Living with Aphasia? There’s an App for That

In a world that is becoming more and more technologically savvy and advanced every day, people are able to use computer-based systems for a multitude of purposes. There is an app for just about everything, from finding parking to catapulting some very angry birds to picking the best restaurant in town. For people living with aphasia, a communication disability resulting from damage to language centers in the brain, there are apps and websites that provide them with an opportunity to work on and improve their communication skills. These apps and websites fall into two primary types:

  • Therapeutic activities to improve communication skills
  • Therapeutic augmentative and alternative communication systems

Provided below is a list of the most popular communication websites, activities and basic communication systems.  It is recommended that the activities and applications be used under the instruction and guidance of a speech-language pathologist, as the applications are intended to supplement, and not replace speech therapy services.

There are free versions of all these services. Test them out and let us know what you think! Any others that should be on this list?

Mobile Apps

Activities

  • SmallTalk Phonemes: Demonstrates lip/tongue movements for the production of specific sounds
  • SmallTalk Letters, Numbers & Colors: Provides letters, numbers and colors to practice understanding and communicating
  • SmallTalk Common Phrases: A series of speech-exercise videos that contain greetings, conversational phrases and aphasia-oriented phrases. The app illustrates the tongue and lip movements necessary to produce these common phrases and allows users to practice them at their own pace.

Communication Systems

  • SmallTalk Aphasia (Male or Female): Provides users with common words and phrases for communication purposes
  • SmallTalk Daily Activities: Provides users with words and icons they need to go about the activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming and leisure
  • Locabulary: Provides users with words, phrases and sentences for communication purposes. Includes quick phrases, moods, assistance and food-related information.
  • Verbally: Text-to-speech with word prediction application. Common words and phrases are available.
  • Tap to Talk: Provides basic pictures for communication (only sample albums provided)

Online Resources

  • Crick Web:  Provides online therapy activities including matching words/phrases to pictures and labeling items to picture scenes. 
  • Many Things: A website for people learning English, but also a good website for individuals working on their communication skills. Includes vocabulary and spelling tests.
  • Picture Dictionary: Over 2,500 illustrations/pictures of words with translations in more than 50 languages. A great way to create low-cost AAC boards and to practice reading, naming, and categorization.
  • Hubbard’s Cupboard: Printable books to help improve language skills.

For more educational information regarding aphasia and to learn more about other communication options that are available, please check out these great resources:

* Magee Rehabilitation Hospital does not endorse any of these applications, websites or products; rather these are resources that could be helpful.

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  • Linda S

    Ashley, Just a cool tidbit: Microsoft Research project using Kinect for sign language translation to hearing folks and vice versa! It’s being worked on in China at Beijing Union University with Bing also being used to translate the languages. It is still being developed. Healthcare and teaching will be changed forever when this releases. More independence and better communication than ever! Here’s the speech to speech translation video, sign language video not yet online. I watch tech trends hoping to see things people can use in their daily lives. This is an exciting time! Thank you for posting this!
    http://youtu.be/1xkaAGPW2C8

  • Tactus Therapy

    Tactus Therapy Solutions also makes apps for aphasia therapy. Please have a look: http://tactustherapy.com/apps/ Our apps are used around the world by SLPs, people with aphasia, family members, and children with special needs to improve speech, language, and cognitive skills!

  • EOOsweden

    Thanks for a great article with many tips! I’d like to also forward our link to therapy apps that my company has developed together with SLTs and patients in Sweden, now available internationally:

    http://sharevoice.eoosweden.com/#1

    Your feedback would be golden – let me know if anyone’s interested in license codes. Keep up the good work!

  • Nick Dougherty

    Check out Verbal! They’re a really easy to use and customizable communication platform 🙂 http://verbalapplication.com

  • Lingraphica

    Thank you for including Lingraphica’s apps!