Sunday, January 15, 2012

Apps for Avoiders - Create Schedules!

Established routines are comforting and supportive of Sensory Avoiders.  It helps them know what is going on and what is up next.  Consistency is key.  Having such low thresholds means they are met frequently and this is uncomfortable and frightening to them.  Overall, Avoiders want to keep these events from occurring.  You may see withdrawal or emotional outbursts to help get them out of a threatening situation.  One strategy they use is to create strict rituals to prevent these events from happening.  Although they might appear as controlling and stubborn, they are seeking ways to limit sensory input to those that are familiar and easy to interpret.  Change brings the unexpected...things that may be too loud, too itchy, too visually confusing.  Help them by creating routines and introducing small changes so they can can adapt.

Video Scheduler ($12.99) is an app that lets you use photos or video to create schedules.  You can set up multiple users, handy for a school based occupational therapist working with a caseload of youngsters.  This allows you to keep multiple routines under a specific user's name.  Label each step or event with text.  Add a photo (take one using the camera or choose one from your camera roll).  Finally add an audio comment explaining what to cool!  If you have the iPad2 or camera enabled iPod touch, you can take video for each step instead of the photo and audio comment.  These videos can target exactly what you want the child to model.  When you choose a schedule, you see the linear list view of the steps.  When touching the step, the photo/video associated with it fills the screen and you hear the audio prompt or the video playing.  Even though you can do great things without the camera in older devices, this app takes full advantage of the camera and video capabilities of the iPad 2.  Video modeling is considered an evidence-based practice and provides an effective tool for instruction, intervention and behavioral supports.  I can't wait to upgrade my first generation iPad!

iPrompt ($49.99) is a prompting app that provides picture schedules, visual countdown clocks and choice prompts.  Schedules can have many pictures, or just two (a schedule of the day or first - then schedule, for example).  It presents as a linear step view when holding the device vertically.  Turn it horizontally and you swipe through each step or event.  You can use photos and clip art provided by the app or take photos on the fly if you have a camera on your device.  Since I am camera-less, I import photos through my camera adapter or search for photos from the Internet without ever leaving the app.  Your schedules are saved in a general area (not assigned to individual users).  The app recently added videos that you can purchase.  These are pre-made and cover a range of topics from making conversation to manners.  They even have a video on the different functions of pencil, pens and markers.  I think I will be showing the "playing tag" video to a student of mine who runs and chases in PE class but does not understand the tagging  part.  This app will make you get rid of those old handmade schedule boards and re-purpose your velcro dots...they make great fidget tools when placed under a desk, by the way.

Two other options are First Then Video Schedule ($9.99) and Picture Scheduler ($2.99).  Which app suits your needs?

No comments: