Using the iPad for handwriting practice.

(Sorry if this is all a bit disorganised. I’m just a bit excited about my new toys!)

My personal project at the school this term is to implement the iPads sitting in storage. I’m mainly using Dexteria (£3.99), and app made with OTs in mind to work on fine motor control. Dexteria has three activities: Tap It, Pinch It and Write It. All of the activities are great, with Pinch It being the favourite amongst my students, but I’d like to highlight Write It and one of the issues brought up by it while trialling it at school. That issue was the need for the kids to practice their letter formation in a similar way to actual writing, not just tracing them with their finger.

So I suggested the school get a stylus to pair up with each iPad. This again raised a problem – most styli are designed with “normal” adults in mind, meaning adults with the ability to hold and use itty bitty skinny short pens. What we needed were thicker, longer styli that felt as much like the pencils/pens the kids use as possible. After extensive reading of online reviews, I discovered an Etsy shop that sold rather clever handmade styli. They are also seemingly more durable than the average iPad stylus, according to countless Amazon reviews (avoid rubber/sponge-tipped styli).

Shapedad has several stylus designs, but all have the unique conductive fabric “sock”. I received three of them today: the Stylus Sock Pro, the Stylus Sock GOLD and the Eco Stylus. I can’t quite decide which I like better! They look and feel great, and they work on both the iPad I’m borrowing from the school over the holiday and my new Android phone.

Stylus Sock Pro, Eco Stylus and Stylus Sock GOLD

Stylus Sock Pro, Eco Stylus and Stylus Sock GOLD

Stylus Sock Pro, Eco Stylus and Stylus Sock GOLD with the iPad

Stylus Sock Pro, Eco Stylus and Stylus Sock GOLD with the iPad

Stylus Sock Pro with Doodle Buddy (free)

Stylus Sock Pro with Doodle Buddy (free)

Stylus Sock Pro with Doodle Buddy (free)

Stylus Sock Pro with Doodle Buddy (free)

Eco Stylus with Dexteria's Write It

Eco Stylus with Dexteria's Write It

Flan using the Stylus Sock GOLD with Dexteria's Write It

Flan using the Stylus Sock GOLD with Dexteria's Write It

Eco Stylus with pencil grip

Eco Stylus with pencil grip

While being the most expensive of the standard styli (£13.01), I love how the Eco Stylus is the right size for a pencil grip! It’s sock also doesn’t come off, which is great for working with more fidgety children.

And one last thing – shapedad also makes the Steady Stylus (T-shaped) and the Mouthstick Stylus for those who have alternative needs.

My resource database: a work in progress.

Months ago, Flan introduced me to a site called Drupal Gardens. It’s basically a webhosting site for people with more skills than I have in site management, but we still created a free site for me to play around with. I’ve called it OTresources, and it will be a database of all the articles I’ve read with short summaries. Of course, it’s lacking all the articles I’ve read before now, besides one that I put in when we first created the site.

Nevertheless, if you’re interested, check it out. There’s nothing there really, at the moment, and I still need to figure out how everything works.

A much needed break from placement.

Like you probably already know, I am in my final year of studies and on the placement for the whole term. I am working at a school in London from 8am to 5pm everyday, with an hour-long commute each way to/from my family’s home. (Yes, I’m living with my parents, but only because we cannot afford accommodation for me alone.) I wake up at quarter to six in the morning and get picked up from the station at quarter past six in the evening. I work long, hard hours. Don’t get me wrong – I love my placement and it feels like a dream come true.

But, boy, do I need this break.

Now usually, in your third year at Oxford Brookes, you only get one week of study leave in your placement. I have no choice but to have two. Working at a school means regular holidays, and the school celebrated Harvest Festival and broke up for two weeks on Friday. So this week and next week are dedicated to waking up after six and actually having time to read. I was starting to panic on placement because I just didn’t have the time or energy to work on my various written assignments and do much-needed background reading. Sure, I did some reading on the train sometimes, but only what my eyelids and brain would allow for whilst exhausted.

So I’m spending this week and next reading and writing. I want to finish Sensory Integration and the Child by A. Jean Ayres (UK/US). (My library only had the original edition – am I missing out on anything important?) I love this book. I know it’s a bit outdated now, but I’ve only read the first four chapters so far, and it just makes so much sense. Reading about the evolution of the senses and the development of the sensory system in children, I feel like I understand people so much better, especially the children I work with. I understand myself so much better too. If everyone is somewhere on a sensory integration spectrum, I think I’m personally a bit too aware of smells and sounds, and I have awful balance and coordination! (So bad, in fact, that I thoroughly embarrassed myself whilst trying to explain the different activities within the Movement Assessment Battery for Children – 2nd Edition (Movement ABC-2).

Now, so you can all know what exactly I need to do by next weekend…

  1. Read Sensory Integration and the Child
  2. Write rough draft of Case Study (2000 words, mostly on the evidence base behind a certain assessment/intervention used)
  3. Write rough draft of Context of Practice Report (2000 words, still trying to figure out exactly how to write this…)
  4. Research the ALERT program
  5. Research SI strategies
  6. Develop almighty evidence base for everything related to paediatrics and SI (yes, exaggerating a tad, but still, this is what it feels like)
Help is welcome!!!!!!!