Example of an app Encompass uses: Handwriting Without Tears.

Example of an app Encompass uses: Handwriting Without Tears.

Tablets (like iPads and the Microsoft Surface) are increasingly used by Occupational Therapists and Encompass has integrated the use of tablets and apps into working on specific skills with our patients. Megan Daniels, a Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant at Encompass, told us about how she uses apps to assist in promoting age-appropriate skills.

Skills that can be developed through apps:

  • Fine motor skills for dexterity, finger isolation, strength, grading movement and pressure when using stylus to promote correct pencil grip. Also correct letter formation with specific apps.

Below are examples of the skills and apps that many children could benefit from using!

  • Visual motor skills for tracking, eye convergence/divergence, eye-hand coordination, foreground and background, bilateral integration and crossing midline
  • Self-regulation and impulse control
  • Sequencing and following directions
  • Social interactions and turn taking

Examples of the types of apps that are used for fine motor and visual motor skills are mazes, matching, puzzles, memory, and handwriting. Other apps that assist with visual motor are hidden pictures, word searches, popping/catching moving objects across the screen and finding the differences between pictures. Apps that are used for self-regulation and impulse control include metronome, music, interactive books and visual stimuli. Many app examples listed above can be graded to include (or already include) promotion of sequencing, direction following, social interactions and turn taking.

Encompass Occupational Therapists also use their tablets to record and take pictures for consults with colleagues, demonstrations for parents, baseline data and video modeling.

There are many great opportunities to incorporate apps in assisting your child’s development and improving age-appropriate skills!

Here are the apps Encompass Occupational Therapists currently use (new ones launch every day—check out our Pinterest board dedicated to apps for therapy & education, including how to CHILDPROOF your tablet — http://ow.ly/vWZ5S ):

  • Handwriting Without Tears (Occupational Therapist-based program that has the letters in a specific order that is easier for kids to build their skills on).
  • Sam Phibian
  • Trainyard EX
  • Alien Buddies
  • Flow Free
  • Highlights Countdown (hidden pictures)
  • iMazing
  • Lego Juniors
  • Metronome
  • Even Monsters get sick (interactive book)
  • Nighty Night (interactive book)
  • Pandora
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