When you realize that your kid has speech delay, you will be doing everything to make sure that they have as much vocabularies to learn at their disposal. You are going to go out with the kid, have them play with others and while indoors, you will want to engage in activities that help them gain as many words as possible. One way that you could do this is by investing in speech apps for toddlers.
Top Free Speech Apps for Speech Delayed Kids
Fortunately there are a few free ones that you could get.
1. Language and Cognitive Therapy for Children (MITA)
This is an android app available on Google Playstore.
It is available in the following languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, German, French, Italian, Arabic, Farsi, and Chinese. It has been clinically proven to help children who have autism as well as speech delay get better in their cognitive abilities, learn to match things, identify meaning of words such as ‘big’ and ‘small’. It will also help greatly in improving the memory of the child as well as help them get better in doing mathematical calculations.
The Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA) app is based on ABA therapy, language therapy and pivotal response treatment and will therefore do lots of good to your child. With a 4.5 star rating you can be sure that this is an app that will immensely help your child with their language emergence.
I downloaded the app when my kid was two and half years after reading the awesome reviews that have been done by the over 1 million people who have downloaded the app. One thing that the MITA app requires is that the parent is always there to configure the app for the toddler. It also has a daily time limit of about 30 minutes which they recommend to be enough time to have stimulated the child.
There are also lots of instructions and verifications that a parent has to go through before their kiddo can go ahead to play.
Though there is a free version, a paid version also exists which they promise that it will be more fun and helpful to your kid.
Bonus: No Ads in the app
2. Animal Puzzle for Kids
The animal puzzle for kids will help toddler with autism as well as speech delay with their tactile and fine motor skills. At the same time, it will help them learn the names of different domestic as well as wild animals.
With a 4.1 star rating after over 60,000 people left their reviews, the app is also something that parents of children with delay in language development should keenly look into.
The one downside is that the app has lots of ads and so you need to make sure that your smartphone data is off as well as your wifi lest your kid gets lots of distracting ads while they are playing.
384 Puzzles for Preschool Kids
The 384 Puzzle for Preschool kids has two versions: free and paid. In the free version, you have a limited number of objects that your toddler will be allowed to play with. It will still help though as I found it to do to my son who now knows what ‘sheep’ and ‘pig’ are thanks to this app.
It combines animals, kitchen, bathroom, cars and foods that are to be fitted together. Other than helping in the fine motor skills of your child, it will help improve their cognitive abilities as well as learn new words since after doing the puzzle well, the child is rewarded with the name of the object they just fitted together.
Things to do before having the toddler play that speech app
- Censor the apps
As you give that smartphone, IPad or tablet to your child, you need to first go through the app, play it yourself to see that it meets the needs you want addressed. Some free apps might sneak in dangerous and morally wrong ads since the developers are still interested in earning though they have given the app for free.
- Limit screen time
At the same time, screen time need be limited. The kid should not be spending hours and hours on end playing that speech app that you just discovered. No they need to go out, play and be social with their peers, run up and down the compound and chase cows, go to the farm and get flowers etc.
Research shows that kids who are above 2 years should not be doing more than 1 hour screen time per day since it might hamper their social skills as well as how they respond when spoken to. They might even end up seeing the world in 2D since all that they are interested in is a TV or smartphone where they play their games.
- Be firm about use of your gadget
Toddlers might not be interested in those speech apps that you just downloaded.
Maybe all they care in the world is to watch Youtube on your phone. So when you launch the app and pass the phone to them, they just get disinterested and since they are really ‘smart’ they close down the app and go to Youtube to watch baby shark and other Cocomelon songs. You should not let this happen under your watch.
No. Be firm and tell the kid that the only reason you allowed them to take up that smartphone was that they practice on their speech skills.
They might be worked up and start wailing and throwing tantrums throwing themselves on the floor, crying and rolling. But you need to show them that you are the adult in the house. Don’t give in to their little dramas.
If they are adamant, then you can call it a time out and ask them to go out play with a ball or any other outdoor game.
You also need to be firm about how much time the kid plays on that app. For one, playing in the night should be discouraged since blue light that emanates from the phone screen is harmful to your child’s eyes. At the same time, playing for long might be addictive and the child will become messed up.
- Interact with the child after the app time
Once your kid is done playing with that speech app, you need to sit down with them and interact asking them questions on what they learnt for the day. If they were learning about fruits and how to mention them, try to go to the kitchen with the kid and ask them to name some of the fruits there. If they pass this test, you could reward them. If they do fail, be supportive and correct them accordingly.