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60 Effective School-Based Apps for Occupational Therapy

School-based apps for occupational therapy are a must have in the age of the iPhone and iPad.

Many OTs are moving towards using applications to help with treatment, including in the development of skills for pediatric patients. With innumerable applications and resources available today, finding and sorting through applications can feel like a daunting process.

Look below for 60 school-based apps for occupational therapy, sorted by treatment area and described in brevity by name, price, and description. These school-based apps for occupational therapy are available for both iPhone and iPad through iTunes App Store.

Emotions

ABA Flash Cards & Game – Innovative Mobile Apps

For $.99, you get 50 flashcards to help children learn emotions.

Touch and Learn (Emotions) – Innovative Mobile Apps

$1.99 – Teach children to understand body language and emotions of others.

Autism Learn Games: Camp Discovery Pro – PixelAtion Labs

Free! – Developed by the Center for Autism and Related Diagnoses. Learning games to match objects, shapes, colors, emotions, and more for ages 2 and up.

Emotionary – Funny Feelings

Free! – Emotion diary for teachers and caregivers. This app helps find trends in contexts or situations that may trigger certain behaviors.

Social Emotional Exchange (S.E.E.) – Saym Basheer

$9.99 (Lite version is free) – An interactive way to teach children various human emotions by looking at facial expressions.

Fine motor

Alien Buddies Preschool Learning – Artgig Studio

$2.99 – Facilitates finger control and provides learning opportunities including letter recognition, dot to dot, and puzzles.

Dexteria: Fine Motor Skill Development – BinaryLabs Inc.

$3.99 – Tap, pinch, and write options to develop pre-handwriting and finger isolation skills.

Domi Domi Nature Shapes: Child Fine Motor Practice – Yellow Dot

$2.99 – Preschoolers use fine motor skills to sort/classify shapes and match colors, sizes, and shapes.

Ready to Print – Essare LLC

$9.99 – Visual motor and fine motor activities including tapping targets, connect the dot activities, and mazes for beginning printers. This app also has free downloadable companion worksheets at www.readytoprintapp.com

Gross motor

GoNoodle Website

Free! – Two to five-minute videos offering physical fitness and “brain break” activities.

The iPad and school-based apps for occupational therapy is not the end all be all for pediatric OT. NGOT is working hard to bring you clinical resources to improve your treatments as a new grad.

Handwriting

123s ABCs Preschool Learn HWOTP Kids Handwriting – TeachersParadise.com

Free! – Trace, hear, and learn to print letters using Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.

abc PocketPhonics – Apps in My Pocket Ltd

$6.99 (Lite version is free) – Hear the letter sound, and then trace it.

Cursive Practice Handwriting for Kids – Brainstop

Free! – Cursive tracing game following the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum.

Cursive Touch and Write – FizzBrain LLC

$2.99 – Teaches cursive in single letters and whole words.

iWrite Words – gdiplus

$2.99 – A basic letter/word-tracing app that provides visual and auditory feedback to stay on lines. Autocorrects to send children back to start if they are forming the letter incorrectly. Option for high contrast theme.

LetterSchool Lite: Learn to Write the AlphabetLetterSchool Enabling Learning B.V.

Free! ($10.99 to unlock ALL features) – Provides an introduction to the letter. Then opportunity to trace and then write the letter from memory.

Little Writer: A Tracing App for Kids – Innovative Mobile Apps

$0.99 – Children can trace upper and lowercase letters, shapes, and numbers with auditory and visual feedback that alerts them when they’re demonstrating correct or incorrect letter formation.

Touch and Write – Fizzbrain LLC

$2.99 – Practice writing with the option to choose several silly textures: ketchup, chocolate, shaving cream, etc.  A cursive version also available.

Trace It, Try It: Handwriting Exercises for Kids – This Reading Mama, LLC

$2.99 – Multiple opportunities to learn how to form letters, numbers, and three-letter words.

Stay tuned for more. We plan on updating and improving this article soon with school-based occupational therapy apps compatible with Android devices!

Life Skills

Choiceworks – Bee Visual LLC

$6.99 – This app helps children with daily routines, emotional regulation, and independence. Developed in conjunction with child developmental specialists.

DayCape: Daily Visual Planning – Diamonic Creations AB

Free! – A visual planning app that helps a child visualize their daily schedule. Timers available for different activities. Helps children feel organized and in control during changes in their day.

Highlights Monster Day – Highlights for Children Inc

Free! – Children get to help care for their monster and assist them through their daily routine by completing tasks such as getting dressed and brushing their teeth.

Kid in Story Book Maker: Create and Share Personalized Photo Storybooks – Enuma

$6.99 – Create customizable social stories.

Math

Counting Caterpillar – Bellamon

$1.99 – Feed the caterpillars by counting and catching aphids in the correct number sequence. 45 levels.

DB Complete Math Pack – WeWantToKnow AS

$19.99 – Uses fun, creative puzzles to assist with number recognition and build logic skills.

Geoboard – Clarity Innovations

Free! – For students in elementary school through high school to help develop and improve their understanding of geometry and fraction concepts.

Let’s Do Mental Math – Bloomsbury Publishing

$3.99 – 15 different types of exercises in three categories and 50-word problems that focus on addition and subtraction. App for each age group ie: ages 5-6, 7-8, etc.

Mathmateer – Freecloud Design Inc

$1.99 – Math challenges including patterns, telling time, and working fractions to earn money for building a rocket ship. Ages 9 to 11.

Marble Math Junior – Artgig Studio

$3.99 – Math problems located throughout a marble maze.

Moose Math – Duck Duck Moose LLC

A mathematical adventure with 5 multi-levels to teach counting, addition, subtraction, sorting and geometry.

Park Math – Duck Duck Moose LLC

Free! – Teaches early math concepts, using common core standards, for ages 2 – 6.

Sparky’s Brain Busters – NFPA

Free! – Fast-paced trivia game for grades 3-5 to review Common Core math, science, social studies, and literature.

Thinking Blocks (Addition, Multiplication, Fractions) – Math Playground

Free! – Use number blocks to solve addition, multiplication, and fraction problems.

Reading

Alphamonster – Marbotic

$2.99 – Alphabet app with great visuals and sound effects to teach young children about letters and letter sounds.

Andy Helps You Read – Jordan Price

$0.99 – Reading help for children with ADHD, dyslexia, and special needs. Twenty lessons for word recognition, letter formation, and reading practice.

Bob Books Reading Magic Sight Words – Bob Books Publications LLC

$3.99 – Helps learners arrange letters to spell 30 common sight words, practice tracing them, and then places them into sentences to finish the story.

Bla Bla Box – Marbotic

Free! – Helps children combine letters together to learn sounds, syllables, and words.

Elkonin Boxes – Ross McNamara

$0.99 – Helps beginning readers develop pneumonic awareness and foundational reading skills.

Kid’s Sound Lab: D Sound of the Woodpecker – Raddlist

$19.99 – Provides visual and auditory cues to master English consonant sounds.

One Giggly Gorilla – Wasabi Productions

$3.99 – Fun, interactive story incorporating directions for children to follow within the storytelling experience. Helps with attention and following directions.

Learn to Read and Write – BlueCompass.eu 

$2.99 – 20 Lessons for early reading skills in the areas of phonics, sight word recognition, writing, and reading comprehension.

Word Wagon – Duck Duck Moose LLC

Free! – Award-winning app for teaching letters, phonics, and spelling for children ages 2 – 6.

Science

Action Graphing – The Universe and More, Inc

Free! – A hands-on, kinesthetic way to explore concepts related to graphs of velocity. For high school students studying algebra, physics, and related topics.  

The Everything Machine – TinyBop Inc

$2.99 – Provides children the opportunity to problem solve and create machines. Promotes computer programming, logic, sequencing, and circuitry by building their creations.

Self-regulation

Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame – Sesame Street

Free! – Sesame Street characters provide breathing and problem-solving practice for children ages 2-5.

Calm Counter Social Story and Anger Management Tool – Touch Autism

$2.99 – Visual and audio tool to help children calm down when they are angry or anxious.

Heat Pad – Padadaz 

Free! – A doodle app to help promote stress relief and decrease overstimulation.

Zones of Regulation – Selosoft, Inc

$12.99 – Zones of Regulations is a framework geared to help students monitor their emotions, behaviors, and alertness and implement problem-solving strategies to help them with regulation.

Sensory Processing

Brain Works – Sensational Brain LLC

$8.99 – This app, developed by an OT, may best be used as a resource, offering 130 sensory activities ie: army crawl, ball toss, etc.

Fluidity HD – nebulus design

Free! – A calming app offering interactive visual stimulation similar to that of a lava lamp.

Sensory Processing Therapy – Sensory Treat Ltd

Free! – Designed to help families determine ways to help their child with sensory processing issues that may occur throughout the day.

Visual Perception

Combinations – Valcour Games

Free! – Visual processing game where children find 3 cards that make a combination of attributes (color, shape, fill, count). Similar to the Set card game.

Doodle Find Numbers and Letters – Sigma Sky LLC

$1.99 – Figure-ground challenge game. A prompt appears at the top of the screen and kids have to find a letter/number in an ever-growing array of other objects.

Hidden Pictures – Highlights for Children, Inc.

Free! (with in-app purchases) – 50 hidden picture activities

Little Finder – Innovative Mobile Apps

Free! – A figure-ground challenge, offering an option for 2 players. ABC version also available.

Little Things Forever – Klicktock

$2.99 – A more complex figure-ground game for older children.

My Little Suitcase: The Memory Board Game – Innovative Mobile Apps

Free! – Basic visual memory game that allows for up to 4 players.

Spatial Line Puzzles – Visual Learning for Life

Free! – Build spatial and visual memory skills by solving dot and box puzzles. Designed by an OT.

In addition to choosing an app for a specific treatment area, consider structuring the use of the app to address impulse control, following directions, turn taking, and transitioning skills. If a child has the tendency to “self-absorb” into the device, turn the volume off on the device and provide demonstration and verbal directions to ensure therapist-child interaction. Practice taking turns, sharing, and social play when using the apps. Use clinical judgment on structuring app use in sessions.

For example, school-based apps for occupational therapy may be best used following a non-preferred task to help motivate some children. For others, a child may have difficulty transitioning away from the app and may need time to participate in other activities before transitioning to class. Most apps work by “tapping” the screen, which will help promote finger isolation and extension.

Consider purchasing a stylus to help develop tripod grasp in patients.

Use of an iPad in treatment sessions can be a very motivating and effective tool to help children build skills. Additionally, recommending apps to parents may help facilitate continued skill building while at home. Select a few apps to try out in your next session.

We would like to hear how you creatively incorporate the iPad and the use of these school-based apps for occupational therapy into your therapeutic interventions!

About Kyla Salisbury

Kyla Salisbury
Outpatient and Home Health OT working with a variety of diagnoses and patient populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric. UMary OT Grad, 2016; MSU Architecture Grad, 2011.

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2 comments

  1. Liz Walkden

    Kyla, thanks for this! So great to have all these resources in one place. I will definitely be using some of these with my students 🙂

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