When I talk with parents after therapy, I focus on goal areas, skill building, and home activity suggestions. While that is a good thing, parents don’t hear much about the specific activities that were done in therapy. My young clients often lack the memory, language capability or sequencing skills sufficient to tell their parents what they did and how they felt during therapy. The Kid’s Journal app is a great way to wrap up sessions with young clients and a useful tool for communicating specifics about the session with parents and caregivers.
My favorite features:
Kids record feelings. Only 5 different expressions are provided but I find this is OK for kids who are under 6 years of age. I use this as a reflective tool to discuss how angry the child may have been when she struggled with an activity but how happy she was when she accomplished it. It’s important for kids to realize that frustration and anger may be experienced when they are learning a new skill but they must still push through to find the joy of success.
One picture or image can be imported onto the page. We take the picture during the session or find a picture from my photo library that fits the day. The visual image is helpful and appealing, especially when kids can’t read or write.
There is a very small space (6 lines) for recording “What did I do today?” I see many kids who are hesitant to write and intimidated by large spaces. These small, simple lines actually pull kids in to type a little. If they dictate and I type, they need to think about the session and be clear and concise.
The entry can be exported to ibooks and then e-mailed directly to parents. This has been a nice feature that encourages kids to talk with parents about their session when they get home.
The journals are saved and a calendar button allows you to go back and review previous entries.
This app is so simple and easy to use!
My not-so-favorite feature: There are only 3 environments from which to choose – “home”, “school”, and “away”. I wish there was another option so OT, PT or speech-language sessions could be differentiated from school or home. A palm tree is the icon that represents the “away” button. (I don’t think many kids think of OT as a vacation!).
In conclusion, as an OT who looks for simplicity in apps and opportunities to help kids reflect, the Kid’s Journal app works great!
by Jill Perry, MHA, MS, OTR/L