In my role of Speech and Language therapist, I have used different tools to help people communicate. This has ranged from high tech communication aids to the low tech range of devices and in recent years, tablets and iPads.
I wanted to have an evidence base for using certain apps in therapy and so decided to carry out a small piece of descriptive research to investigate the effectiveness of using MyChoicePad, an app that features Makaton signing and symbols, as a communication and learning tool.
As a Makaton Regional Tutor I am aware that there is a wealth of research to support the use of Makaton signing and symbols with adults and children with communication and learning difficulties. Tablets and iPads are becoming increasingly popular in today’s society and are being used more frequently in educational establishments. However, at present, there is limited published research into the use of iPads.
The main question I asked in the project was: does MyChoicePad support expressive language in young adults with learning disability? This led on to some more specific research questions. I asked the participants a range of simple everyday questions and assessed their ability to answer before and after intervention.
The participants’ responses were then analysed as to whether they were intelligible and meaningful as well as for utterance length. I also looked at the body language of the participants and issued a questionnaire to gain the opinions of the main care givers.
The results of this small study suggest that the use of MyChoicePad does support expressive language in young adults with learning disability and the results were positive in answering all three research questions. Statistical data generated supported the research hypotheses and qualitative data gave additional information to support the questions being asked.