Sometimes the best apps are the simple (and free!) ones that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with speech-language therapy. Here’s a fun one that has more uses than I originally thought.
What It Is: A touch-controlled stoplight by Cloudburst Games.
How It Works: This app is as basic as it gets. Touch the top circle, and it lights up red while producing a sound, word, or phrase like “stop!” (The sound/voice changes each time.) Touch the middle circle, and it lights up yellow while a voice says “slow” or something similar. Touch the bottom circle, and it lights up green while saying “go!” or “green light!” At the bottom of the light, there is a turning signal which can be pressed to change the direction of the arrow as it lights up green.
My Therapy Applications: I downloaded this app with the intention to help clients work on self-monitoring rate of speech. It’s taken place of the paper “Speed-O-Meter” I’ve used in the past, since the app is often more interactive and motivating to them. However, I also have found that I like using this app with kids who are working on self-monitoring their articulation. We use the green light for a correct production, yellow for “almost there,” and red for “uh-oh, try again.” I’m sure there are even more ways this app could be used to promote self-awareness, but those are the two I use it for. I find that I don’t really utilize the direction arrows, but I could see it incorporated into lessons focusing on turn-taking skills. Perhaps the app could also be used for working on topic initiation (green), maintenance (yellow), and termination/transition (red).
Pros: 1. Motivating. I was astonished at how many children are obsessed with traffic lights. They love that they can control this one.
2. Simple. This is not going to be a confusing app.
3. Flexible. It is not made for speech-language therapy, so it does not have to be used for a designated objective.
Cons: 1. There is an ad on the bottom. It hasn’t seemed to get in the way yet, but it is there.
2. The app is intended for younger children, and it is not very flexible in regards to age. Even some older elementary children may not like the app because of the voices and sounds that are used when the various lights are pressed. (However, if you turn off the sound, older children will likely enjoy it more.)
The Take-Away: If you can think of any use for it, download it. Why not? It’s free and doesn’t have any apparent glitches. It’s not for every single SLP in every single setting, but I have no reservations about it if you have a way to incorporate it into therapy.
My Questions for You: What are some ways that you could you use a traffic light app in therapy?