists and educators, when helping individuals who have significant communication challenges, we need to set up an environment that gives the individual a reason to talk and make sure to give individuals enough wait time so that they can initiate speech.  Most of us often know what a person is trying to say and help meet their needs to avoid conflict or make life easier, but there are times that it is more appropriate and therapeutic to actively intervene so that there is more of a reason for the person to initiate a communicate attempt.

There are quite a few methods for doing this. We can sabotage the situation- place something in full view but out of reach that we know the person wants, give them something broken that they need to have fixed or engage them in a pleasurable activity such as swinging on a swing, listening to music or playing a fun game- then suddenly stop the activity. Lots of praise for communicative attempts is critical to promote communication- as is providing frequent opportunities for communication during enjoyable activities. If communication does break down- we try to give just enough help for success. It’s important once the communication is repaired- to then review what happened and practice what the individual could have done or said to communicate the desired message.

I use these techniques with a wide range of individuals- young and not so young individuals with autism spectrum disorder ( ASD), adults with aphasia and individuals with dementia or other cognitive challenges. The initiation of communication is critical for quality of life- and often quite a challenge to establish.

I encourage families, teachers and therapists to create situations throughout the day during everyday activities such as morning rituals, mealtimes, work/school and leisure activities.

When using the iPad- I have recently been using quite a wide variety of apps to create these temptations. Of course- the selection depends on the interests and motivations of the client. For individuals with more advanced communication abilities- these same apps can be used to give each other directions or describe what has happened in the app or what they are about to do.

Here are a few of the apps I have recently been using to generate or improve communicative interactions:

YouTube-    on my iPad I have saved many great videos in the “favorites” section for easy viewing. At times I might pause them engage in comments about what we see. I may offer written word choices using paper/pencil, include targeted vocabulary in an AAC app or provide hands on prompting to facilitate accurate verbal productions. Older clients often like “Dancing with the Stars” , while younger ones often respond to amusing Disney clips or favorite singers. Whenever possible I try to find funny clips to promote enjoyment.


Cut the Rope or Where’s My Water– These two apps are very popular with just about all clients. I hold the iPad and encourage clients to say words such as “dig” , “cut” etc prior to interacting with the app. Hand over hand guidance may be needed for individuals with limb apraxia- but many people young and old love these apps.

  My PlayHome and Cookie Doodle- These apps are not “drill and practice” , but offer motivating ways to engage clients with motivating fun activies. I try hard not to have individuals repeat what I say- but facilitate their production of utterances to make things happen. An example might be “Dad on swing” , “Baby bounce” or “eat cookie.”

Below I have listed a a few websites, blogs and videos that do a great job of presenting ideas about how to create communication temptations and facilitate communicative interactions. I am sure there are many more.

Top 5 Ways to Encourage Spontaneous Language

Communication Temptations: How Use Your Environment to Get Your Child Talking

8 Ways to get your Child to Speak

Communication Temptations

How to make communication temptations really work

Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development

If you know of other sites or videos that illustrate the use of communication temptations to encourage verbal initiative- please email me at Joan@innovativespeech.com.

Introductory Interactive iPad Workshop with Joan L. Green, M.A.CCC-SLP

June 6, 2012

 iPad Insights and Implementation Strategies to Improve Communication, Cognition, Literacy and Learning

Thursday October 25, 2012

Rockville, MD 10:30 AM- 2:30 PM ( 45 min.  break for lunch)


Click Here to Reserve a Seat

The morning will begin with an introduction to the many helpful features of the iPad and an overview of how the iPad and iPhone can be used to help children and adults with communication and learning challenges.  During the workshop, Joan  will demonstrate  many helpful features of iDevices and her top app picks for helping others to have fun while maximizing learning and quality of life.  A wide variety of Innovative Technology Treatment Solutions will be presented.

Participants are encouraged to bring their iPads and iPhones and to use them  as Joan presents an overview of her most recent cutting-edge motivating approach for using the iPad to help individuals of all ages with and without special needs including:

  • autism spectrum disorders
  • learning disabilities
  • speech and language delays and disorders
  • twice exceptional learning challenges
  • executive functioning weaknesses
  • aphasia
  • apraxia
  • dyslexia
  • dysgraphia
  • dementia
  • traumatic brain injury

The day will include strategies and suggestions for approaches to improve speaking, understanding, reading, writing, thinking, remembering, socializing, organizing and learning. Participants will be encouraged to actively collaborate throughout the day.

A limited number of professional, graduate student and family scholarships are available. Contact Joan@innovativespeech.com for  for scholarship application information.

MD SLP CEUs approved for 3.25 hours

e2 B o o k R e v i e w The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology in Special Education

February 20, 2012

January/February 2012  www.2eNewsletter.com

Book by Joan L. Green, M.A., CCC-SLP

Published by Prufrock Press, 2011
Format: 221 pages, 10×7 inches, paperbound; also available in
electronic versions
Joan L. Green must be something of a pack rat when it comes to gathering information about hardware and
software in the category of assistive technology. We’d love to know whether her office desk is covered with little notes
and pieces of paper about the hundreds of resources she covers in her book The Ultimate Guide to Assistive Technology
in Special Education, or whether she’s just fiercely well-organized electronically. Green, a speech and language pathologist, offers her
compendium of assistive technologies in order to “empower individuals with literacy, learning, and communication differences.” Among the groups whose lives she hopes to improve are those with autism, learning differences, and cognitive deficits. Her goal is to create opportunities and remove performance barriers. Covering a Range of Challenges The first three chapters provide an overview of the power of technology, the benefits of assistive technology, and the various classes of hardware and software useful in assistive technology. (Chapter 2, on benefits, is available online at the Prufrock website.) Those are followed by seven chapters covering A.T. that can help with specific challenges:

• Verbal expression (two chapters)
• Auditory comprehension
• Reading comprehension
• Reading skills
• Written expression
• Cognition, learning, and memory.

The book concludes with chapters on games and online activities; Internet communication and learning tools;
and adapted e-mail, search engines, and browsers.

A Sample Chapter

A look at a sample chapter gives a good idea of Green’s approach in her book. The chapter “Treatment
and Technology to Improve Written Expression” opens by identifying when written expression may be a problem —
for example, in those with LDs, strokes, or other cognitive challenges. Green then lists the skills involved in written
expression and suggests that low-tech options such as pencil grips be considered as well as high-tech. After stressing why written writing skills are important, she then presents strategies and resources to improve writing, starting with software and apps for drill-and-practice. For each of 16 drill-and-practice writing A.T. apps, the chapter provides the app name, platform (Apple, Window,
etc), price, and bullet-point descriptions of the features of the app. Here’s an example:

Story Patch By Haywoodsoft
• Apple app
• This is a story creator designed with the goal of
helping kids create stories on their own or with
the help of a template.
• The user first titles the story, then selects a
theme such as “a trip to the zoo” or builds his
story independently.
• If the templates are used, questions are
presented with possible answers and the user
selects her response to create a unique story.
• There is an image library with more than 800
images grouped into 47 categories to create
settings for each page.
• A character designer or personal pictures can be
used to create the characters in the story.
• $4.99

The chapter continues with sections on:
• Software to improve spelling
• Word processors as a way to help the writing process
• Picture-based and talking word processors
• Word prediction programs
• Dictionaries
• Graphic organizers
• Technology to help with the physical aspect of writing
and typing
• Speech-to-text and voice recognition
• Additional tools to help with written expression.

All in all, the chapter covers over 70 tools

Putting A.T. to Work
Realizing that a book captures technology as it was at a particular moment in time, Green describes her book as a
starting point, recommending that readers visit the websites cited within the book for up-to-date information. Green
also offers an e-newsletter and a couple websites which can help keep aspiring A.T. consumers current. Green also notes
that obtaining professional guidance may be desirable depending on the condition being addressed.

This book is likely to prove to be a useful starting point for many parents and educators of twice-exceptional children in
the search for resources to help those children overcome their challenges

Assistive Technology for the 2e ( Twice Exceptional) Learner- Interview of Joan L. Green and how she helps students

February 20, 2012

( This article was written by J. Mark Bade as a Featured Topic in the newletter  Assistive Technology for the 2 e Learner ) in the Jan/Feb, 2012 issue)

Are you looking for a way to help that gifted child you raise or teach who has an executive function disorder?  How about the one with a reading problem? Or the one with an expressive language disorder?Joan Green

Joan L. Green, of the Washington, DC, area, is the go-to person for many parents, therapists, and schools who need to figure out what’s in that lengthy evaluation they’ve received about a gifted child who just isn’t achieving in one or more areas. Without the right intervention, that child could wind up in a downward spiral that affects both academic abilities and self-esteem.

Green’s specialty is the application of assistive technology (A.T.) to speech, language, literacy, and cognitive difficulties that may interfere with learning and personal growth. She is a speech and language pathologist with a master’s degree from Northwestern University’s School of Speech, who began her career in the late 1980s working with adults who had had strokes or head injuries. As computer technology improved, tools became available that empowered patients to work on their own, with immediate feedback from the  program. For example, Green successfully used a program meant to teach English as a second language to help her clients who suffered from aphasia, which involves problems understanding or expressing language.

With the advent of the Internet and the spread of computers into just about every household, such assistive technology became much more sophisticated, available, and affordable. Today, says Green, she has explored about 1600 applications to find the “treasures” that might help her clients — and that’s just for Apple’s iPad, which she thinks is a great tool.

A.T. and 2e Kids

The twice-exceptional children Green sees are gifted, of course, and tend to have good technical skills. That’s an advantage, because they pick up on things fast, says Green, helping avoid that downward spiral.
Most of the interventions Green offers are short-term, but she is also available for the long haul if that’s what’s needed. She fits the scope of her services to the need and to the family’s budget, and makes an effort to emphasize free or economical A.T. choices. Her goal is to empower parents, students, therapists, and other education professionals with the knowledge of cutting-edge affordable technologies. She helps people find the right tools and strategies for implementing a recommended intervention, all while making life as easy as possible for everyone involved.

Successful implementation, she says, is critical. “You can’t just give someone a product or a list of potential technology tools and expect them to be able to use them without help knowing which is best and how and when to use the technology.”

When the parents of a 2e child come to Green, she will usually receive evaluation reports containing recommendations for using assistive technology. Green’ advantage, she says, is that there are not that many people who can implement those recommendations. Her success stems from the way she can combine her knowledge of:

  • Communication disorders
  • Psychology (for example, motivation)
  • The educational process
  • The use of assistive technology hardware and software to address communication disorders.

Finding “The App for That”

A typical case may start with a half-hour phone conversation between Green and the parents. The parents then make available the reports and documentation Green needs to fully understand other professionals’ appraisals of the child’s situation.

Next may come a two-hour in-person or online brainstorming session with the parents about potential ways to address the child’s needs; the parents, after all, have good insight into the child’s interests, routines, and motivation. Green may show and suggest potential assistive technology tools at this point.

Joan Green’s favorite A.T. tools include the following:

  • Apple’s iPad with its bounty of apps
  • Notability, a note-taking app for the iPad. It includes audio recording, word processing, handwriting, and PDF annotation.
  • The Livescribe smartpen, which records audio at the same time it’s being used to take notes on special paper. The notes and audio are synchronized. Tapping the pen on the notes takes you to that part of the audio recording.
  • Google Apps, an in-the-cloud collection of “email and collaboration tools” that includes word processing and other common “office” tools. Green especially likes the sharable calendar features, handy for students with executive function issues.
  • WordQ+SpeakQ, a writing solution integrating word prediction, text to speech, and voice recognition.

Then, in individual in-person sessions with the student, Green will help the student learn the tools needed to implement the intervention strategies. This session may take place in Joan’s office in Potomac, Maryland, or in the student’s own home or school in the greater Washington, DC area. For example, she might choose a drill-and-practice tool combined with a word retrieval tool to improve skills in spelling. Another strategy might involve a word prediction tool or text-to-speech to help improve a student’s expressive skills. The areas in which Green uses technology to improve student behavior include:

  • Following directions
  • Learning grammar and punctuation
  • Speaking more clearly
  • Enhancing spelling and vocabulary
  • Practicing writing
  • Studying for tests
  • Researching on the Internet
  • Improving organization, sequencing, and reasoning.

Green’s use of A.T. is not limited to interventions to accommodate a specific learning challenge. She may also implement interventions that focus on augmenting a student’s learning in a particular topic by enhancing the student’s interest and motivation. Not only does technology make the intervention fun, says Green, the right technology can also get around the I-don’t-want-to-be-different problem. Carrying around an iPad rather than a laptop for in-class accommodations, for example, is “cool.” Such interventions may play to a student’s strengths, helping to keep the student engaged in school and enhancing self-esteem.

A.T. for Teachers

Sometimes Green goes into the student’s classroom to observe and may have one-on-one sessions with the student’s teacher to explain the intervention and the tools used. Or, she may present to a group of teachers at school.

Green says that most parents now realize how assistive technology can help their children and expect schools to use that technology. Teachers, however, obviously face lots of demands on their time and may have trouble keeping up with the explosion in A.T. solutions. That’s where Green can help the school, perhaps by assessing the school’s technological capabilities, determining gaps in those capabilities, and suggesting alternative ways to achieve goals, like differentiated instruction, in the classroom. By projecting her iPad screen, Green can demonstrate for the staff how to use technology tools and how to find useful resources on the Internet.

And A.T. for Professionals

Green also presents to other professionals on the topic, which she views as one way to keep up with technology — by making sure her presentation is up to date every time.

Green has written a book on assistive technology which is reviewed elsewhere in this newsletter. She also offers a free e-newsletter on the topic, featuring applications and programs with good value. Interested readers may sign up for it at www.innovativespeech.com.

Joan L. Green may be reached through her website, by e-mail at Joan@innovativespeech.com, or by phone at 301.602.2899. She Tweets under @jgreenslp Text Box: 2e 

Reviews sites to learn more about iDevice Apps

January 15, 2012

I have been speaking quite a bit to private therapy practices, SLP associations, schools, hospitals and families about the iPad. I have added it to my frequently used collection of “technology tools” and bring it out with just about all of my clients in addition to a laptop computer and online interactive sites.

Once you take the plunge and shell out a considerable amount of money to purchase an iPad- the challenge becomes how to use it. What is all the hype about? Was it worth the investment? There are currently hundreds of thousands of apps. Which are best for you and your situation? How should you configure you iPad and what is the best way to do it? I help individuals and organizations, in person as well as online, learn about strategies and apps that are most appropriate for their situation- but I also strive to teach people how to continue this learning process since new apps and features are coming out every day. There are also many ways to use the iPad to help individuals who have communication, cognitive and learning challenges. The calendar, cameras, online access and features such as the contact list can be very helpful.

In my newsletters (which are free and you can sign up to receive them at www.innovativespeech.com), I write about some of my top picks for apps which are the best value for a wide range of people as well as my top picks for  individuals with specific challenges . I have only skimmed the surface with regard to helpful ways the iDevices can help people. Many people ask me what I do to learn about the apps. How do I keep up with it all? I subscribe to many listserves, blogs, and newsletters. I also connect online with Facebook and LinkedIn Groups. I probably spend at least 5-10 hours a week trying out new technologies/apps. As I prepare for new clients or to give a presentation- I make sure I am up to date on the latest technologies.To me it is fun- I really enjoy it. Finding tools to help others improve their lives is one of the activities I most enjoy about being a speech- language pathologist. I want to empower people to help themselves.

Here are a few of my favorite online resources which review apps that are helpful for individuals with communication, cognitive and literacy challenges. Check them out and let me know what you think…. these sites tend to be well organized and updated. They each have a different focus and are written by individuals or organizations with different sets of experiences, strengths and professions. Some are produced by parents, some by SLPs or teachers and some by organizations.

I’d love to hear from you at Joan@innovativespeech.com which sites you find most helpful. I will try my best to add to this list as appropriate.

Although the lists and blogs mentioned below are extremely helpful, it can  be overwhelming. If you would like a personalized in-person session in the Washington, DC area, an online coaching sessions anywhere on the globe or to find out about upcoming workshops and webinars- please send an email to jgreenslp@gmail.com, make a reservation at ist.ticketleap.com or go to www.innovativespeech.com for more information.

Once you select one of the above sites and find a few you think might be helpful- keep the following tips in mind…

Reviews- On the iTunes store there are often helpful reviews and ratings shared by users of the app that can shed unique insights on how they use the app. I also often do a Google search for reviews of the app.

Company Website-Most app pages include a link to the developer’s website. Check it out. Some have reviews on their site and provide instructions and videos on their site or linke to You Tube demo or instructional videos.

Free and Lite Version– Many of the more expensive apps offer limited versions of their product which are a great way to find out if the app is a good match for your situation. Sometimes the difference is that here are no advertisements or requests for in app purchases.

Intended Use- Some apps are produced solely for entertainment and reinforcement, some to improve specific behaviors and some to compensate for areas of weakness. There are apps that are more appropriate for children and others for adults. Some apps are best used by professionals and others are fine for the individuals with the impairments to use on their own. I have found that how I use the app with a client is often at least as important as the quality of the app itself.

The World of Apps- They keep on coming!

November 18, 2011

My thoughts on some of the challenges of using apps to help individuals with communication and learning impairments

It’s astounding how much this new world of apps is changing the way I do therapy and run my practice. iPad apps. Droid apps. Google apps. Android apps. Mac apps. They just keep on coming!

I recently gave up my Blackberry for my first iPhone- the iphone 4s just began to explore my KindleFire which arrived a few days ago, ordered a Velocity Micro Cruz Android 7 inch Tablet on Woot two days ago for a deep discount of $70.00, and am about to get a hand-me-down Mac from one of my kids that I will upgrade to run the Lion operating system so I can start to learn about Mac apps rather than just read about them. I strive to use all apps prior to suggesting them to clients or speaking about them in my presentations. In my spare time while I take my son to swimming practice or my daughter to piano lessons, I find myself bringing along my iPad 1 or iPad 2 with headphones to review apps.

My private practice has constantly evolved over the past 19 years, but lately there has been so much to learn I find myself spending more and more time keeping up with the cutting-edge technologies. I feel like I have become an “app consultant.” Calls keep coming in. Everyone wants to know which apps are right for their situations. It’s overwhelming to start from scratch in the iTunes store, Mac Apps store, Amazon store for Kindle Fire apps or Android Marketplace. An increasing number of bloggers feature their favorite apps and offer reviews, but there again, the lists now are quite long. Apps are usually not very expensive except for some of the AAC apps or very robust professionally developed apps, but the cost adds up quickly and it takes time to download and give them a try.

Yesterday I talked to families about apps to help: a woman who had a brain tumor removed, another woman who has memory loss, a man with aphasia and apraxia after a stroke, a 5 year old boy with severe autism, a 3 year old boy with Down syndrome, a 12 year old boy with executive functioning challenges and an 8 year old girl with severe apraxia of speech. I can’t offer concrete guidance on the phone. I have to see each person, learn about their individual strengths and weaknesses as well as goals and interests, explore their environments, speak to others who help them in daily activities and try out what I think may work with the person before sending them on their way with apps that are customized as needed to practice. With each new client I find myself doing research to make sure they have the latest information. I am also preparing for a few presentations and it is incredible how much has changed since the last full day presentation I gave just this past summer. No two presentations are ever alike. Too much changes.

Although I truly believe that the new tablets have quite a bit to offer and may be the most appropriate tool to use in a variety of activities- they aren’t always the most appropriate solution and there are still plenty of challenges to be faced. Some recent publicity has made them appear to be the perfect solution when, in reality, many hurdles still have to be jumped. We can’t forget about the often more robust computer programs which may be more effective for cognitive retraining, reading and studying, communicating or writing essays.

Here are a few of my concerns and thoughts regarding app use and the reasons why I don’t have generic lists of apps to recommend for different diagnoses:

  • It is challenging to select the most appropriate apps as well as online programs and other technology tools to make sure that they are a good fit for the client and their needs and interests.
  • There are some apps that the user is meant to practice with alone, apps that are more appropriate to be used by an education or rehabilitation professional, apps which need to be customized to be effective, and apps which don’t work directly on the skills to be developed but which are great to use for joint attention or to encourage interaction while working on skills in person.
  • Many individuals need to be behaviorally managed while using the apps. These individuals may try to exit the apps, mistakenly touch the wrong locations and need skilled human intervention (with good training from a clinician such as a speech-language pathologist) to maximize the benefit from them.
  • Not everyone has the motor control to interact with apps and may need special accommodations such as switches for input or a different type of device.
  • Insurance companies and schools are now starting to suggest iPads be used as primary dedicated communication devices when children or adults can’t speak, when a more robust dedicated communication device (which is typically much more expensive and takes longer to acquire) with integrated environmental controls, and features to accommodate for poor motor control or learning abilities may be more appropriate. Finding the most effective communication tool is a process and setting it up, teaching the client how to use it and integrating it into daily routines to promote communication skills takes time and expertise. In most cases purchasing an iPad and an app to use is just the beginning and may not always be most appropriate but is often the least expensive and easiest way to provide fast access to a communication tool. In some cases using it as an intermediate step or backup system is more appropriate.
  • Individuals who are “let loose” with a tablet computer to entertain themselves are often difficult to pull back and structure in therapy tasks using apps on the device.
  • If the iPad is going to be an individual’s primary means of communication, these individuals need another device with a different color cover to use as a learning tool or for entertainment. There are now less expensive devices such as the Kindle Fire which makes having two a more affordable option.
  • It is important to keep in mind that if an individual does have a tablet such as an iPad, we should take advantage of the many wonderful integrated tools it has to enhance learning, executive functioning and communication. There is a calendar, address book, still camera, video camera, email, Internet access and many accessibility options such as enlarging print and reading aloud. When used creatively these are also really wonderful supports for individuals with communication, cognitive, learning and literacy challenges.

I’d really like to hear from those of you who are reading this to let me know which apps or computer software/ websites you use and find helpful and whether or not you agree with my concerns. It’s one of my favorite parts about speaking to large groups of people and interacting with you all online. I am always learning from everyone else.

I can be reached at Joan@innovativespeech.com if you would like to discuss the possibility of setting up an individual consultation or  webinar/presentation for your group or organization.