Over the summer, I have taken some professional development courses related to using technology in my therapy practice. While some details are still up in the air, it looks like my therapy caseload this year will begin with mostly remote learning, but I wanted to learn about some new tools I can use both in teletherapy and also during in person sessions if/when those happen. I already use and love Boom Cards! Check out Sasha’s blog post about Boom cards here. In that post you can find a link to her available decks. I am excited to share some new resources I learned about this summer that can be used in very flexible ways for a variety of educational and therapy goals. Thank you to my district’s AT consultants who introduced me to these awesome tools!
Wordwall is a website where you can create custom activities for your caseload. I am still exploring all of the amazing features in this website. One of the coolest features is the community shared activities. You can simply search the topic you are looking for, and there is a good chance a premade activity will show up. You can also create your own activities. There are options for sorting, word searches, quizzes, hangman, spinners and more. The best part ? Wordwall is free for a basic membership!
You can pay for memberships that allow you to access and create increasing amounts of activities – click here for pricing information. The most expensive option is $9 per month. I already have ideas for how to use this to work a plethora of skills including self regulation skills, vocational skills, and executive functioning skills. Check it out – I don’t think you will be disappointed! You can create activities and use them over Zoom, but you can also bring these back into the classroom. If your room has a Smartboard, they can be projected on the screen or even used on the iPads or computers in the school.
Tarheel Game Play
This a free website with simple, interactive activities that can be accessed on iPads as well as with switches. There are a variety of premade activities and an option to create your own. In general, the premade activities are videos of either songs or books and throughout the videos, the student needs to click on a core word or a visual prompt to make the video continue to go. It is a great way to work on attention to task, communication skills and fine motor skills all within very motivating videos and songs.
A PT friend of mine made her own activity, and instead of the child having to press the button to request more, he had to complete the gross motor movement that showed up on the page, and then click the button to continue with the video. I thought that was a really creative use of this resource!
My team has been playing around with iMovie to create simple video modeling resources of common tasks, such as toothbrushing, folding laundry, wearing a mask, rec/leisure skills, washing hands, washing dishes. When we return to the classroom, our team will have a library of videos that we can incorporate into our daily lessons all organize in one spot. I don’t have a Mac, and have just been able to use my phone to create the videos. It’s pretty easy once you play around with it! There are tons of YouTube tutorials available – here is one example for using iMovie on your Mac, and here is another for using iMovie on your phone
I work with a lot of students who are working on life skills. This website is an awesome resource! Accessible Chef is a free library of visual recipes that can be printed or emailed to families. You can also use the recipe creator to create your own! I envision sending these recipes home to families to facilitate a virtual cooking group, and then using the same ones to cook at school as well.
I had no idea there were so many digital games available. While online games won’t fully replicate the benefits of hands on exploration, we can still work on meaningful skills in a safe way. I currently work mostly with high school and transition age students, so I love the idea of them being able to continue to work together on leisure skills by playing games online. In person learning will still bring concerns with sharing materials, so these online games could be an option even when we return to the classroom. I also found some nice options for younger students, including cause and effect games and Mr. Potato Head, a favorite of OTs everywhere! Just a heads up – some of these games are only compatible with a computer, so double check your devices first!
I am just learning all about the amazing things you can do with Google Slides. Check out this website for some templates and activity ideas. I am playing around with creating my own virtual therapy room, which would provide a schedule and link to different activities for the day. This can transfer easily back into the classroom whenever we return. I’m also working on creating some simple interactive games and sorting activities that can address prevocational skills, since our students will not be going out to their community job training sites. The possibilities with Google Slides are endless!
Flexibility is Key
I am excited to have a bunch of flexible tools in my toolbox this school year. With the situation constantly changing, I am feeling more confident that I am prepared to switch between remote and in person learning. By using these flexible tools to start, my students will be familiar with them and it can help facilitate a more seamless transition back to in person therapy. Do you have any websites or tools you are excited to use this year, either for in person or remote learning? Please share!
This blog is for informational purposes only. The information provided is general in nature. Please contact your OT for specific recommendations.