You might think you don’t really service individuals with mental illness, but the statistic for young and old might make you rethink that. Take a look at this infographic (see graphic below) from Candida Abrahamson’s Blog and you might be surprised about the incidence of mental health.
If you work with children, how many of them are ADHD? How many of your high functioning students with Autism have anxiety problems? Are you experiencing greater prevalence of clients or children diagnosed with bipolar or depression?
Check out this infographic from Candida’s blog that presents mental health statistics at a glance:
Infographic retrieved on 6/8/2012 from http://candidaabrahamson.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/facing-mental-illness-infograph-and-facts/ ; Original source: http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/shedding-light-on-americas-homeless-veterans-infographic/ .
On Candida’s blog, Facing Mental Illness: Infographics and Facts she presents additional statistics from National Alliance for Mental Illness relating to the prevalence of mental illness. As an OT working with student at the middle and high school, currently my caseload reflects more than 50 % with some type of mental health challenges. Many of them are students with Autism requiring among other interventions, strategies to help with self – regulation through their day.
How does this relate to apps and iDevices?
Consider iTools for Self – Regulation
iDevices are powerful tools that students or adults might be able to use to help with self regulation. It is not the only answer by any means and may not be the answer for many clients or students but here are a few apps or examples of iPods and iPad uses that might aid self regulation:
- Special education teachers, paras, therapists or students use free radio station apps (Pandora app - or Yahoo Radio apps) on their devices (iPads/iPods) to play calming music. In one situation use of apps and environmental music helped to reduce self stiming noises of a students when in the classroom. Also used to help some students when venturing in public places where students find a need to self stim for regulation, iPod Shuffles, iPod Touches and MP3 players can help supply music or sound programs to help with self- regulation.
- Students have access to MP3 or iPod Touches in noisy arenas to help them cope when noises get to loud. On the bus, assemblies, when studying in a busy resource room or library using favorite music, white noise or classical music with noise reducing headphones can help with self-regulation.
- Use of apps such as Autism 5 point scale EP (questionable availability recently) to help student determine their emotional state and give them suggestions for what to do to regulate
- SOSH app provides a variety of tools within their five R’s for self regulation. A Relax and Regulate component of the SOSH app provides customizable tools to help high functioning individuals with supports to help with self- regulation. Most useful for older, more mature students/clients.
- The Electric Company – Feel Electric app provides supports for teens to identify their feeling and emotions
- Sensory apps as Fluidity, Pocket Pond or Fluid are favorite apps by a number of our students that can help with calming.
- Providing students with a visual schedule such as First/Then Visual Schedule app or providing choices can help them feel in control and anticipate activities or changes in their day.
- Visual timers provides forwarning to students when they will need to finish and move on to another task, aiding with self regulation and self control.
- Doodle apps are a preference to help with self -regulation for some students. Apps like Doodle Buddy are a favorite or Paint Sparkles are free doodling apps.
There are many more apps that support meditation, environmental sounds, breathing regulation and activities that can help with calming, social skills and self regulation. An iDevice is not the only way to deal with mental health issues but is just one more tool in your toolbag to help students or clients. Small and portable, iPods and iPhone are available on demand with clients and students making them readily available as an behavioral intervention. A prior post, entitled Mental Health Apps, lists more app possibilities and mental health resources.
Thank you to Candida Abrahamson for allowing me to repost part of her blog. I encourage you to visit her personal website for great information on mental health!