It’s no secret that we’re a society that loves our gadgets. From our tablets we use to explore Pinterest before bed, to our Fitbit bracelets that we wear solely so we can compete with our friends over who is more “active” to our smartphones that are glued to our eyes a vast majority of the day; technology is everywhere. And, we are reliant on it. However, old school OTs don’t seem to realize that the best way to help kids get their fine motorskills working sharply is through these same tools.
Susan Schenk has been in the occupational therapy industry for decades yet still has a crisp, fresh approach in her practices. With about 20 years of experience working in a school system and as a mother of three (awesome kids), Schenk has seen how children are able to learn and make progress most effectively. For Schenk, she’s realized that technology is the most valuable resource kids have these days.
Problem: Doesn’t it seem like some kids need to be surgically removed from their handheld devices? How on earth can kids evolve and learn if they’re just dilly-dallying on their iPads instead of doing their homework?
Solution: Take the very tool that has them going off task and turn it into an educational resource. Apps are available these days that can help children make the gains in their development at rapid speeds.
Orginally, Schenk began a workshop about integrating the use of iPads at school and it evolved from there. These days, Schenk has found her niche as an educator showing the importance of OTs using iPads, how skill development can be done with this tool. how to find apps specifically based on individual needs, how to customize settings, and more. She’s offered occupational therapists, educators, and parents online strategy sessions that offer certifications upon course completion that have been done in the US, Canada, and Australia. “We haven’t reached the UK yet….but hopefully soon,” says Schenk.
Technology is able to communicate with children in ways that traditional learning or occupational therapy visits were not giving in the past. A common misconception is that kids aren’t engaging actively if they’re using a tablet. But, to the contrary. it actually allows children who learn in different ways spark all their senses while being able to effectively train independently.