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Children can benefit from the use of tablet computers in speech therapy, researchers have discovered.
A study by scientists at Kazan Central University in Russia found that the use of computer games on tablets can have significant effects on the motivation and satisfaction of children aged between three and 12 in speech therapy sessions and classes.
The research - paid for by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport of Slovenia and the European Social Fund - showed that gadgets, while ostensibly devices for entertainment, could help children pronounce words that might otherwise be difficult for them.
A member of the research team observed in the paper: "The questionnaire results showed that tablets have a positive influence on social learning among children. We noted that the accents in therapy also shifted - whereas traditional therapy leans on instruction, this time the practitioners actively involved children and tried to motivate them."
The paper noted that the findings challenge the common reservations many people have about the use of computers in the educational process.
Moreover, the use of tablets is very convenient, because they are small and mobile, meaning they can be used in the home, hospital or classroom.
The study was a continuation of a project that had studied the impact of using tablets in maths last year. Kazan Federal University invited Professor Andreja Istenic Starcic observed: "We found out that kids can become more involved in gamified tasks on tablets than in traditional textbook tasks."
Overall, therefore, tablets represent a very different approach to the traditional methods of learning and it appears evident that, when used in speech therapy, the children using them feel more free to explore and experiment verbally as they interact with games and tasks.
This may have far-reaching implications for the way in which speech therapists shape their approach to helping children.
Written by Martin Lambert
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