About

Hi everyone! I would like to give you a little background information about myself and also explain how I began using mobile technology and apps in therapy. 


I am proud to say that I am the wife of a United States Marine. Living the military life has lead me to valuable career opportunities, opened my eyes to diverse cultures, and introduced me to wonderful friends from all over the country.  Another part of being a military wife is having to say goodbye to my husband as he has deployed three times to war zones.  When he deploys, I find that I immerse myself in my work to help the time go by faster. During my journey to different parts of the US and to Okinawa, my professional career has blossomed. Throughout all of my work experiences, which includes a variety of school settings, my colleagues and students have taught me so much. One thing that always stayed with me while moving to different states and changing jobs was researching evidence based practice and using these practices while creating personalized therapy tools or modifying therapy materials to meet the needs of my students. 


My first encounter using mobile technology: I was very excited when I first used my iPhone in therapy in 2009. My students  were extremely motivated to use it and many of the apps made it easy to target speech and language skills. Some of my students who communicated using minimal verbal skills began to use more words and longer sentences to request to use my iPhone. Also, some of my students who were non-verbal began to make noises, and vocalizations while reaching for my iPhone. I quickly realized that many great apps for education and speech language pathology were being developed, but I was not finding that “one” that worked for some of my students. To help my students with moderate to severe communication disabilities understand and use some of these apps, I created communication boards and visual prompts. Soon thereafter, the iPad evolved and luckily my employer had some iPads available to checkout on a trial basis. Although my iPhone motivated my students to interact and participate, the iPad made the apps easier to use especially for my students who had visual impairments and/or limited motor abilities. I have used the iPad in therapy ever since then. I utilize the iPad just as I do with any therapy material. It is a tool that may or may not fit every child’s communication need, so sometimes I have to modify how I use apps by providing visual or auditory prompts to help the student use the apps more effectively.    


After implementing Questions2Learn in my therapy sessions during the testing period, I noticed positive results with many of my students. 


One of my students, who is diagnosed with Apraxia of Speech and is on the autism spectrum has shown tremendous growth in understanding who, what, where, and when questions. His speech is difficult to understand when the context of the conversation is unknown. So answering questions using his verbal abilities can be challenging. After working with the app, using Level 3 for about a month his percentages increased. During this time, he was practicing using Level 3, choosing the answer choice from the five pictures, but I also prompted him to tell me verbally the answer. Now he is able to answer many of the questions using Level 4, the most difficult level without picture choices.

 

One of my older students who is diagnosed with chromosomal abnormalities and is non-verbal has shown very good progress after using Questions2Learn. She primarily communicates using a basic picture communication book by requesting items and activities. This school year I targeted answering WH questions using her picture communication book. I noticed she had difficulty focusing on more than six pictures so I covered up many of the picture choices to narrow the amount of choices. Then when I started testing Questions2Learn, I tried it out with her. She responded very well and was able to work for up to 20 minutes answering questions at level 1. She is so proud of herself. She especially enjoyed seeing the visual reinforcement of Moca and Dakota appear after she answered correctly!

 

I hope that my app is a useful tool that will help your students understand and answer WH questions. 




















Leanne Pool is a speech language pathologist who is certified by the American Speech Hearing-Language Association (ASHA). 

Her professional experience includes over 10 years of working in school systems with children in grades preschool to high school and private practice working with children in their homes. Throughout her experience she has performed evaluations and provided therapy to children with Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, multiple disabilities, and other communication disorders. 

One of Leanne’s specialties is assistive technology to include augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). She collaborates with and trains educational staff and parents to program a variety of AAC  devices and use iOS applications that are available on the iPad and iPod Touch. Her training also includes ways to utilize the iPad as a tool during classroom activities and in speech and language therapy. 

She is the owner of Speech Pups LLC, a company that designs speech and language therapy apps for the iPad.