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Helpful apps for occupational therapists

Working in occupational therapy jobs, you give patients the tools they need to live their lives more comfortably and independently. As a travel therapist, you probably use a variety of techniques and strategies every day, no matter what your specialty is. With technology being such a prevalent part of daily life, adding digital tools to your arsenal can expand your treatment options and give patients fun and helpful tasks on which to work. What apps are available for occupational therapists? Here are some great ones for your phone or tablet designed to aid in your work:

TapSpeak

If you work with patients who have a difficult time communicating as a result of a condition (such as cerebral palsy or autism), check out TapSpeak. This app (and all of its iterations) is designed to facilitate communication between patients and occupational therapists through the use of images and keyboards. Users can tap the icon that corresponds to what they're trying to say. Ideally, continued, guided use of this app will develop better communication skills in your patients over time. What's more, the software accommodates a wide variety of needs, making it accessible. In addition to using it in therapy, you can recommend parents and teachers use the app as well. 

Cut the Buttons

Improving fine motor skills may require your patients to practice, and doing the task is more fun when it's a game. Cut the Buttons is an app on Android and Apple that requires users to practice fine motor skills. The game presents pieces of fabric with buttons on them. Players must use virtual scissors (which they operate by touching the screen with their index fingers and thumbs) to cut the buttons off. With single- and multiplayer options available, the app is an engaging way to develop manipulative and haptic interaction. Player will earn points, motivating them to improve their scores.

Girl using a tablet.With the right apps, handheld devices can be a complementary part of your interventions.

Dexteria

Dexteria is a line of apps designed specifically for occupational therapists. Each app tackles a different skill, such as fine motor, spacial reasoning, mathematics and handwriting. While Dexteria can be used for any patients who need work on fine motor skills, many of the tools are intended for kids. In fact, publications like Apps For Children With Special Needs and Children's Technology Review have voted Dexteria to be one of the best tools out there. Depending on the population you work with, you can use one app (the original Dexteria is for kids and adults) or all of them.

T2 Mood Tracker

Understanding how they're feeling throughout the day is important for patients with mental and emotional needs. Keeping track of times of day when they feel great versus low can impact the way you work with them. But identifying feelings in the moment isn't always easy, and remembering the details days later is even harder. T2 Mood Tracker lets users make note of how they feel on a scale of various emotions. For instance, they might be more toward happy on the happy-sad scale. The app keeps track of those answers and provides data you and your patient can analyze together. Not only that, but it demonstrates how far your patients have come, which is certainly motivating.

Rush Hour

Develop problem-solving, perception, visual and motor skills with this puzzle game. This digital game comes with several different challenges that require players to get a car out of a traffic jam. They'll have to move around other cars, plan ahead and think critically. Plus, the app is played through touch, requiring patients to tap the screen carefully to complete the game.

Technology can become a part of your travel occupational therapy interventions. Choose apps based on what skills they target and the population with which you work.

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