Innovation in Early Intervention Therapy for Children
The digital world surrounds us to connect with others, entertains us and increases our productivity. Can this versatile tool help a child with developmental delays learn to interact and attain new milestones?
Just ask Kristen Lang, a teli Speech Pathologist. Kristen has begun to embrace digital technology in a new way for children requiring early intervention therapy to explore another creative means of learning.
“When Teli initially received a grant to utilize iPads as a tool to work with families and their children with developmental delays, I was a bit skeptical.” Educators have traditionally focused on reducing “screen time” however that skepticism soon turned to excitement as she attended two conferences with other professional educators presented by the Fred Roger’s Center and the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC).
Kristen saw the world of digital media literally open up a multitude of options to address how she could interact with her clients to improve their lives.
“Making digital media useful for kids was the focus of these sessions as we learned to think of this as just another tool in our expanding repertoire of options, just like crayons and a blank piece of paper. The key is to ensure that the media has a social component that requires interaction with a child’s family member, teacher or therapist.”
Kristen learned about the millions of applications that could be used that enable the child to explore and learn. There are applications that reinforce repetition of sounds for children with speech disorders and enable audio feedback so the child can hear their voice while they watch an associated action on the screen. The child’s thrill in recognition of sights and repeating of sounds can be the exact reinforcement they need.
The range of capabilities is significant and enables the whole family to participate in the support and care of their child on a familiar tool. The use of digital media via an iPad through teli, provides the family with a versatile tool which improves learning accessibility for a child with developmental needs.
Kristen has become an advocate, fueled by the results she has seen in her clients as she has begun to use these innovative techniques to deliver early intervention therapy at teli.
Along with her teli co- worker, Leslie White, Kristen will be training other education professionals about the merits of digital media in the care of her clients. As a child recognizes his or her voice, successfully masters a skill using these tools, their excitement is contagious.
Kristen hopes that in sharing that excitement with others, she will encourage other child development educators to explore the digital world!