OT’s with Apps Blog

OT’s with Apps and Technology is a resource for occupational therapists, teachers, parents and clients seeking tools and strategies to improve the occupational skills of all ages.

Assistive and adaptive technology have always been part of an OT’s tools to improve participation and increase independence. In recent years, electronic devices have increasingly been used by therapists as an administrative, intervention as well as assistive tool. With the continued evolution  and availability of technology, electronic tools provide an increasingly important part of a therapists day. Although they are never to be the object of therapy, electronic devices have the potential of being used as an intervention, adaptive  device, training and resource tool, communication or cognitive aid for the students, patients and clients we service. As electronic devices evolve, their form and function expand, providing new potential for OT’s, increasing access, reducing barriers and providing mobile tools and other types of technology that have the potential of improving services and independence for the clients we service.

My goal for OT’s with Apps and Technology is to offer technology tools and resources that support therapists in improving their practice and functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Visit often, comment and share as many great minds collaborating together is powerful!

Carol Leynse Harpold, MS AdEd, OTR/L, ATP

80 Responses to OT’s with Apps Blog

  1. I love love love this blog and I am so happy that you’re posting these ideas! I’m a new OT grad and I want to find as many ideas as possible as I start my career. 🙂

  2. Danielle says:

    Hi Carol, I am looking for a keyboarding/typing app for the ipad to use with a high school student with spastic CP and limited fine motor skills, she has light touch abilities. Any suggestions?
    Danielle OTR/L

    • Danielle,
      A new app available is Intellipad, nothing to do with Intellikeys or Intellitools. It provides basic work processing with a keyboard that you can customize. The additional bonuses is that it has word prediction and it provides a small screen for importing pictures. Used for word processing, or math the word processor is very basic. The word predication can not be customized nor does it provide recency, collecting frequently used vocabulary.
      Although simple, I am excited to see an app like this emerge that has word prediction and text to speech. I was able to successfully use Dragon Dictation to transcribe speech to text, copy and paste it into Intellipad. Takes skills of navigating, copying and pasting to do this, but quite possible if the fine motor skills allow access to those tools. The methods to get the text off of the iPad in Intellipad is limited to : email, print or copy to clipboard so you will need to consider how you will produce the text if necessary.
      Another simple app with word prediction and text to speech is Typ – O. Provides word prediction and a text to speech option in the app. The iPad version has a few other tools to support spelling and word prediction (I only have the iPod version to trial).
      Dragon Dictation might be a consideration also, although it also requires copying and navigating to put the information into a document. Available on iPad and iPod. Not perfect, but incredibly good, you can also use many commands from Dragon NaturallySpeaking (an earlier post has those resources.

      Text expander is another iPod/iPad app that provides word prediction and abbreviation expansion on a note pad.

      There are also some text based aug com apps that provide word prediction and more customization in the apps but may be more expensive as they are aug com apps (Predictability,etc), Proloquo2go also has a writing, word prediction interface you can select to write words and phrases.
      Keyguards for the iPads are also available for certain programs. Check out RJ Cooper for keyguards and Technology for Education as a few resource- however they are typically for aug com set ups. I could definitely see a keyguard being made for IntelliPad.

      Capacitative stylus’s (Griffin, Targus, etc) has them and might be another method of keying or selection for her. Adapting the size of the stylus is also possible
      Hope it helps! I will be posting more on the word prediction apps soon!

      I would love to know what you found worked for this student! Come back and share!


  3. I love this blog. Thanks so much. Is there anyway that you could do an RSS feed? I will be so much more apt to read your blog if I could get it on my greader. Thanks. Theresa

  4. Disregard my last comment about the rss feed. I figured it out. I had just copied the URL incorrectly.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I am not sure how I came about your blog, but I am so glad I found it! Thank you for your time and effort!!! I was wondering if you could direct me towards a possible App. I have reviewed several of your post about stylists and note taking options, but I have not found what I am looking for. I am looking for an app that I could use to write my OT logs which are in a PDF or Word file. I am hoping to find something that will help with my productivity, organization, and legibility. I have struggle with writing and other classroom tasks my whole life and I guess that is why I ended up as an OT. Thanks for any input you may have.
    Jennifer OTR/L, MPH, ATC

    • Jennifer,
      Thank you for your positive feedback. With some many apps out there I would like a few more details on how you store, transfer and how you organize your logs (is this your annotations when you treat students, consult or monitor for and with them?)? How do you log the information down, by student, by day? How do you need to share this information? Where do you store it? Are you using an iPad for your notes? Do you have wireless all the time or only in some area and not in others? Do you need to ultimately need to print out the information in a certain formation (Word, PDF?). Is the privacy of the information you send subject to privacy laws, FERPA or HIIPA requirements? Is that a concern?

      Some apps formats can be sent or converted to PDF formats and sent to or via different tools – email, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs for storage or retrieval. Along with how the app is set up for organization or notetaking I also like to look at how and where it needs to go ultimately and in what format to try and find a match for the app that I am using. There is a variety of ways to do this, thus the questions above. If you can give me a few more details I could try to give you a few apps that you might want to check out. So much out there!!

      I have been using Awesome Note – not perfect- there are many more out there – but I can transfer my notes to my computer for storage, transfer it to Dropbox (do you use?) to back it up (what if something happened electronically to your iPad – would you have your info backed up?/) or use it in a progress note, print it off in a particular format at a later time. Awesome not is like a binder existance where I have created tabs by schools on my OT and AT students. I keep annotations/notes on them and also take pictures of their work samples using my iPad2 camera (I can take a picture within Awesome note). I also keep my schedules in Awesome note and other administrative notes and to do list in Awesome Note. Not suggesting it is the end all and be all, but it is working for me currently.

      Look forward to hearing back from you for some other possibilities that you might want to look into.


  6. Trina Bourke says:


    I am a DVR counselor and one of my consumers is looking for an app that could scan a word on a paper document and tell her what the word is and means.. do you know of such an App.

    • Trina,
      That is a great question. In the past the KNFB Reader was my preferred product for this kind of task. What I would suggest currently is to use an app called Prizmo on an iPhone. Prizmo has made some great improvements but is best on an iPhone as its camera is a higher quality, taking a cleaner picture. The app provides the tools to take a picture then crop what (word) you want scanned or perform OCR (optical character recognition which takes picture and recognizes it as text) and translates it to text. It has the tools to read the word and using features in iOS5 in the iPhone can select the word then defines the word. You will need to either copy the word to a dictionary or use the define /dictionary with Voice Over (Triple click turned on ) to provide text to speech to read the definition. Prizmo – http://www.creaceed.com/weblog/prizmo-tts.html – link to Prizmo website.

      ZoomReader also does something similiar however I actually think that Prizmo is more accurate.

      I hope that helps.

      As typical, the better the quality of the print you are working with – the more accurate the scanning and final product will be.

  7. I am so happy to come across this blog as a mom to a sensory kid and as an app developer. Thank you!

  8. Anthea says:

    Thank you! I’m a school based therapist in the UK, and this site is just fantastic and has saved me loads of ground work.

  9. Lisa Towery says:

    Great blog! Thank you for your dedication and finding so many wonderful apps!

    Lisa Towery, OTR/L

  10. Hi Carol. I love this blog! I tried to look through previous posts, and did not find much on mental health – related apps. I have heard that there are some good ones out there, but have not actually used any. Are you familiar with any?

    • Linda, Thank you for your comment and question. Working in a school system with students ages 3-21 years of age, my experience currently that mental health needs are more prevalent than ever. I work primarily with middle and high school students with a variety of needs. We also have counselors, school psychologists and teachers of emotional and behavior disorders that also support students with special needs which means we all bring specialties to the cases of these students. As an OT, what we specialized in the school district is sensory diets and processing strategies for students along with support for awareness and application of relaxation/breathing/decrease stress/anxiety levels with students. Some of the methods or modalities we use are movement, gross and fine motor (fidgets), music, breaks, breathing/relaxation and diversion or motivation/incentive activities, sensory strategies, visual communication and predictability to decrease anxieties over new or unfamiliar situations.
      Some of the above methods or modalities comes in apps such as:
      – Me Moves app
      – Relaxation Melodies app
      – White Noise app
      – Pandora radio app
      – Soundscape app
      – Pocket Pond app
      – Fluidity
      – Fluid
      – Fluid Monkey
      – Sparkle Paint
      – Marine Aquarium
      -SOSH – This is a suite of apps that provides Relax (Block Out, Deep Breathing, Shredder, Imagine, What Helps to customize); Regulate (Self monitor, voice meter): Recognize (Triggers, FAcial Expression, Feeling, Shades of Gray); Relate and Reason areas with other strategies that can be customized for a student/client. This app is geared to individuals with social skill challenges.
      – Moody Me – free, tracks moods given visual icons to choose from
      – Time Timer or VisTimer to assist with limits
      I use doodle or buddy app, white board app or a low tech dry erase board, or symbol pictures for visual communication daily depending on the level of the student.

      Many of the apps that are relaxing have been used at school to de-escalate students behavior before they need more behavioral intervention. Apps that are used for incentives or rewards are also used on iPod/iPads using a timer to set limits of the reward time (2 or 5 minutes)- giving them structure, limits and predictability.
      Doing just a bit of research on mental health apps it is amazing how many apps are out there addressing mental heath issues geared more to adults than students. There are apps for assessment, strategies for depression/anxiety, phobias, breathing, PTSD, meditation and more to choose from. Due to my current focus with primarily school aged students I have experience with the above apps, many of these mentioned in previous posts under categories of sensory apps, emotion, timer, visual communicaton apps due to the age range of students I work with.

      Here are a couple of apps that appear to have good rating that would be a start for me for other mental health apps for adults”
      – Breath2Relax
      – Mindful Mediation app
      I wish someone made a square breathing app!

      I am hoping others will comment on their experience with such apps. Certainly sounds like an area for more research. Thank you for visiting. Share any apps if you have experience with them!


  11. Leanne Seckinger says:

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for all of the wonderful resources. I’m just starting a private practice for concussed athletes and children. Are you aware of some good apps that would work address visual/auditory sensory regulation, and good cognitive apps for adolescents? I saw you mentioned some mental health assessments for depression and anxiety. Have you found any that could work for this population?


    • Leanne,
      I am not an expert in that area but I might suggest looking into the SOSH app. You can get a trial version of it. As a suite of apps it covers, strategies, regulation, relaxation, goal setting a number of areas. As a suite it has many tools within it. It was developed by a pyschologist, Dr. Mark Bowers who focuses on individuals who need social skill training, thus a fit for ADHD, ASD and more. He has a book that is a good practical read that reviews his philosophy about his 5 R’s that might be worth your while.

      There are many other apps out there for memory challenges. Although not an expert in the area I will post some To do apps that helps with memory, problem solving and prioritization. I will get back to you regarding a few other resources that look at organization and apps (executive functioning), if that seems to be a fit.

      Thanks for dropping in… I will get back to you!

  12. Scott Thieu says:

    Hi Carol,

    Great blog, it has really helped me sift through so many different apps. I have signed up to follow your blog, but I have not been getting any notifications about new posts. I was wondering if you could shed some light on this. Thanks!

    • Scott, I did a bit of intitial checking on trouble shoot lack of receipt of posts. Here are some suggestions:

      If you or your reader is having trouble signing up to follow a blog, or isn’t receiving email updates, you can try these to fix the problem.
      •Check your spam/junk email box. If you have an option to unblock specific email addresses, try allowing *@wordpress.com (all emails from the domain) and/or no-reply@wordpress.com addresses.
      •Make sure you to uncheck the box next to “Block all email updates from WordPress.com blogs you follow” on your Manage Delivery Settings page.
      •Double-check that you have confirmed your request to follow. You can view all of the blogs and comment threads you’re following on your Read Blogs page (if you have a WordPress.com account), or at subscribe.wordpress.com (if you don’t have any account but are following WordPress.com blogs).

      Check the above items, if you are still having problems let me know. Thank you again for visiting otswithapps!!

  13. Dennis Cleary says:

    Carol, Thanks for all you are doing. I am presenting on iPads at AOTA coming up at the end of the month: iPads and iTechnology: Is it More Engaging, Efficient, and Effective? A Rubric for Occupational Therapists. I wanted to make sure that it was OK to link to your blog as a ‘must go to’ for OT’s interested in technology during my presentation?

    • Absolutely Dennis!
      I am honored that you visit and are considering it as a “must go to”! Sounds like a very interesting workshop! As I evaluate different clients and the frenzy for iDevice usage continues – especially for adults the consideration of iDevices can be very tricky! I just evaluated a couple of adults and use of a computer for Dragon NaturallySpeaking still was important in their situations!
      Then there are the Androids….
      I would like to contact you personally. Are you also familiar with the rubric for apps created by Kathy Schrock? I personally did some additions to that rubric.

      Best of luck and thank you!


  14. Sally Carr says:

    This so wonderful and so helpful – I love this blog! I work with adults with chronic mental health conditions, and the apps you discuss are so useful. With a busy caseload, its great that I have a “go to” place for ideas and suggestions around the different apps. i just can’t keep up with them all myself.Thanks for the great work.

  15. Claire says:

    I work with a student who has autism and a severe cognitive impairment. His parents would like him to be able to independently take part in goal-directed activities that include games. He has an iPad which he is quite adept at using, easily swiping between screens and accessing the apps he likes (most often the movie app). I have begun using Me&Bee Puzzle with him, which has simple shape matching beginner puzzles which he is able to do. However this has a small margin for error, meaning that the shape does not ‘snap’ to the template unless it is placed precisely, which can lead to some frustration for him.
    Could you recommend any other puzzle-type apps with a similar level of difficulty (matching only 1-3 large, obviously different pieces) but that may have a larger margin for error?

    • Claire,
      Although there a gazillion apps out there here are a few that come to mind that are simple with some just popping into place when flicking them towards the matching locations:

      http://myfirstapp.com/MyFirstApp/1.5+_Page.html – these apps range in skill from 1.5 – 3.0 years and progress in difficulty – My First App.com

      Check out Learning is Fun website – My First Puzzles has more pieces but are easy to flick to their locations and are already oriented correctly for placement. They have a number of puzzles available that are easy to flick into place.

      Grasshopper apps.com – has at least two puzzle apps that you can start with 4 pieces and increase in quantity. The great thing about Grasshopper apps is that you can customize the puzzle app, bring in your own pictures for endless interest with the needed amount of puzzle pieces. Two Grasshopper apps that I am familiar with are Preschool Games – Little Puzzles and the Kids Puzzles. If you are not familiar with Grasshopper apps visit their website and check out what they have to offer- over 80 apps that are customizable including books. They are great and free if not just .99 .

      As for games, I use games such as bowling, tic tac toe, connect 4, Bubble popping games, Pocket Pond and some of the Friskie cat food apps for games for our students with cognitive disabilities. I have a few posts about the games I use with our students in the multicategorical classroom. A favorite is bowling- something they are familiar with. Most of the games are a win-win situation and purchased or played with a two player mode works on turn taking and interactions. With one student it required hand over hand assistance initially but with practice he became independent playing the game!
      Here are a couple of links to posts with the app resources in it:


      I would be really interested in hearing back about what might work.

      Good Luck!

  16. Hi Carol, Just wondering if you or any of your colleagues had any experience with this app – Grace – Picture Exchange for Non-Verbal People

    Friends of mine who are trained in PECS and who have been using it successfully with their son for many years are wondering if it might be an option for them and have asked my opinion, but I am pretty sure I’m not the person to ask as I only have a very basic knowledge of PECS and I haven’t seen the App in action. It would be great to hear from someone who knows what they are talking about and who has seen the APP. Don’t worry if you can’t help, but I figure you have a pretty big blog following and maybe someone out there might be able to help.
    Thanks 🙂

    • Sarah, I am honored that you would ask but that is unfortunately not a area of expertise. I do work with some students with their aug com needs with our SLP but I don’t have broad experience or expertise. Of course I do have some thoughts on resources though!
      Jane Farrall has a recent, awesome listing of AAC apps for iPad. It is an extensive as there are so many out there. Her list includes cost, discription, device, method of access (direct vs. indirect) and rates them on a scale of 1-3 stars. Jane provides wonderful information – I am a fan of her for her expertise and thorough reviews and information. Here is the link to her listing and review:

      What I do know is that there are many and some expensive and some free. Whereas the old saying you pay for what you get somewhat true, there are many free aac apps available now and doable. Just an example is Ablenet’s Sounding Board app, which is free and rated by Jane with either 2 or 3 stars. Some of factors to look at is what kind of symbol system have they been using in the past, do they need real pictures, do they use symbol stix so with transitioning to a electronic communication system you are not starting all over with the symbols which is a whole other language. Can you easily import pictures if the PECS system they have been using has been with real pictures then you at present may not need a big symbol library. Do you need a text written or not?

      Bottom line is I would peruse Jane’s list and start matching the features needed by the child with what is described by app, then check out rating and cost. You might just find some free ones to start with!
      There are many more lists of AAC apps out there – I beleive Jane sorts out which ones are AU vs US to help with availability for you thru iTunes which is a help to you.

      Thanks for asking and again visiting. I hope this is helpful. Good luck to you all in pursuit of communication!

  17. Carol, as you know my daughter and I are getting so much out of this blog and learning so much from it. I think it offers the best of what the blogosphere can provide. We’d like to follow you on twitter, too, but couldn’t find you after a search. If you’re on there, will you shoot us your handle? I’m @camediate and Rhona is @abitofthisand.

  18. Anne, OTS says:

    Hi Carol,
    Can you recommend an app to practice fine motor skills for a young woman with CP? So many of the apps for working on fine motor skills are geared toward children, and I would like to find something engaging for a twenty year old. Thank you for all of the information you have put forth on this website!

    • Anne,
      I apologize if this is a repeat response. Some questions about the practice of fine motor skills for a young woman with CP- what kind of function do you want to improve? Is there a functional fine motor skill or task that you want to improve ? It would be most important to think about function for this young woman and what she needs or wants to do that is functionally tied to vocation, communication, self care or leisure. Any suggestions?

      Good question. I will look forward to your reply. Thank you for visiting and your kind comment!


      • Peter says:

        Hello. I would love to hear the advice you have for Anne, the OTS who wrote you on Sept. 4. My daughter is 12 and has mild/moderate CP. She is a mostly A student in a regular middle school, but is beginning to struggle in math. Cognitively she has a fairly keen mind for math concepts. However, her ability to take notes, erase them and organize herself on the page is severely limited. Would love to discover an IPAD app that would assist her in note taking/test taking, particularly in math. She is often losing points on tests because the instructor does not follow her handwriting, or she herself gets confused about her own work when going back over it doing homework and during tests. To be clear, I’m not looking to improve her handwriting. That ship has sailed! 🙂
        I know you must be inundated by parents like me, so I hope I’m somewhat clear in my goal.
        Thanks. so much

      • Peter,
        Hope you have a chance to review the reply for Anne, OTS. I had responded to her also off line, directly with her. It is hard to make suggestions, and they only are suggestions since I do not know the individual and all of the details of their cognitive, physical, sensory skills or interests.

        Here are a few thoughts about the math (AT and math has always been a struggle I believe):
        Panther Technologies has an app called Panther Math Paper for individuals to type out their math problems – currently reduced to 19.99. Very universal design for learning app that provides basic and advanced functions and accessibility controls here is the link to the app:
        You can also check them out here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/panther-math-paper/id547090551?mt=8

        There is also another app call Soulver – a note pad calculator that provides a worksheet for doing math and showing your work for the iPad :

        If she needs to take notes and can’t get the whole concept down, is the teacher using a Smartboard? Could they capture the notes and provide them to her on line for her to review? Does she have a note taker? Could they use a Echo Pen and take the notes and supply them to her on a pencast (Livescribe app)? could directions be videoed in class for her.
        Sound note app – takes audio while note taking on the iPad http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/soundnote/id364789577?mt=8

        As an OT I like your comment about the ship has sailed. I agree with your thought about how it is time to look at methods of compensation to get the job done! Although there are no perfect answers, there is a lot of technology choices, low to high these day for all of us and getting more universal in nature – how wonderful.

        Good luck, I would love to hear about what you found worked! Thank you for your time in commenting on the blog.


    • Anne,
      I hope you received my email off line about apps for practicing fine motor skills for a young woman with CP. I like to term what is gained on the iPad as primarily visual motor skills as I believe that fine motor skills are primarily gained through three dimensional manipulation, there are apps or games for twenty year olds that would work on visual motor skills. Many questions about practicing fine motor skills come to my mind – “What kind of functional skills need to be acheived for the individual? Can the young woman perform all of the controls on the iPad to engage? Does she need practice with those skills or setting some of the accessibility options for her for ease of access? Can visual motor skills be accommplished through leisure activies, games, puzzles, word searches that will provide practice through activities for her?
      There are many great games (I am not a gamer but I do have a few visual motor or word games that I play), here are a few games that might require some visual motor (fine motor) practice for her and supply leisure activities for her or enlist others to play with her also:
      *Flow Free app- reviewed in blog is a visual motor and spatial reasoning app for all ages. In app purchase is required after completing the first 30 screens although there are different levels providing lots of levels available for free.
      *Rush Hour app – a visual spatial, problem solving app free is available
      *Wurdle – word search activity, allows you to chose from 4×4 grid or more and set a time limit.
      *Words with Friends – I don’t play this but something like this might encourage interaction with others if appropriate for her
      *Puzzles – there are many, many puzzle at all levels. Depending on the number of pieces, sizes that the young lady is capable of handling cognitively or physically there are many make your own puzzles. Insert your own pictures, find a picture on the Internet to use and create your own puzzle. If you need a basic puzzle app, Check out grasshopper apps they have a number and most likely still free!
      *Ensenasoft has apps that are very typical games: Tic Tac Toe, 4 in a Row, Majhong – check out their apps but also check on their website and you can trial their games. I was impressed with what they had available.
      * Dots game – check out Optime on Internet for their free games.
      * Word searches – many out there for free or purchase – Word Search + you can choose topics you are looking for and levels
      Dot to Line Game (lite) is visual motor.
      *Puzzle Juice, Scrabble, Solitare or Bogle Game many many more!

      Think about the functional outcome of what you want the young lady to do, check out her skills and what she likes to do. The iPad is great for some things and perhaps not the tool of choice for others depending what your treatment goal is.

      This are just suggestions and may not be appropriate pending the skill, interest and tasks she needs to accomplish. I hope this helps a bit, it is always a challenge when you don’t work with an individual to make appropriate suggestions.

      Best of luck!

  19. Michelle says:

    Thanks for your Blog with regular updates Carol.
    I have a client who has recently received an iPad as a communication device. The problem is that she has a history of throwing items across the room when she is upset and school staff are reluctant to give her the iPad on her desk unless it can be secured.
    So the challenge is to find something which secures the iPad so that the student can’t pick it up and throw it (endangering others in the classroom), but which is easy and quick for school staff to put it in and out of so that the iPad can be moved around with her so that it can function as her voice.
    The student has good range and strength of her UL’s and directly accesses the ipad, so positioning is not crucial, as long as it is within easy reach. She has a MWC for distances, but spends a lot of her time on the floor. At school she sits at a standard school desk in a CAP or Kelly chair style seat. The device is currently in a Giffin Survivor iPad case and ideally needs to stay in this case in the mounting system.
    Has anyone else come across a similar situation? Any ideas or suggestions welcome!

  20. Michelle says:

    Post away! I am sure others have come across this situation and someone may have developed the ‘perfect’ solution.

  21. Scott says:

    Hi, we recently picked up Loc line to check out as a relatively inexpensive option. So far we are pretty impressed for the price. You can check it out at the link below. While reading the post my first instinct was the RAM mount. Hope this helps!

  22. Kim Wiggins says:

    Do you know of any ipad apps that you can create/organize your lessons for therapy? I work in a school district and have multiple group sessions per day. I have been reading about and listening to the how to videos for “iplanLessons”, but it really is geared more towards teachers. I would like to make a series of treatment plans for each one of my students. Let me know what you think!

  23. Lila says:

    You have a great list of apps for iPad, but I have an Android device. Do you have a list (or know where I can find one) of apps for Android?

  24. Cynthia Cline says:

    Thank you for you blog. Today i was searching for app for a 6 year old boy with spastic quadriplegic CP with poor motor control, cordical vision impairment ( 08/09 and can come and go) and poor verbal communication. His parents want him to use an iPad in the classroom and at home to reach his IEP goals (color recognition, name recognition, number recognition, shape recognition, and count to 50). I would appreciate any apps or assertive device suggestions you have to offer.
    I will be visiting your blog often. It is full of information.

    • Cynthia, I will get back to you soon with some suggestions.

      I do have some questions for you – Does he do direct select – can he touch the screen accurately? How big does the target need to be. How good is he at using the touch screen on the iPad?
      Can he isolate a finger to touch?

      Here are just a couple:

      ColorSlapps -you can choose the colors you want to work on.

      Check out some of the Grasshopper apps and Alligator apps.com. Their apps are very clean and can be customized.

      Back to you soon! Thank you for visiting and your inquiry.

  25. Maureen M. says:

    Hi Carol. I am a school based occupational therapist who was recently told I would become a part of a technology team. All of our current 5th, 6th and 7th grade students each have their own ipad. The technology is amazing. Our director now wants to set up a technology team consisting of one SLP, one OT and one special ed teacher who will provide turn key presentations for regular ed teachers on functional apps for their special needs students. I have not yet used an ipad (shocking I know) and need a good place to start. Are there any courses you could recommend or apps I should check out specifically related to school based OT? Any advice would be helpful!

    Thank you,
    Long Island NY

    • Hi Maureen,
      Thank you for your visit to OT’s with Apps. How exciting to be a part of a team for students with special needs. Great minds with direction- what a wonderful opportunity!
      There is a lot of information on iPads out there, so much more than when I started. If starting out with iPad use, reviewing the current Apple iPad manual about the basics of the iPad is a place to start. Typically it can be downloaded as an iBook for convenience. Another resource is checking out Tony Vincent’s information on iPads. He has worked with handheld devices before iDevices existed and is a great resource. He has information about integrating them in to education. Lots of information on his website. http://learninginhand.com/ios/
      As for students with disabilities, what type of students are you going to be working with ? LD, CD (cognitive impairment), Autism? Focused on common core?? Essential standards?

      One of the places to go to in general is the Appitic website, it is the apple educator website. They have listings of recommended apps by Blooms taxomony, special needs, subject and task from exceptional educators – http://www.appitic.com – their blog with a curated list of apps is: http://appsineducation.blogspot.com/2011/11/appitic-ipad-apps-curated.html

      As for courses, they are everywhere. Check out what is in your area on basics. Here is an online resource that also has webinars for special needs – some might be free: http://community.simplek12.com/scripts/student/home.asp#cat0

      There are other websites that provide great information but may or may not have information on your middle school grade levels: Check Spectronics – and their blogs for special needs. Paul Hamilton’s blog also has great information on free resources for teachers, not all about iPads, but he does offer great information : http://paulhami.edublogs.org/
      I also follow Richard Byrne’s blogs and website which is all about web based and apps – he does a ton of blogging about technology integration – as it is more about the integration piece than just the apps in itself especially if you are working with regular education teachers: http://www.freetech4teachers.com/ and http://ipadapps4school.com/

      There are many, many lists of apps out there for special needs. It depends on the population of students you are focusing on. I do have some lists for LD students on my blog. Although, dated and that there are many more apps out there, the basic lists stay pretty constant.

      That’s just a start. Let me know if you need any further help. Have fun with your iPad!

  26. Ruth says:


    Great to come across your website. I am a PT working in Paediatrics. I came across your site as I was looking for an app to encourage upper limb use and hand function, and thought the iPad would make it a more meaningful experience as the boy is 14 years old, and he currently has an iPad at his bedside in hospital. I am also looking into the use of a decision making app and am looking forward to try out ‘Talk Touch’. Have you used this app much in practice?


    • Ruth, I have seen this app but not used it. There are so many apps and so many for AAC! I have used GoTalk lite and Sounding Board by AbleNet – both free for very basic communication boards that are customizable. If the student needs more in a communication app, I have used Talk Tablet and iProloquo2go – however, as always, the app selection is dependent on the features need for the individual student. There are many feature match AAC app lists for communication that you might want to check out if you need a dedicated communication app.
      If you are working in the medical setting, there are several free basic communication apps available to use for non-verbal or language barriers to aid basic communication. There are a few on my blog – search “communication ” on OT’s with apps.com and you will find a few posts.

      Thank you for your comment, question and visit!

  27. Emma T says:

    Dear Carol, I am an OT working in Sydney Australia for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. I have a 6 year old client who was very prem who has Ataxic CP, ADHD and some OCD tendencies.He also has some very specific learning difficulties around literacy and numeracy. I have been asked to see him as his handwriting is so poor and he is highly motivated by technology. He is in a mainstream classroom and has had a full year of school without being able to identify letter sounds or blends for even simple sight words.
    I have set up a big keys keyboard in alphabetical order with keyguard. He has learnt the UK system ” Letterland ” at school where letters are given identities and pictures ( eg “a” is annie apple and “c” is clever cat )and have cut out and stuck the Letterland letters on the keys, as this is his only system of letter name recognition. He is unable to identify most letter sounds.
    I have tried First keys 2 software where the letter sound is read out when letter is typed, and whole word and sentence can be read out but this is pc based.
    I am looking for an app which will allow him to write in the classroom onto a word processing blank page (with big keys attached) where the letter sound is given- and/or letter name ( if there is an option to change it over) and whole word . There are piles of other resources out there to assist with phonics skills but I am just looking for the word processing options
    Do you have any ideas ? – I would love to hear from you !!

  28. Kristen says:

    Love the website.. any recommendations for adults with cognitive and visual impairments? I have Tap tap see, Dragon, Scanner Pro, AidaReminder, and Alarmed. Looking for apps that help manage a daily routine.. ID objects.. or auditory – text to speech.

    • Would apps like picture scheduler app – provides picture, audio or text in a sequence with the ability to set alarms be helpful? First then visual schedule HD has image import, recording of voices, and offers display with one picture at a time, two or more. The choice of size /number of pictures allowed may help along with voice output to assist with recognition.
      Just a few thoughts.

  29. Hi Carol,

    I am a student who will be starting OT school this fall. I would like to purchase a tablet to use in school and into the first years of my career. What are your recommendations for which tablet would be best? It seems like most apps you review are for iPad. Would that be the best tablet to start out with?
    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Christine,
      I would suggest thinking about what tasks you expect to use the tablet for. For your studies or treatment purposes? Then think about what tablet might support your needs. There are many choices out there now with Windows, Android and iOS tablets.
      When considering a device for clients – we want to match the tool to the task and clients needs. Some thoughts to consider for you!
      Good luck!

  30. Heather Paul says:

    Hi Carol,

    I was wondering if you knew of any therapy apps to assess or work on financial management that would be similar to the task of online banking

    Thank you!

  31. Kristina says:

    Hi Carol,
    Thanks for your dedication. What is an Awesome Blog! I am looking for an app or an OT sreening tool that has a rating scale for OT school based services. I have so many referrals that with a rating scale , it might help me to prioritize the referrals. Thanks,

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  33. Alice says:

    wow I’m so pleased to have found this blog!

    I’m an OT in a brain injury residential home, I’m working with a young lady (28) who although is full intact cognitively, she communicates non verbally. I’m pestering for an ipad, predominantly so that I can download tap to talk apps as she has good manual dexterity. But obviously there must be a world of apps for memory and attention that she could use. I’m a little in the dark with ipads but I know there must be more out there to help improve her quality of life! Are there any good communication apps/ memory games that stand out to anyone on this forum?

    I’ve read your comments above which are so useful, but I’d be very grateful to hear anyones thoughts on my client as I think she has a world of potential and I don’t want my lack of knowledge to hold her back.

    Thanks in advance!


    • Hi Alice, can you tell me a bit more about the type of memory challenge she has? Does she spell and write functionally?
      What specific memory challenges is she having? Sequential tasks, other functional memory problems with daily activities? How is her attention, visual skills and familiarity with mobile devices? Is she interested in using a mobile device?

      There are some great lower cost AAC apps available for text communication – no symbols just typing text. I particularly like the ClaroCom app for the cost and saved messages, etc. Predictable is great but expensive. Verbally has a free version. You might also consider Speak it as a low cost text to speech tool if she can word process. Using word prediction can also increase the rate of producing text messages. TActus Therapy and their apps has some great apps for individuals with TBI.
      Thank you for contacting OT’s with Apps. I will look forward to your reply for more information.


  34. Alice says:

    Hi Carol,

    Thanks for your quick reply, I didn’t realise the apps are so specific. I’ve only known her a few weeks really and you were my first port of call. She can spell using her spell board but her memory has not been tested. I believe she has capacity to be a quick learner as we have taught her very basic and crude gestures to sign with and she is now using them consistently. But I think there is a short term memory deficit, as she does not recognise me yet. She does not write. I have referred to speech and language, but she is very keen to keep up with technology. I’m very much at the starting blocks with her, her attention is short but enough to work with.

    Thanks very much for the information so far, it’s something to get started on as I want to have a few apps in mind when I pitch it to our boss!


  35. Tamela Moore, OT says:

    Love your blog and need new apps to use with my students in school system!

  36. Jenn Stewart-Owen says:

    Hi – Can anyone recommend a good program for teaching 10-finger typing to Gr 4-6 students using iPads with external keyboards? Thanks!!

  37. Hi Carol,
    I work in education in international contexts. I have been following your blog for some time, and it has been very helpful – thank you!

    I was hoping to get some feedback from you. A friend created an app (called Image Spell Check) to spell check handwritten work. Users can take an image of the handwritten work with the app, which scans it for mistakes and provides suggestions as needed. It is available on Android for now.

    We created this based on the need I saw while working in schools in Uganda. Both learners and teachers over there found it useful, as it took the need for adults to know and verify the correct spelling. We uploaded the app on Playstore, since when it has found a lot of traction in the US as well.

    We didn’t create the app with any commercial intent – we are just hoping it will be useful. We would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions for features.

    It’s still in beta, so please bear with us on the accuracy.

    Get it from here:

    Thank you!

    • Thank you Radhika for contacting OT’s with Apps & Technology. I apologize for the delay in responding. It has been a busy school year and work schedule!
      The app sounds very interesting. Handwriting recognition is such a challenge in my experience. I will look forward to checking out the app!

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