Apps for Expressive Language Difficulties

'The English language is a work in progress, have fun with it' - Jonathan Culver

  1. ipad with colour bubbles


How can I find the right app for expressive language difficulties?

Finding the right apps for expressive language difficulties can be very confusing, as there are so many apps to choose from and so many new ones being developed! To help you on your way, here are a selection of apps chosen by The Talking House. Please remember that other apps are available and this is just a sample from us:


First Phrases

Targets: Expressive language (developing 2-3 word utterances); Learning verbs and nouns
Price: There is a ‘LITE’ version which is 69p, or a full version which costs £10.99. The full version gives you access to more verbs and prepositions
Good for: Children who are speaking in one word utterances at around 2-3 years of age and need to be encouraged to join words up into 2-3 word utterances.

This app is very cute. The child is given pictures to represent a command (verb) such as ‘jump on’, ‘roll’ etc. and an object (noun) such as ‘bed’, or ‘ball’. You can add the article (usually ‘the’) on its own if you want, otherwise it is attached to the noun. Once the child reads out the direction, e.g. “roll the ball”, you press the arrow and the child can watch the character (cat, mouse or bear) performing the action. The child then has the opportunity to record themselves saying the command and watching the character listen to their voice and perform the action again


Sock Puppets

Targets: Expressive language skills
Price: Free, but there are in-app purchases for extra games and pictures.
Good for: Improving confidence in speaking in a fun way!

Sock Puppets is an app that allows you to make short (30 second) videos whereby you can choose the characters, scenes and props as well as recording your own voice for each of the characters. Children will love creating their own little stories and what’s great is that you can include up to 4 characters – that means 4 voices!


My PlayHome

Targets: Vocabulary skills
Price: There is a Lite version which contains one room which is Free, or the Full Version is £2.99
Good For: Improving the use of vocabulary, phrases, concepts, prepositions and verbs.

This app is really interactive and allows a child to act out different situations in the home, including putting on the TV and making some breakfast.


Story Wheel

Targets: Narrative skills; Expressive language
Price: £1.99
Good for: Children who have difficulty with descriptive language and story sequencing skills.

The child spins a wheel and lands on a picture. They can then record themselves using this picture to start their story before re-spinning the wheel for a new picture, create a new recording and so on until they have a fully narrated, unique story with pictures. This app can take a bit of practicing to get into, but is great fun once they get going. Probably not appropriate for children under around 6 years of age.


StoryBuilder

Targets: Narrative language skills, Descriptive language, Sentence structure
Price: £5.49
Good for: Children who are working on their expressive language skills, particularly those who are working on both sentence and story structure.

This app gives children questions to prompt them to tell a short story about a picture. It’s great for children who need a bit of support in picture description.


Tapikeo

Targets: Vocabulary; Concepts; Social Stories; AAC
Price: £2.49
Good for: Can be used for children of all ages working on concepts, vocabulary, social stories and more!

This app is really versatile – you can upload your own images and record audio for these images. You are then able to create a ‘grid’ or sequences using your images, which means you can customise your grid or sequence to a specific child. This app is great because its uses are limitless – just use your imagination! There is a handy supply of ready-made grids and sequences in the ‘Grids’ section – you can share your grids with others too which means there is a constant source of free grids to peruse.


Colourful Semantics

Targets: Expressive language, understanding of WH- questions, narrative skills
Price: £13.99
Good for: Children who are building there vocabulary and understanding of WH- questions

This app supports the development of a child’s spoken sentence, answering of WH-questions, use of nouns verbs prepositions and adjectives and story telling skills. It uses a variety of colourful pictures with a variety of different levels to suit the child’s abilities.