Ep. 64: How Technology Can Be Used to Facilitate Communication with Rachel Madel M.A., CCC-SLP

Jan 18, 2022 | 0 comments

TV shows, cartoons, YouTube videos, and even game apps can be used to facilitate communication. There is so much amazing technology available and at our fingertips that can change the lives of children and teens who struggle communicating, and the best part about using these technological tools is that they are also very engaging.

Today’s guest is Rachel Madel and her passion for technology shines in this episode all about how technology can be used to facilitate communication. She even hosts her own podcast on this exact topic called Talking With Tech. In this episode, Rachel shares how and why technology helps support students with communication difficulties and she gives us a ton of great ideas that will get students motivated.


Show Notes:

[2:21] – We live in a time that has so much available in technology, especially to communicate.

[3:24] – People’s comfort levels with tools have improved in the last two years.

[4:51] – Rachel’s passion is in how to use existing tools to improve student learning. She describes the types of students she sees in her private practice.

[8:10] – Regarding visual supports, it’s never a bad time to use them. Devices to assist children in speaking does not hinder their learning to communicate.

[10:11] – Rachel explains the typical trajectory of speech development and why there is such a focus on speech.

[12:10] – Consistent access to verbal speech is key.

[14:31] – Communication is more than understanding what is being said.

[16:20] – Rachel emphasizes the need for early AAC use and visual support to avoid falling so far behind.

[18:01] – In many cases, students appear to not be listening, but it could be that there is a language processing issue.

[20:12] – Language processing issues create a lot of frustration and anxiety.

[22:10] – Developing the skill of asking for help is also important.

[23:40] – Rachel normalizes these experiences through modeling.

[25:44] – Using technology is not giving a child a device and walking away. There are strategies Rachel uses to help support communication.

[28:01] – When we are using technology to support communication, we need to slow down the process.

[29:00] – Videos are oftentimes moving extremely fast and Rachel suggests changing the playback speed.

[30:02] – We can use technology strategically to get kids engaged.

[31:49] – There are many students who know the rules but don’t understand “the why.”

[32:59] – Rachel loves using animated shorts without dialogue to talk about clues.

[35:40] – There are so many speech therapy apps and tools. Rachel shares some of her favorites.

[37:36] – Some apps can also be used specifically for motivation.

[39:01] – Pepi Wonder World is one of Rachel’s favorite game apps that give students a lot of opportunities to solve problems and use specific language.


About Our Guest:

Rachel Madel M.A.,CCC-SLP is a LA-based speech-language pathologist dedicated to coaching parents and professionals on how to incorporate technology to best support speech and language development. Rachel presents both nationally and abroad on the use of augmentative alternative communication (AAC) for children with complex communication needs and coaches clinicians, teachers and parents on integrating technology in classrooms and at home to support communication. She co-hosts a weekly podcast called Talking With Tech and creates educational resources, therapy materials and training videos to help support parents and professionals. 


Connect with Rachel Madel:

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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.