Free Apps For Kids: Top 10 Speech Apps To Consider

Kid holding a phone

According to a fact sheet published by the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders on voice, speech, language, and swallowing, nearly 1 in 12 US children between the ages of 3 and 17 have had a disorder related to these ailments. For many parents, this brings to mind the need for effective speech therapy that can help their child communicate effectively. They often will search for free apps for kids in order to assist in this therapy.

Fortunately, many of these children have received the speech therapy services needed to help their variety of conditions, and even better, over the past few years, many free apps for kids have emerged to provide parents and speech pathologists another means of therapy. Free apps for kids that are focused on speech improvement offer speech pathologists perspective and educational material to better their practice, and they give parents the convenience of continually intervening speech disorders in the privacy of their home - speech disorders that impair their child’s ability to communicate.

Additionally, it’s crucial for parents to set aside fifteen to thirty minutes a day to engage their child with an effective speech app. Since there are many apps out on the market, the purpose of this article is to review each of the most popular free apps for kids. We weigh the pros and cons of each, give you our final verdict on the best value app, and allow you to decide which app works best for your child.

Product FAQ

kids having fun with their tablets

Image Source: speechbuddy.com

1. What Are Speech Apps?

Speech apps are applications which can be used on a computer or mobile device that are meant to help children communicate more effectively, especially those children who have been diagnosed with a speech disorder. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, about 8 percent of children have some type of disorder related to speech, voice, or language which impedes their ability to communicate. This is one reason why free apps for kids are so important.

2. What Do Speech Apps Do?

Different speech applications exist for the different needs of children with communication difficulties. A child might need help in order to correctly articulate his or her words, or a child might stutter when he or she speaks. Another possibility is for a child to be on the autism spectrum and thus have communicative difficulties.

While they differ in accordance with each specific case, speech applications as a whole are meant to be accessible, engaging, and easy-to-use applications that a child can use with his or her parents and/or speech pathologist in order to improve communication. The free apps for kids below are a great way to review the best apps available.

3. How Do Speech Apps Work?

On a broad scale, speech apps are meant to provide children with a daily opportunity to practice their speech, ideally in the comfort of their own home and in the presence of their parents and/or speech pathologist. Especially in the case of younger children, setting aside fifteen to thirty minutes each day to practice their speech can quickly result in improved communication. As a whole, speech apps tend to use engaging sounds, colors, and characters,

More specifically, speech apps will vary in their functioning depending on the speech disorder at hand. For children with articulation difficulties, apps may show them how their mouth should be shaped for each sound, and offer exercises to practice specific sounds; for children who stutter, applications help the child build a positive self-image and to lower the fear and anxiety associated with speech; for children on the autism spectrum, the app may try to acquaint them with everyday scenarios of interaction.

4. Where Can You Buy the Best Free Apps for Kids?

You can buy the best speech apps wherever you purchase and download your other mobile applications: Google Play or the Apple Store. However, and as we will outline in this article, many free apps for kids that are quality speech applications are available for download.

How We Reviewed

For parents or speech pathologists working with children with speech difficulties, it is important that you can trust in the technology you use to help your child. We’ve conducted a thorough review of ten of the most well-known free speech applications available today. Below, we have provided a list of these products, along with information on their features, the pros and cons of each application, and where you can download them.

Overall Price Range of This Product (and Similar Products)

Generally, speech applications can range in price from $3 to upwards of $25. In this article, however, we have exclusively reviewed free apps for kids on the market.

What We Reviewed

  • Sono Flex
  • Sensory CineVox
  • TallyTots
  • Fluency SIS
  • WH Question Cards
  • Language Therapy 4 in 1
  • ArtikPix
  • Speech FlipBook
  • Conversation Therapy
  • Speech Tutor

Sono Flex

sono flex

Features

Sono Flex is a language development application meant for children who are not fully literate. In essence, the application takes recognizable symbols and turns them into complete and articulate speech to help children acquire reading and speaking skills. Generally speaking, this app might be suited for children on the autism spectrum.

PROS

  • Simple to use
  • Resourceful: over 11,000 symbols available
  • Relatively inexpensive

CONS

  • The voices used can be robotic and awkward
  • No way to change user-interface, which complicates use for children with limited motor capacities
  • Editing your pages of symbols is a tedious process and should be done by an adult

Where to Download


Sensory CineVox

Sensory CineVox app icon

Feat​ures

CineVox is an app designed to improve children’s vocalization by responding to sounds and commands. The application uses visual effects which interact with the child in a way similar to the popular app Snapchat and encourages them to emit and modulate sounds correctly.

PROS

  • Very interactive and engaging, with many colors and sounds
  • Can connect to Apple TV

CONS

  • Has been known to crash repeatedly
  • Limited number of effects leads to eventual repetition

Where to Download


TallyTots

TallyTots app icon

Features

This free speech app for kids is a compilation of mini-games specifically meant to help toddlers learn how to count.

PROS

  • Entertaining for children
  • Well-designed, colorful graphics
  • Relatively cheap

CONS

  • Requires some motor skills which younger children may not have
  • Limited number of mini-games
  • Occasionally crashes

Where to Download


Fluency SIS

fluency SIS

Features

Fluency SIS (Smart Intervention Strategy) is an application meant for children who stutter. Like many applications which target stuttering, this application aims to improve children’s confidence. It is meant for children eight to twelve years old.

PROS

  • Uses humor to keep children engaged
  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Encourages children to be creative while overcoming their limitations

CONS

  • Only compatible with iOS
  • No updates since 2014 means the software might seem dated

Where to Download


WH Question Cards

WH Question Cards app icon

Features

This card game application is meant to teach children how to respond correctly to who, what, when, where, and why questions. Students play a number of different games with 280 virtual cards by listening and responding to cues.

PROS

  • Interactive and easy to use, with clear instructions
  • Provides immediate feedback
  • App stores data for analysis by parents and/or speech pathologists

CONS

  • Only one card pack comes free with the download
  • Scope is limited to use by young children

Where to Download


Language Therapy 4 in 1

Language theraphy app

Features

This application includes a bundle of therapies focused on these four areas: comprehension, naming, reading, and writing. The app includes more than 700 nouns, verbs, and adjectives, along with exercises and activities needed to apply new words. The app also offers recommendations on areas to focus on based on the child’s score. This app is designed for children recovering from a stroke, aphasia, or brain injury and for those learning language for the very first time.

PROS

  • Words, pictures, prompts, and sounds are customizable
  • Available in these five languages: US English, UK English, Spanish, German, & French
  • Encourages independence with built-in cues

CONS

  • Font and picture size isn’t customizable
  • Lacks eliciting exercises
  • Paid version is pricey

 Where to Download


ArtikPix

ArtikPix

Features

This application is meant for children with speech sound delays, and it falls under the wider branch of articulation programs. The app is a flashcard and matching activity with which children respond to visual cues. Cards are separated into difficulty levels to accommodate younger and older children.

PROS

  • Extensive card base with 1,033 total cards addressing over a dozen challenging sounds
  • Collects and stores data for later analysis by parents/speech therapists
  • Allows for multiple student profiles to be created and assessed

CONS

  • Does not switch readily into a landscape format, which may be difficult for use with some children or for groups
  • Occasionally slowed down by data tracking function
  • “R” sound is not split into different vocalic types

 Where to Download


Speech FlipBook

Speech FlipBook app icon

Features

This app provides a fast and convenient way to create single-syllable word lists. Each word comes with a recorded voice that allows users to easily listen to the pronunciation, and it aids users in breaking down words by sound and blending sounds together. This app is designed for those that suffer from apraxia.

PROS

  • 2,300+ recordings of words in natural speech and 125 phonemes and clusters
  • All standard American English vowels and consonants
  • Touch activation enables sounds and words

CONS

  • Lacks bells and whistles needed for particular users
  • There is no data collection feature
  • Lacks different modes such as “practice mode” and “scored mode”

Where to Download


Conversation Therapy

Conversation Therapy app icon

Features

Conversation Therapy provides conversation simulations which are meant to offer a pressure-free possibility to practice higher level language functions for people who suffer from social anxiety or other impediments to free conversation. Generally, this application is used to help older children and adults who may fall somewhere on the autism spectrum.

PROS

  • Pictures and prompts age-appropriate for older children and adults
  • Addresses a variety of conversational skills, from single-word responses to complete exchanges
  • Includes data collection for later analysis
  • Offered in variety of languages

CONS

  • Limited number of pictures and prompts means use may become repetitive
  • Not appropriate for very young children

Where to Download


Speech Tutor

Speech Tutor app icon

Features

This app is the culmination of information from two speech pathologists. The app consists of 33 phoneme decks, 5,000 different cards, and 36 minimal pair decks. The app provides users with new material on a weekly basis and has been fine-tuned to include all material that once existed on different platforms.

PROS

  • Allows users to see multiple clients at a time
  • Detailed data tracking with simple data visualizations
  • Contains “kid friendly” and “adult” modes

CONS

  • Some users have reported that they're unable to play some sounds
  • Some users have reported that they're unable to see letters on the side view
  • Some of the images may be confusing to the children

Where to Download

The Verdict

Which of the free apps for kids is right for you? This depends on a lot of factors specific to your needs. Will the app be used to help children or adults? Does the user have a stutter, an articulation problem, or wider communicative difficulties? Will the app be used by one individual or by a user and a guide, such as a parent or a pathologist? Depending on how you answer these questions, the free app for kids that is best suited for you will vary.

Generally speaking, however, after researching and trying out these products for ourselves, we can make the following recommendations: Conversation Therapy is an excellent product for older students who need help not with specific pronunciation issues but rather with general conversation abilities. The app purposefully targets a user’s expressive ability, and in conjunction with a qualified speech pathologist, it can be used effectively to stimulate a student’s confidence and reduce the social anxiety he or she relates with everyday conversations.

If, however, your child has a stutter, you might consider Fluency SIS. This application is trusted by speech pathologists around the nation and has resulted in real improvements for children who stutter due to social pressures. Its use of humor and engaging graphics is likely to prove fun for any child who uses it.

As with any application, what’s best for you may not be best for others. If you or someone you love or work with has a speech impediment, you may wish to try out any of the free apps for kids we listed above to determine which option is best for you.

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