Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stroke Related iPad Apps

By Marylee Nunley

 First, some Announcements:
                             Flower Power is back. Click here >> RRSC Flower Power
                             Trivia Night is scheduled for Apr 13th. Call the office. 309-688-5450
                             Strike Out Stroke at Peoria Chiefs game is scheduled for May 23rd
                             New camp schedule for 2013 is out. Click here >> Camp sched

Almost two years ago I was fortunate enough to get a grant to purchase an iPad to use at our camps for communication as well as to show off apps that those with aphasia might be interested in using.   

App is iPad Geek Speak for application. An application is software that runs on your iPad and does a special function. For instance, an alarm clock on your iPad would be an app, software that converts keystrokes to speech would be an app. Some apps come with the iPad when you buy it, other apps are bought and downloaded on the iPad through the App Store.

My intention with this article is to discuss the possibilities that are available with an iPad, but not to persuade you to make a decision to purchase one. At $400-$500 per iPad this is a decision not to be taken lightly.  

Here's what I have discovered so far by having one myself and by helping my sister-in-law, who is five years post-stroke and very aphasic, use one she bought for herself. With access to two iPads, I was off and running.

- Most of the apps I found will also work on an iPhone, but the screens can be quite small for someone with visual or cognitive challenges.   

- No more books and papers handed out by the therapists, with a touch screen at your fingertips you are ready to go.

- I would say that if the person using it was a computer/electronics person before the stroke, it would be a good investment but for someone not familiar with these items the learning curve might be a bit challenging. 

- With the use of only one hand, which is the case with many survivors, I recommend the sturdy Griffin brand stand for the iPad to minimize the chances of it tumbling to the floor.

- There are many, many apps that are free or come with minimal cost.  Often the free version has an upgrade if you like the app. It’s worth a few bucks to improve on a good app.   

- Since my sister-in-law is almost totally non-verbal, we had to try things to see where the positive reactions come into play or to see what triggered her desire to return to an app for entertainment or improvement.

- If at all possible, involve a friend who already has an iPad and see if you and your survivor can learn and relate to it.

- If you have any questions about any of the following apps or anything in general, please leave a comment below and I'll try to answer you with what little knowledge I have.   

Following is a list of quite a number of apps along with my layman’s opinion of them.  Many of them are geared to children, so if your person would be insulted by that, steer clear of those.  But, with a sense of humor, you  can usually get around that.

iPad Apps
Aphasia—Communication Proloquo2Go—Cost $228
Aphasia-From Lingraphica—Communication—Free
ADL—From Lingraphica—Communication—Free
Phrases—From Lingraphica—Videos to help speech—Free
Oral Motor—From Lingraphica—Videos to help speech—Free—Word recall has pictures and words in categories (IE: animals, actions, fruits & nuts, sports, science, etc.) also has Dolch Sight Words, Receptive by Feature, and Which Does Not Belong
Speak In Motion-Trial Version—Free Functional Speech
Verbally—Basic version is free and as long as you can spell it, verbally can speak it
Luminosity-Brain Trainer for brain stimulation to improve cognitive skills (a bit higher level than some others)
Both nook (Barnes & Noble) and Kindle (Amazon) have free apps for reading books and magazines with lots of free books to get you started.
Scene Speak App is a customizable app where interactive home scenes can be created. It’s about $10 at Apps to Aid Aphasia

Games, puzzles, etc.  Good for focus and stimulation
Jigsaw-Cost $1.99
Word Search, Scrabble Free, Crosswords, Upwords Free, Hangman, Paint With Time, Solitaire, Spider Solitaire, and Freecell are all free games
Pandora—Radio, need to have Wi-Fi to listen--$4.99
Garage Band—Piano, Guitar, Drums, etc.--$4.99
WSolitare—Word Solitaire--$.99
More Grillin has virtual grilling with familiar foods which can also be named for language practice

Interested in News and TV—Free apps from most major networks
TV Guide

And Also Included with your tablet
Camera takes stills and video
You have Skype to connect with family
Facebook keeps you in touch with friends and family and is a free app
Pintrest will keep you busy finding all sorts of things and tips

I hope this will be helpful if you are considering a tablet.  Have fun, I know I have.

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