Apps to Use with Children in Occupational Therapy (Part 2)
Hey! I’m back and I’ve got some interesting apps to share with you. I’ve decided to give you my top five choices from the vast variety of apps available.
As discussed a few of weeks ago, Dexteria is my number one pick and you can read all about it in the first part of my blog.
My second pick, I would have to say, is Shelby’s Quest. This application is designed by an occupational therapist and is both motivating and therapeutic for children. Not only does it work on fine motor and visual perceptual skills but it also reports on the child’s progress. The report can be emailed or printed. The fun part about this app is that there is a story plot to follow. It’s about Shelby the Labradoodle who begins her adventure in the Pacific Northwest and needs to help her friends overcome their challenges. Challenges include helping Skip the salmon go upstream (index finger drawing a line through a maze), helping Samantha the squirrel collect acorns to fill the bucket (where pinching is needed), and helping Maurice the moose find his way home (working on tracking and sorting shapes). This app only has three different levels for each adventure, although I would have wanted to see more… but it is easy to use and children love it. I strongly recommend its use in OT!
The next one on the list is Letter School. There are very few apps that give the therapist the choice to choose between different handwriting methods: D’Nealian, Handwriting Without Tears, and Zaner-Bloser style. I chose this app as one of my top five because I personally use Handwriting Without Tears, and was excited to use it as a complement to my therapy sessions. This app aids in letter and number formation. I find this app easy to use but most importantly find that increases self-esteem. The child begins with letter formation without having to worry about fitting the letter between the lines. According to the creators it leads to quicker fluency with the letters. The app also has a lot of variety. For example, the child has three ways to learn letter formation: watch as the letter is drawn, trace the line following the arrows, and touch the starting point which triggers the disappearance of the letter. There is a lite free version for those of you who want to try it out first!
My fourth choice is Hoppy’s Vision Training 1. This app is different than the previous ones; it is not related to fine motor skills but works on an important skill needed for visual perception. It is designed to train the eye muscles to move and track quicker and more efficiently. It is designed by an optometrist. I find this app helpful in treatment when a child is observed to have difficulties with visual scanning or saccades. Hoppy’s Vision Training thus aids the child by increasing the speed and efficiency of saccades. Most importantly for Occupational Therapist, it may lead to improvements in eye-hand coordination and reading skills. Similarly to the other chosen apps, this app allows for documenting progress, which is always a bonus to have.
Dyslexia Quest is another must-get application. It works on many things including working memory, phonological awareness, processing speed, visual memory, auditory memory, and visual and auditory sequential memory skills. Talk about a whole lot of fun! I use with children in therapy but it can also be used with adults. Similarly to Shelby’s Quest, the child is motivated to complete all six games for each of the three levels in his age bracket to collect yetis (18 yetis in total). The game provides an assessment that can be emailed or printed showing the results for each of the areas mentioned previously. In addition, the assessment also provides areas of weakness which assists in developing a treatment plan.