For the Love of Apps
By Hearing First Team February 9, 2017
Apps are valuable tools to enhance listening, auditory skill development, spoken language and literacy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. If you own a device that runs apps, you have valuable resources for listening and learning possibilities at your fingertips (and at your child’s fingertips too).
Our world is online and digital. However, in parenting and education circles one of the hottest topics is the proper role of electronic media in children's lives. The landscape of technology use is fast-changing, but screen exposure for children is here to stay. Although many questions remain unanswered, apps are popular in homes, clinics and schools. Families and LSL professionals need to know listening and language building strategies for children when using apps to develop effective listening and spoken language skills.
Many apps are powerful, creative, captivating and visually enchanting tools that have the potential to open a universe of books, games, music and entertainment for learning. With intentional planning and thoughtful guidance, apps can stimulate your child’s brain through listening. To achieve this outcome, focus on specialized LSL strategies and techniques that place an emphasis on learning spoken language when using apps. These strategies and techniques take full advantage of an open doorway to the brain, which is prewired to learn spoken language.
Apps are interactive tools that can also facilitate communication between adults and children so that learning is caught not taught. Talk time, not screen time, is the goal. As a parent you must consider the pros and cons of using apps over traditional materials and how to integrate the benefits of both. In short, there is a time and a place for technology and its use must be managed.
To avoid the trap of simply downloading apps and then letting the apps lead, Dave Sindrey and Lynn Wood LSLS AVTs recommend incorporating their Explode The App* approach. This approach can be used to engage, extend and expand the apps to promote vocabulary, listening and language through themes and with traditional books, songs, crafts, games and more. Exploding apps extend and expand LSL experiences into many meaningful opportunities and environments. With this focus, listening, language and social skills are learned when people and apps interact together. Dave and Lynn’s approach draws the app users closer rather than just drawing them to the screen. Download our Apps with a Plan handout to learn ways to teach your child to listen, talk and share using a smart device.
Apps can be relevant and effective tools to enhance listening, auditory skill development, spoken language and literacy for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. With the right technology, learning plans and techniques, you can help your child move one step closer to a successful listening and spoken language outcome.