Occupational Therapynot only focuses on restoring function but also to helps our clients live their lives to the fullest. Why not make the most use out of the technology that is offered and incorporate it in our treatments sessions as well?
The iPad is not only a useful tool for the social world but it can also be used as a therapeutic tool as well. The iPad can be used to address a variety of problems that may be a result of a traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury or developmental disorders in children, to name a few. As the world of technology moves continues to move forward, it is important for the OT practitioner to stay current with treatment strategies so that we can serve our clients in the best way possible!
Who benefits from the use of iPad's in Occupational Therapy? Everyone! From the practitioner to the client, from the pediatric population to the geriatric population, as well as the family and caregivers. We should never assume that someone doesn't know how to use to the iPad or is not interested in trying to use an I pad based on their age, education level, illness or injury, or their level of motivation. Occupational Therapy serves a wide variety of populations and as we continue to remain client-centered, it is likely that we will have client's who use the I pad as some sort of tool whether it be for social interaction, education, or as a part of their job.
What diagnoses would be appropriate to use the iPad with? As mentioned earlier, anyone who has suffered from a neurological insult such as a traumatic brain injury, stroke, spinal cord injury or children with developmental delays, or persons with mental health or psychological issues. Some of the specific issues that could be addressed using the iPad:
Finger Isolation Figure-ground discrimination Sequencing Right/Left discrimination Following Directions Crossing Midline Taking turns Bilateral upper extremity use Visual motor delays Visual Perceptual skills Social interaction Motor Planning Memory recall Cause and Effect
Be creative! Some apps found on the iPad are games that can be used to address these issues as well and adds an element of fun and competition for the client.
My client cannot afford an iPad, but is interested in a tablet of some sort to use at home, are there alternatives? Absolutely. There are a range of tablets that offer some of the same benefits as the I pad but are budget friendly as well. Check out these tablets and see which one may be appropriate for your client:
Check out other helpful links in the Quick Links section under the Home tab.
I find the iPad unfamiliar and find it hard to use, but my client is interested in incorporating the iPad into their treatment session. What should I do? Ask your client to bring their iPad to to their next session and learn together! You may bring more to the table than you think. If you are able to borrow an iPad, familiarize yourself with how to operate the iPad and all of it's features. You may find that you are more interested in it if you're able to see all the ways the iPad can be used. Don't be afraid to tell your client that you don't know how to use an iPad. It's a learning process for both the client and the OT practitioner.
How do I convince my client that the iPad is a useful treatment tool? You may find that the iPad will not be beneficial to all of your clients. If your client is skeptical at first, talk about the benefits when used with other clients or how you have found the iPad to be beneficial to you. Client education is important and you should never introduce something to them without explaining why first. For the adult population, they may find the iPad to be too technologically advanced or it may be that they are uncomfortable using it. It's certainly okay if they just absolutely don't like the iPad. We can't and should never force our clients to do anything they don't want to. Start by slowly incorporating the iPad into various treatments scenarios and even offer to let the client pick an app that they might find interesting. Allowing the client to be in control of their treatment is key and can increase the motivation level during treatment.