Learn to Tie Your Shoelace – Using Apps and Video Resources

Tying shoe laces is one of those functional goals that a OT  (or teacher, parent) works on to increase independence of their student, child or client. Whether using standard laces, adaptive laces, velcro and or instructional methods we are always looking for interventions that support successful skill acquisition for the client.

For a number of years now I have been using a YouTube video of shoe tying video to some of the students with autism I work with. Understanding the power of video modeling and visual communication, I went to the Internet to find a video to help support the student with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)  a visual method of learning.

Using an existing step by step shoe tying video, we started each session viewing the video on the computer.  Sometimes we watched it several times, giving the option to the student to replaying the video as many times as needed before starting hands on practice of shoe tying. I also found a hard copy worksheet with simple text and images of the steps of shoe tying that closely resembled what was taught in the video for the student to follow during the hands on practice. The method work like a charm, requiring limited verbal cueing  to the student using the hard copy visual worksheet with text (with students who have some reading capabilities) while practicing hands on task of shoe tying. It did not take long for the student to be able to demonstrate shoe tying skills. I can still hear the first student look at the pictures and recite the steps out loud himself while practicing each step. Visual communication and video modeling at work to support communication as well as skill acquisition! We have used this method a school with other students with strong visual preference and some reading abilities successfully at school.

So what does this have to do with apps, iDevices or Android tablets? Plenty!

Mobile devices can provide you with an “app for that” to support  instruction of tie your shoes, video resources are available on the Internet on shoe tying or you have video capabilities on iDevices or Android tablets to create visual instruction of the task if you are not interested in video instruction. Here are some suggestions on ways to provide visual demonstration to your client using a mobile device :

  1. Get an  app for that – Shoe Tying 1 – Activity App app by DT Trainers or 1,2 Shoe Tying (See reviews below )
  2. Download, save in your favorites your own favorite video of shoe tying on your mobile device (see below for a few shoe tying video suggestions). Using the mobility of a tablet (iPad, iPod or Android tablet) you can watch a video on demand – anywhere! Providing the visual support in the environment of where shoe tying needs to be done – in the hallway after gym class, after recess in the winter months at the students cubbie or locker etc.
  3. Create your own video of the skill or process using the camera/video on your tablet!
  4. If you use a hard copy visual step by step sequence (worksheet) take a picture of it. Here are some options of what to do with the picture/photo on your device:

– Save steps of the photos and create an album of the pictured steps

– If using a hard copy step by step document, take a picture of it. Use it as a photo to show as you go or import the picture into Doodle Buddy to draw on or use another picture editing app to show where to start or which way to move a lace

– Create a step by step book with your photos of the task in Tapikeo, Pictello or other story telling apps to review steps of shoe tying with your students.

– Have your students help you make a book with the picture of the them performing steps of the task.  They will be sure to want to review themselves in their book!

The mobility of electronic tablets is such a powerful tool allowing ease of use in almost any environment with visual instruction!

Apps for Shoe Tying

Here are  just a few shoe tying apps and resources for you to consider as visual supports for learning the process:

 Shoe Tying 1 – Activity App – (4.99) for iPhone/iPad from the makers of the Activity Trainer, Accelerations Educational Software . They provide systematic teaching and video modeling practice for individuals of any age.

DTT Trainer also provides a wide variety of resources for this app on their Accelerations Educational Software website . You will find step by step pictures, training guide,  and overview of the method of their training is provided.

Although Shoe Tying 1 is a bit pricey, if you are needing discrete training for students, this clean, well designed app and extension materials this may be well worth the cost !

1, 2, Tie My Shoe app (.99) for Android devices. Provides step by step visual instructions for shoe tying. Provides an auto play mode with settings of slow, medium and fast.

Basic visual instructions are provided.

Video Resources for Shoe Tying

Here are some video resources on shoe tying that are appropriate for instruction purposes:

From How Cast.com : http://www.howcast.com/videos/113850-How-to-Tie-Your-Shoes

YouTube shoe tying video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc4H6goKFB0

If you are not able to connect at school to YouTube or are not working in an area that has Wi-Fi  connections there are ways to download the movie files and save them to your tablet. Check back for future OT iTool Kit Tip and Tricks on how to manage and load YouTube videos on your iDevice.

Although only a tool for your instruction, an electronic tablet can provide access to many educational or therapeutic resources on the fly!

Do you have any other resources for shoe tying that you use?

More for your OT iTool Kit!


About Carol Leynse Harpold, MS, OTR/L, SCLV, ATP, CATIS

OTR/L with more than 35 years experience in pediatrics, school based therapy and adult rehabilitation. Masters of Science in Adaptive Education/Assistive Technology with 20 years experience in AT in education of elementary, middle school, secondary, post secondary students and work environments for adult clients. A RESNA Assistive Technology Practitioner with ACVREP CATIS credentials, AOTA Specialty Certification in Low Vision, USC Davis Executive Certificate in Home Modifications, servicing adults and students with disabilities in employment, education, and home environments. A 2020 graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham Low Vision Certification Program.
This entry was posted in Activities of Daily Living, Android, App Reviews, Apps for OT's, Apps for Special Needs, Autism, iPad, iPhone, iPod, Occupational Therapy, Self Care, Special education, Special Needs, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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