Working as a school-based therapist is rewarding but can also be a challenge. It’s not always easy to keep students interested. Getting students engaged in therapy is half the battle. That’s where technology and apps may help.
Although you don’t want to rely solely on screen time, certain apps can be useful. Integrating various therapy apps into your treatments sessions can increase participation, interest and make therapy something kids enjoy.
Apps for kids with special needs can help students participate in self-directed play and develop life skills. They can also promote a variety of skills, such as motor, visual perception, and sensory skills. Specific apps also help you work with students on math skills, writing, and social skills.
One of the benefits of using apps is therapy can feel like a game, which helps keep a student’s attention. Since many of the apps are free or low cost, students may also be able to download them on home devices to reinforce what they worked on during therapy sessions. With the large variety of apps available, there is something for students of all ages and abilities. Consider the following:
If you’re working on visual skills with a student, Scribble Press may be helpful. Kids fill in the blanks on different templates to create their own book. There are different categories of books to choose from, such as humor and fantasy or kids can make up their own theme. After writing the text, kids draw pictures to go with their story.
My Little Suitcase is an app that helps with visual perception skills. If you’re working with a small group, the app allows four players at the same time. It’s a simple memory game. Students find matches for items they would pack in a suitcase. At the end of the game, kids guess where they are traveling based on what they packed.
Improving writing skills is often a goal for school-based occupational therapists. Little Writer is an app that promotes writing and fine motor skills. Students trace letters, shapes, and numbers, and are provided with visual and auditory feedback to let them know when they use correct formation.
Ready to Print is an app that may work well for school-based therapists. It’s great for preschoolers, but can be used with school-age kids as well. It helps work on fine motor skills and visual perception. It also builds a foundation for writing. There are various activities for kids of all ability levels. Students can complete mazes, connect the dots, or do simple activities, such as touching targets.
Put it Away is an app that helps teach students how to clean their room and put things back where they belong. It promotes independence. Kids drag objects from one location to where they should be put away. It teaches students how to organize items and associate where certain things belong. You can customize the app with pictures of a student’s home environment to make it more effective.