The start of summer means that children will be on break. This time away from school often comes with concerns that some kids may regress in areas. This is especially worrisome when they are receiving sessions for specific subjects. This means that any therapists, counselors, and teachers must assist families in ways that they can keep up on skills and goals at home. Technology is a wonderful option for many children to continue practicing skills.
Why Technology May Help
Most families have access to smartphones or tablets. Thanks to these devices, they are able to utilize a large number of applications which may be useful for their needs. When you think outside of the box, many apps and online games may be helpful for fine motor, gross motor, speech, social skills, and more. Another positive is that apps are often able to work in multiple languages. This possibility may assist some of the families who are multilingual. Check in with families to see what technology devices they have to use so you can assist them in their quest to keep up over the summer.
While some may shy away from using technology devices, they are a great way to connect kids and parents. Everything they need will be in one place, and they won’t need to do more than download an app or go to a website. This also means that families may take their practice away while traveling and continue skill building.
Finding Apps for a Variety of Needs
There are a lot of apps out there, but they are not created equally. Make sure to take time to try apps and read up on reviews written by educators and therapists. Also be aware of prices on some apps and see if there is money in budgets to help families to pay for them if they are unable to cover the cost. Another thing to remember is that more traditional therapy tools are often very expensive. Technology means using what you may already have in a different way.
Think about each of your individual students and what may actively engage them based on their needs. Some resources for apps to use for educational reasons include the ones below. Pinterest is also your friend, since you can use different search terms for your field to find what may work.
- 60 Effective School-Based Apps for Occupational Therapy – List of apps for the iPhone or iPad. Broken down into areas which may be helpful in other therapy sessions. This includes emotions, fine motor, gross motor, and handwriting.
- Smart Apps for Special Needs – Apps geared for special needs where there is a drop-down menu with items for speech and language
- Downloads that Build Social Skills – Apps to build social skills in children. Includes apps which give life situations and modeling to ease anxiety.
Search these websites for speech and language, multilingual, or other areas. Many have tabs and areas for SLPs and specific interests. Remember that apps allow you to find creative solutions that work with different age levels and student needs. Thinking outside of the box and adding a mix of Tsum Tsum or Toca Boca Kitchen may mean the difference in actively engaging kids over time.
Have any other app suggestions to use with kids in therapy sessions? Share with us in the comments section below.