Tablets and smart phones are often used to occupy children, despite the fact that we know children learn best when interacting with others. One in seven children spend up to an hour a day on a screen before they turn one. Children learn best through imitation, they do learn from electronic devices, however they learn twice as fast when interacting with others. In a study, children who saw a three dimensional (live) demonstration imitated actions 50% more than children who saw a two dimensional demonstration (tablet or book). This is because children have difficulty understanding how a 2 dimensional demonstration transfers to real life.
When considering speech therapy for children, keep in mind that children will excel in an environment where they are interacting with others. When a child reads a book, they learn more when an adult is present to support their learning. Apps on our devices work the same way, children will also learn more from them when there is a human element, and their learning is supported, much like a book.
Research also shows, the quality of the television or iPad program also affects how much children will learn. Many programs can have a negative impact on how a child learns to focus, problem solve and pay attention since content is often too complicated and/or fast pace for children to learn.
Lastly, it is important to note how most iPad applications have synthesized voices that have a negative representation of how to produce speech sounds.
Our clinicians use use technology to support therapy, such as providing pictures for the children to describe items or prompt them to use specific words. This eliminates the needs for a verbal model, when eliminated, it allows the child to show us what they can do spontaneously, and we can then praise the child appropriately.
Monitor children's use and put limits on time spent wih these devices. Use the tethnology as positive reinforcement, while playing a game, or allow for a few minutes of iPad time in between trials. We don't want to eliminate the human interaction component that children require to learn at their best.
At speech therapy works, we provide speech therapy at home for children as well as speech therapy in the clinic. We provide speech therapy across the GTA in places such as Etobicoke, Woodbridge, York Region, Markham, Ajax to name a few, by sending our clinicians to your home for one-on-one speech therapy.
Read more about screen time for children at hanen.org