Have you ever wondered how to create your own app? How about your own therapy app? I asked Geraldine Moran, a fellow speech language pathologist some questions about how she created her app, Actions in Video and any plans for the future!
To see my review of Actions in Video, click here.
To check out Actions in Video website, click here.
1. Can you tell me the process in developing the app, Actions in Video?
My idea for developing Actions in Video stemmed from using one of my favourite therapy resources, that is, handmade colour coded sentence strips with visuals coupled with purchased verb cards to work on actions and sentence structures. I thought that I would capitalise on the power of video modelling to bring the verb cards to life as it would portray the action in a much more realistic manner. I chose the 49 action words based on research of developmental norms from the MacArthur Bates Communicative Development Inventories (see CLEX website http://www.cdi-clex.org/) checklists. I also linked with staff in the Speech and Hearing Science Departments of University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin as well as many other professionals working with people who had language difficulties.
Once I had my app plan finalised it was a case of coordinating all the professionals – for videoing, sound production, graphic design, app development and most especially the actors and actresses who brought the app to life! See credits page in my website http://www.actionsinvideo.com. Once the app was created I spent some time testing it with potential end users and made some final adjustments. Then, we were ready for the launch which was carried out by Mr. Brian Crowley who is a member of the European Parliament.
2. Why did you choose an emphasis on actions versus nouns, pronouns, etc?
Actions can be very difficult to learn for a person who has language difficulties. Nouns are far simpler to learn than actions. For example, it is much easier to visualise a solid object like a cup than it is the action drinking. Yet, action words are vital for creating sentences. Without action words a person will not progress beyond labeling items and will not be able to construct a grammatically correct sentence.
3. How can a person use the skills that are learned from the app and apply it to every day life?
This was my main reason for developing such an app. I wanted to transfer therapy out of the therapy room and deliver it to where a person needs it most …. in their own environment and with their own communication partners. The portability of tablet devices and easy app access allows us to do this. I often find that while the client with language difficulties may be able to do an activity, like creating a sentence in a structured situation, they are challenged when trying to carry out this skill in their own real world where they most need such skills.
Actions in Video uses the power of video modelling with real people (not cartoons) doing everyday actions to bring learning into all environments. It can be worked on in the person’s own home – even at the kitchen table! So, for example, if the person is working on the action ‘eating’ on the app they can then be supported to say the sentence as they look across the table and see familiar people eating, or look outside and see the dog eating. That is why my slogan is ‘Bringing Speech and Language Therapy into Your Home’.
4. What are your plans for the future?
I launched Actions in Video during 2014. I am currently spending some time marketing it. It’s very exciting linking with parents, teachers and pathologists throughout the world and getting feedback from them. As well as working full time as a speech and language therapists/pathologist, I am also a member of a working group that has been established to design an app for Lamh. Lamh is a manual sign system used in Ireland by children and adults with intellectual disability and communication needs. I believe that if advancing technologies are harnessed and tailored to support those with communication needs, then, they can offer a very valuable additional learning tool.