Should an OT prescribe tablets?

Hi! I'm Amberlynn, the creator of an app called ‘SnapType’, developed for children and here is my story!

The reason I developed SnapType

Steven* is a 5th grader that I met during my occupational therapy fieldwork this spring. He is diagnosed with dysgraphia however his mind is sharp, but his handwriting is so messy that he can't even read his own writing. His OT tried countless ways to help him improve his penmanship but nothing seemed to work. The caring OT went so far as to scan his worksheets into a computer but that consumed too much time during class was quite a hassle. Even worse, Steven was very frustrated and getting left behind in class because he couldn't complete the worksheets with the rest of his peers. 

I thought that there had to be a better way to help Steven keep up with the other kids in his class. Then I had an idea, what if Steven could take a picture of his worksheet using an iPad and then type his answers directly on the screen? I searched all over the app store, but there was nothing that did what I wanted. Well, there were a few apps but they were designed for business people and were far too complex for a child to use. 

So I sketched out my idea on a napkin and shared it with Steven's OT. She loved the idea. So I teamed up with my fiance to put together a detailed mockup of the app and worked with a developer to build it. A few weeks and a few dollars later, I had a working app!

Steven's OT and teacher are thrilled. However, the real joy comes from seeing Steven use the app. It's effortless for him to take a picture of a worksheet and use the iPad keyboard to type in the answers. He's no longer left behind in class and is now more confident than ever! While he continues to work on his penmanship, he's now able to keep up with his peers. 

*Name changed for privacy. 

The App

SnapType is an iPad app that anyone can use. It's available on the app store for free

We are very excited and hoping to help as many kids as we can by reaching out to OTs, teachers and parents.

SnapType helps students keep up with their peers in class even when their penmanship holds them back. Students can easily complete school worksheets with the help of an iPad or iPhone.

With SnapType, students can take a picture of their worksheets, or import worksheets from anywhere on their device. They can then use their iOS device keyboard to add text to these documents and print, email, or share their creations. It is the perfect solution for kids, and even adults, who struggle with their handwriting.

Testimonials

"Dear Amberlynn, Thank you so much for creating this app. You have changed the way my 12 year old son with dyspraxia functions in school. He is more independent and I cannot thank you enough. Please continue to help kids like my son. You are changing lives. Thank you."

"I just wanted to personally thank you for creating it, as this is an app that I use nearly every day with my son to do his homework. You have created an app with a simple interface, but with an incredibly powerful impact. Thank you."

"We trialled SnapType with an 8-year old who is receiving school-based occupational therapy due to visual motor and visual perceptual issues. The biggest complaint from teachers about handwriting for this student was related to illegible answers on worksheets. The student quickly learned to take images of the worksheets with her iPad, upload them to the device and type in her answers. In addition to making her writing legible and eliminating issues with visual perceptual skills, the child's interest in the task was greatly improved, as was her pride in her work."

--About The Author--

Amberlynn Gifford is a 2nd year OT student at Springfield College in Massachusetts. LinkedIn Profile.

When she's not studying, which is rare, you can find her coaching gymnastics and working on all sorts of creative projects. She will graduate with her masters degree in 2016 and looks forward to working in paediatrics. 

 

Questions

What mobile technology do you use during your working day?

Do you think you could utilise Amberlynn's app?

 

 

This is part of our OT Series

 

 

 

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