Tablet Computers for SLP: Core Competency
The conversation about whether to use new technology for SLP is more or less over. Technology is here to stay. Now the only question is this: Are you using it to your best advantage? Most SLPs say no.
Since its introduction just a few years ago, the iPad and other tablet style computers have taken SLP practice by storm. It’s a great tool, partly due to the natural attraction between children and colorful shiny things. Ease of use, colorful interfaces, and apps designed for children make tablets like the iPad a perfect fit for helping special needs children learn in a non-threatening – and super cool – way.
Early this year, the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATiA) published a report entitled “The Critical Need for Knowledge and Usage of AT and AAC Among Speech-Language Pathologists. “ The purpose of the study was to determine the attitudes to, use of, and preparedness for emerging technology by speech-language pathologists. The conclusions, in light of the widespread use of technology in the field, were interesting. It seems that the overwhelming majority of SLPs (more than 85%) expressed:
- Gaps in knowledge and training
- Lack of confidence in industry competence in AT and AAC
- No industry standards for technology use
- Lack of ongoing education and mentoring
- School budget cuts straining resources and limiting options
- Lack of treatment integration with more traditional SLP approach
The report concludes with an industry call to action to address these needs, implement practice standards, and develop education and training materials.
For now, you’re on your own
For many school-based SLPs, this translates to: You’re on your own. You are charged with integrating this technology, keeping on top of the latest developments and treatments, and delivering the best possible treatment to your charges, but we’re not providing the money to make that happen. So how does an SLP deal with this situation?
Making it Work
Fortunately, there are many SLPs out there sharing their knowledge and expertise on the web. One great resource loaded with information is PrAACtical AAC. The website, run by university professors and SLPs Carole Zangari and Robin Parker, contains a wealth of information, videos, teaching techniques, and resources.
Another great source of information is Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, where you can find blogs authored by professional SLPs, surveys, community, and features.
Of course, the mother lode of SLP resources is still ASHA, where you can keep up to date on industry news, find conferences, webinars, and an endless stream of resources on everything from personal development to cause advocacy.
What resources do you rely on to help build your skills? Let us know.