Using Interactive PDF Resources In Speech Therapy
I have recently discovered another fantastic digital speech therapy tool for both teletherapy and in-person therapy, and that is interactive PDFs (portable document format). An interactive PDF is different from a regular PDF in that it contains digitally interactive elements that you click on or modify in some way when using it.
What is an interactive PDF?
In speech therapy, students are able to engage with the resource via the device they're using. An interactive PDF may have one or more of the following elements as part of its activities:
Clickable buttons allow a student to select from multiple choices or link to other pages within the resource.
Fillable text boxes are built into the PDF and allow the student can type their own words, phrases, or sentences.
Checkboxes and be tapped or clicked on to automatically create a checkmark.
Clickable links can be direct a student to any webpage.
How can you use interactive PDFs in speech therapy?
While an interactive PDF can be printed as a worksheet or used statically like any other PDF, the 'interactive' component occurs when used on a digital device. Interactive PDFs work well on devices such as...
Computers, including both laptops and desktops
Smartboards and other interactive whiteboards
iPads or other tablets
Once you've downloaded the PDF (from TpT or anywhere else) onto your device, you're good to go! Internet is not needed to use a PDF, only to download it from the web.
How can you use interactive PDFs in teletherapy?
Interactive PDFs work great for teletherapy for several reasons. First, there's only so much you can do with static PDFs. Annotating PDFs is a nice option, but variety is what you need to engage students session after session.
Interactive PDFs help make virtual therapy, well, interactive! Buttons, text boxes, and links add dimension to speech therapy sessions when you have little or no physical manipulatives. But don't worry, you can still use annotation tools with interactive PDFs if that's what floats your boat!
Interactive PDFs also eliminate that all-too-familiar file size problem for teletherapists. Some PDFs are too large to load into some platforms that have a maximum file size. Insert frustrated face here 😤 But interactive PDFs save the day– they can be opened in any PDF reader software and screen-shared for students to view a page at a time.
The student can then request control of the mouse (a feature that many video conferencing platforms have) to navigate the activity. In the activity shown below, students are able to type words or sentences into text boxes right on the PDF. The navigation buttons on the bottom can also be clicked for easy and smooth moving between pages.
Other interactive PDFs, such as this problem solving activity for physical sensations, have answer buttons that are clickable. When the student selects the correct answer choice, the page is advanced, indicating that the correct answer was chosen.
How are interactive PDFs helpful for SLPs?
If 'printing less copies' and 'buying less paper' are concepts that appeal to you, interactive PDFs might be your next best thing. There are tons of reasons that digital activities support SLPs and their students, but interactive PDFs are especially helpful for providing dynamic activities that don't require internet
If you're ready to try some of these versatile digital activities, make sure to check out these FREE interactive PDFs for speech therapy!
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