Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ipad Apps: What I use everyday

iPads are such and amazing tool for our students, and I just love that mine love social skills apps as much as they do.



I use my iPad daily for exciting things like data tracking and keeping track of my calendar, but I also like to pull it out every once in a while to use with my students.  I don't like to use it every session for most of my kids, but for my non-verbal kiddos, technology like these are a lifesaver.


This is my go-to social skills app.  It is a keeper for those kids with goals about identifying feelings/facial expressions.  There are lots of customizations, but you basically open it up to a screen of 4 choices, and a voice that says a feeling.  The child pushes on a face and gets a buzzer or positively reinforced voice.  (Fair warning, some kids think the buzzer sound is hilarious, so I sometimes have to disable that).  It is a super simple, easy to use tool, that you can use for almost every student you have (literally!)

I have a student who asks for this for her reward time, no joke.  Kids love this app because of the videos, and because they get funny dancing characters when they get questions right.  It's kid friendly, and when I use it in groups, I also use it to practice turn taking.  Downside:  $$ and you have to purchase additional videos when you use up the samples.  

3.  Sleep Bug Pro. ($1.99)
I tell all parents who are having kiddos with trouble getting to sleep about Sleep Bug Pro.  I use it for all sorts of situations: for mindfulness exercises, with CBT exercises, and sometimes when I'm just trying to calm a kid down from a crisis.  Kiddos LOVE that they can see the pictures and choose their own calming music.  Kids love using it again and again and saying "I like that one!" to different sounds.

The mindfulness bell is as much for me as it is for my kiddos.  Although this is a great way to teach about "a still quiet place" and teaching calm bodies, I turn to it when I have a group where kids are getting a little too silly and we are getting off track, or we've done a really fun, energizing activity, and I need them to calm down a bit before returning them to class.  Basically you press a bell sound and have the kids listen to the bell until they can't hear it any longer.  Glorious.

5.  I-reward ($2.99 but there is a free version if you are using it for one individual)
Don't get me wrong, sometimes there is nothing more effective than a laminated behavior chart (or my personal favorite, the wipe off board, but for kids that love technology, this is again, a great digital resource for them.  You can pick how many stars they must earn, and individualize rewards.  Again, simple and effective.

6.  Pictello ($19.99)
I love making social stories, and I find myself doing it all.the.time.  Pictello is a fun, interactive way to make them with a child (if you choose), and my kids LOVE hearing their voices when they record them.

7.  Behavior Snap ($29.99)
This is a great iPad app that allows you to take data on the frequency, duration, and function of behaviors.  Instead of the old paper on/off task analysis, this one calculates for you automatically!  It's super helpful and I use it frequently.  The one thing I will say that drives my OCD brain nuts is that it stops timing during the time that you are entering in the data, so observations often take a bit longer that the actual time.  (ex:  for 20 minutes of data, it may take you 25 minutes).   I asked the folks at behavior snap to make sure I was doing it right, and they said it gets easier as you get more fluent at using the app.

8.  Timer Touch2 ($1.99)
There are a ton of visual timer apps.  All of them are great at providing visuals for breaks or times for rewards, etc.

9.  Wunderlist (free)
When I tell you I have tried all of the to-do list apps, I am not kidding.  I have probably used over 10. I keep coming back to wunderlist because it allows me to make multiple lists, sub-lists within those, add due dates, prioritize tasks, and when I accidentally mark something "done", it doesn't disappear forever.  Oh, and my list also syncs from my phone to my iPad which I love.

10.  Guided Access (already on your iPad/iphone!)
Okay this isn't an actual app, but using guided access on my iPad is one of the top reasons I use it so much.  If you don't know, when you push your home button 3x after turning on guided access, you can "lock" yourself (or a student) into a particular app.  This is so useful for both kiddo apps, and also rewards.  I can't tell you how many times I have looked away for 2 seconds to find one of my students trying to break into angry birds, or take a selfie.  To turn on guided access on your iPad, go to Settings >General>Accessibility>Guided Access.

What are your go-to's?

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