In a world where there is almost always “an app for that” it’s no surprise that there are several apps for those who have jobs in occupational therapy. These free and low cost apps range from games for children, to instructional exercises and learning techniques. Use them to add a little bit of technology – and a lot of fun – to your daily therapy sessions.
A challenge that many occupational therapists face is teaching conceptual topics, such as cause and effect. This app eliminates this barrier, with a fun, game-like approach to teaching this concept. While the free version offers only 10 levels, a paid version provides more than 100 different mazes and challenges.
Creating Character “In Kids”
Another app that helps students learn about cause and effect is the Creating Character “In Kids” application, which provides a goals and points-based system to teach children about responsibility. This app helps children to keep track of their chores and their goals, as well as organize their daily schedule. This allows the parents or the therapist to watch over the student’s progress, and create rewards and consequences based on actions.
Toca Boca Doctor
Cost: Free for “Lite” Version ($2.99 for full version)
One of the most popular applications for occupational therapists and other school-based therapists is Toca Boca Doctor. This app introduces children to common medical professionals, and commons terms used in the medical industry. It teaches children about different body parts, organs (and even tools!) that they may see in a doctor’s office. Within the app there are various games that help develop skills in problems solving, vocabulary, memorization, and coordination. This app is a perfect way to introduce younger children into the medical industry in a fun and interactive manner.
Cost: Free ($1.99 for upgraded version)
At first glance, Fruit Ninja may seem like just another game made to pass the time. But take a closer look…it is a great app to help children practice and develop their dexterity, while developing strength and coordination. This hugely popular app comes is free, with a minimal cost to access additional levels and challenges.
One of the most popular applications for occupational therapists is an app called Dexteria. Through a series of exercises and games geared towards strength and coordination, Dexteria helps children develop their higher-level motor skills. Dexteria also offers alternate versions of this application, which are more specific to the development of individual skill sets. For example, the app Dexteria Dots 2 helps students to practice fine motor skills, while simultaneously developing their simple math skills. Apps like this are helpful for occupational therapists who find difficulty in fitting all their mandated material into lessons.
This application has over 50 different activities (including mazes and connect-the-dots), and is ideal for young children who are developing their simple motor skills. The app also assists in teaching color identification and memorization Perfect for the occupational therapist who needs to reuse similar, simple activities for multiple students.
Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box
This app is great for children of all ages. Originally developed to cater to teens with visual impairments and autism, the app was eventually extended to encompass students of all ages. It provides explorative environments, with feedback through lights and sounds.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or an occupational therapist, for that matter!) to know that children are unpredictable, and that a dynamic lesson plan is one that caters to unpredictability. Brainworks embraces this concept, with activities categorized to fit the needs and moods of the child. So rather than compelling a student to learn high volume and highly interactive material on a day that he or she is fatigued, the student can instead engage in a more laid back and less intense exercise. Further, the app allows for a change in activities dependent upon location (such as whether the child is at school, home, a community setting, or at their desk.) BrainWorks also has over 100 activities to help children of all ages learn about common names and interactions. For example, this application helps children learn to label objects around their room, or in their classroom. This can be furthered customized to include or exclude items that are readily available to the instructor.
Occupational Therapists – what are YOUR favorite, must-have, and go-to apps? Please share!
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