Deborah Komatsu SLP

We often receive feedback from our user base and we appreciate every email we get… when practical we use feedback and suggestions from our users to improve our products. Deborah Komatsu, a Speech Pathologist for Los Angeles Unified School District contacted us with incredibly valuable feedback about our apps, and allowed us to interview her about how she uses iPads for the betterment of her students.

What’s your occupation and how long have you been involved in it?
I am a speech pathologist at an elementary school at Los Angeles Unified School District. This is my first year as a teacher. My first career was as a film editor, which I enjoyed; however, after having my son, I decided to find a more family-friendly career. I studied early education and then speech pathology, getting my Masters in Communication Disorders in May 2012. I enjoy working with children and am always looking for low- and high-tech opportunities for learning!

What ages do you work with and what are the challenges of being an SLP?
I work with children from 3-10. My school has a large Spanish-speaking immigrant population; this makes it trickier to determine a language disorder versus a difference. It’s also more difficult to communicate with parents! Because of the language barrier, I create a lot of picture cards that don’t require reading; I like to customize my cards to represent the Latino and African American population I work with. There is also a lot of poverty in the neighborhood where I work. It’s a challenge to get parents involved and have them share in literacy activities at home.

What technologies are you using in your learning environment? Which are most effective?
The students I work with are all attracted to working with the iPad. They like games where they get to compete against each other. If the app is customizable, I can tailor the images to encourage the responses I want.

Are you using any other INKids applications, if so, how so?
I have Kids Flashcard Maker and Kids Flashcards for iPad and Futaba. I’ve used the Flashcards for iPad app when I just need some novel images for children to respond to. I haven’t found a use for Flashcard Maker yet; Futaba serves the same function and is more fun because it’s a game.

Tell us about the iPad implementation you work with. How does Futaba Classroom benefit speech development and how are you using it to the benefit of your students?

I work with small groups – usually 4:1 or less. I use the app for both speech (making game sets based on target sounds – “boy”, “bag”, “bat”) and for language (“Use the picture in a full sentence” or “describe what you see”).

What other ways do you use the iPad?
In addition to Speech and Language activities, I use the app for Fluency, Voice, AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication). I also use various app as Speech Pathology tools, such as apps to record language samples and calculate age.

Can you recommend any other applications for educators, parents or those involved in language pathology?

Here are some apps I have found to be very handy for my work as a speech-language pathologist:

Action Words (free) – lots of action verbs for making sentences
Little Stars – Toddler Games (free) – customizable competitive play
Sort it Out 1 ($1.99 for full version) – match and and discuss relationships
Comparative Adjectives (free)
Memory King (free) – matching game, add your own images
Guess ‘Em (free) – pay $1.99 for the “Studio Version” so you can make your own Guess Who games
My First 1,000 Words – Flashcards and Games by Aligator Apps ($1.99) – lots of images!
Preschool EduKitty-Fun Educational Game ($1.99) – lots of fun early concept games
Receptive Language Assessment ($24.99) – find strengths and weaknesses in receptive language
Splingo’s Language Universe ($2.99) – great game for working on receptive language
Toontastic (free) – great template for creating and narrating stories

Thanks very much for taking the time to answer our questions. We’re really glad that you’re having a positive experience with our applications and so many others! It is an exciting time to be in education and we want to enable you to best meet the needs of your students.