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  • Writer's pictureStacy Crouse

Using Interactive PDF Activities In Speech Therapy and Teletherapy

I have recently discovered interactive PDFs– a fantastic digital speech therapy tool for both teletherapy and in-person sessions. 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. It's similar to a regular PDF in that it downloads and is ready to go on any digital device!

What is an interactive PDF?

In speech therapy, students can engage with an interactive PDF using any digital device in the virtual or brick-and-mortar speech therapy room. As the name suggests, an interactive PDF contains one or more of the following interactive elements:

  • Clickable buttons that allow a student to select from multiple choices or link to other pages within the resource.

  • Built-in and fillable text boxes that allow a student to type their own words, phrases, or sentences.

  • Checkboxes that can be tapped (on a touchscreen) or clicked (with a mouse) to automatically create a checkmark.

  • Clickable links that direct a student to a webpage.

An SLP using an interactive PDF activity on an iPad in a speech therapy session

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

a minimal pairs interactive pdf being used on an ipad in speech therapy

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 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.

Fall PDF activity being used on a teletherapy platform

Other interactive PDFs, such as this problem-solving activity for physical sensations, have clickable answer buttons. When the student selects the correct answer choice, the page is advanced, indicating that the correct answer was chosen.

interactive PDF with clickable answer buttons for teletherapy and speech therapy

How are interactive PDFs helpful for SLPs?

If 'printing fewer 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!

free digital PDF activities for speech therapy and teletherapy

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