Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Apps Can Promote OT

Although it may be true that kids are getting enough screen time as it is, I think an Ipad/tablet is an effective tool for therapy because of the amount of finger skills, and visual/cognitive benefits it provides. It is a great way to use as a 'reward' at the end of therapy or at the end of a task. Depending on the app, they can help reinforce pincer grasps, letter formation, finger isolation, and visuomotor skills. Here are few below that would be helpful in the world of pediatric occupational therapy one of which I enjoy using.

1. Pinch Peeps: Free at the App Store
  • The app makes you pinch 2 figures together which reinforces bringing the thumb and the index finger together. Why is this important? It is a great tool to carry over into handwriting, and other fine motor tasks such as buttoning, tying shoes, zipping a coat, and manipulating small objects. This app is a great 'reward' to use because it has a timed option of a minute which is the right amount of time to reward and get back to work as needed. Below is an example of what the child would see: pinch the two green peeps together. 

2. Little Writer: The tracing app for kids: Free at the App Store
  • I've used this one during my fieldwork and really enjoy all that it has to offer. Upbeat music, easy user-friendly, and offers ABC's, numbers, shapes, and words. I like using the shapes for this app because it incorporates the pre-writing shapes which can support their goals in handwriting and in the classroom. It also develops control and precision for tracing with the index finger. Below is an example of tracing the apples to from the letter 'A'. 

3. Highlights Hidden Pictures
  • Promotes visual discrimination, visual attention, and visual figure ground. This seems more challenging so this may or may not be appropriate depending on the child. If challenging, one can grade it down by taking turns with the child or giving verbal cues to assist the child. 

These are only a few of many. More to come in future blog posts! 

What apps do you use in occupational therapy? 
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