Monday, January 28, 2013

Adapting Apps for Therapy

I like incorporating my iPad for therapy…only I don’t always use it the way it’s intended. I’m always finding apps and then adapting and changing them to fit my needs and students.

 Here are some ways I'm currently adapting my apps for therapy:

1.       Creating Visuals using Class DoJo
This app is normally a classroom management app and can be used for rewarding students (see my post Classroom Management for Older Students).

Students are assigned an avatar and are given points based on behaviors. However, I found out that you can upload your own pictures instead of using the avatars. Because of this feature, there are numerous ways you can use this app!

During my social groups, I have a few students working on replying with an “on-topic” remark. I was using On-Topic/Off-Topic visuals which you can download HERE.

If the student received more green cards than red cards by the end of the session, he/she could have a reward.

However, it was getting tiresome keep track of these cards and managing them.  So…I now use on-topic and off-topic visuals on the iPad. I uploaded pictures of my on-topic and off-topics cards onto Class DoJo. Instead of keeping track of cards, I have the iPad sitting open on my table and simply press the picture to award a point. If the green on-topic button has more points at the end of the session, the student receives the reward. No more keeping track of cards!
Here is what the students see:

Another idea is uploading choices of rewards. I did a Winter Bulletin Board with my elementary students. However, for my middle school/high school students, I used Class DoJo.  Simply upload pictures of the reward onto Class DoJo and award points based on great behavior. Students can then use those points to vote on a treat. Cupcakes won. :-) Yum! 

2. Using Quizlet for therapy.
Do you have a Quizlet account yet? I would recommend getting one! Simply sign up (it's free) at and start reaping the benefits. Quizlet is an online learning tool used to create flashcards. When you create a set of flashcards, you can determine if it's set to "public" or "private." Most people set theirs to "public"-which is great for us.

After you sign up, download a free flashcard app. (I use Flashcards+). After you open Flashcards+, you can input decks of flashcards from Quizlet.

For example, I just went to an in-service on the benefits of using sight words in sentences or phrases (you can download the list HERE). Since students don't use sight words in isolation when reading, giving them context is beneficial. I wanted to start practicing these phrases with my kiddos but didn't want to keep track of flashcards. So...I simply created a list on Quizlet titled "Sight Phrases" and downloaded them into my Flashcards+ app.

Now, I can just use my iPad to flip through these phrases! An example flashcard is below. And...see that little checkmark at the bottom? You can keep track of correct answers using this button.

The best thing about Quizlet is that you can benefit from the work of other educators (AKA....less work for us!) When I searched for "Sight Words" in Quizlet, here is the long list of flashcards others had already created. No need for me to re-type them!
If you search for "Sight Phrases" you will come across the 81 flashcards I just created.
3. Tapikeo.
This app lets you create picture books with your students. The possibilities are endless with this app but I've enjoyed using it during social group.
First, I search for pictures of people displaying emotion on the web. When I find one I like, I simply hold my finger down and "Save Photo." The photo will be saved in your camera roll.
Then, I can easily upload them onto Tapikeo to make a grid.
The best thing about Tapikeo is that you can record a voice over the picture. In social group, my students record their own voices over the pictures.
They must state what they think the person is saying AND say it like the picture would. This means that for the girl with her hands on her hand, she is not calmly saying "My meeting is in less than an hour and I'm not ready." It's a great way to incorporate prosody and inotation during therapy.
I'm always adjusting my materials to reach students. Hopefully, you came across some new ones you can incorporate in therapy.
 I'd love to hear about you! What "adaptations" do you use with your iPad?


  1. I have Tapikeo. I LOVE the idea of having the kids record what they think the person in the picture is saying! Great idea!

  2. Wow I hadn't heard of Tapikeo! Sounds awesome! Thanks for the recommendations! :)

  3. Great ideas for how to use these!! I'm so gonna steal these! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Thanks for the ideas. It is always nice to get more ideas on how to use the IPAD in functional ways aside from being a reinforcer at the end of therapy. Thanks!

  5. Very creative ideas! I've seen these apps, but will now have to take a second look. Thanks!

  6. i've used quizlet before but not like this, thank you for the interesting and creative ideas

  7. Thanks for informing me of Class Dojo! It looks like a great visual tool for my social skills groups. Love it!

  8. Great post! I am going to use your suggestions re Tapikeo and Class Dojo. I can't figure out how to upload pictures onto Class Dojo, though. Any simple suggestions? Thanks again


Nicole Allison