Nicole’s Nook: GoWorksheet to Enhance Learning

GoWorksheet-Main[1]It’s back to school time and I want to introduce a new productivity app that can benefit many students. Some children with fine motor challenges have trouble with conventional pencil and paper worksheets.  These children can use GoWorksheet to do their schoolwork on an iPad.  This app allows them to focus on the content presented and therefore complete their assignments with less difficulty.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the accessibility features included in the app:

  • Adding word banks – A keyboard pops up when selected and a student can pick from the teacher-created options.  This allows a student to focus on the vocabulary presented.
  • Further, the program allows tapping to fill multiple choice answers rather than filling in bubbles with pencil.  Therefore, this is a major benefit for children who struggle with fine motor challenges.
  • Teachers have the ability to create drag and drop answers which narrows the range of choices and allows students to focus better on the material presented.
  • The program provides audio output that includes more detailed instructions and additional prompting.  This feature is a benefit to students who may do better with audio learning or those who may need extra prompting to stay on task.
  • OCR (optical character recognition) allows text to be read aloud. Parents or teachers can add the text or text can be identified with the built-in OCR feature.  This is another feature that can benefit audio learners allowing them to both see and hear the task at hand allowing them to increase understanding of the material.
  • Some support tips and tricks:
    • This app will likely be most useful to students working in a small group setting or those that have a 1-1 paraprofessional working with them, most likely because of the time and effort it will take to create the worksheets.
    • Once the worksheet is completed, it can be shared via email, AirDrop, Google Drive, Dropbox or other cloud based storage sites.  The worksheet can also be printed or saved to your Camera Roll.

GoWorksheet is available in the iTunes store.  Two versions are available and both are necessary to fully implement this app.  Teachers or parents can use GoWorksheet Maker, which costs $19.99, to create customized worksheets. Students can use the free app, GoWorksheet, to complete the customized worksheet.

For more iPad information, check out my website at http://www.stlouischildrens.org/our-services/cerebral-palsy-center/ipad-resources

– Nicole Weckherlin, OTR/L, St. Louis Children’s Hospital Occupational Therapist

YOU’RE INVITED: Club NF Heads to FuNFest!

FuNFest Banner_2016The Washington University NF Center, in collaboration with the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation, is excited to announce our September 2016 Club NF event – Club NF Goes to FuNFest!

Please join us on Saturday, September 10th, at the Walk Family’s 6th annual FuNFest, which will also include Club NF. FuNFest is an annual fundraiser sponsored by the Walk family at Gatch Lake — near Vandalia, Illinois. FuNFest includes games, bounce houses, face painting, a silent auction and a bake sale, along with the infamous Cow Patty Bingo! Food and drinks are available for purchase.

All proceeds from the event are donated to St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation/Washington University NF Center. To help support this exciting event, Club NF will travel to FuNFest.

For more information about the event, check out the 2016 FuNFest Flyer or contact Kirsten Brouillet at kbrouillet@wustl.edu.

If your family would like to ride a free charter bus from the Washington University Danforth Campus (leaving campus at 9:30 a.m. and returning to campus at about 5:30 p.m.), please contact Kirsten Brouillet no later than September 8, 2016.

Club NF is the Washington University NF Center’s free, play-based therapy program for school-aged children (K – 8th grade) with NF1 and their families. St. Louis Children’s Hospital therapists work directly with the children in small groups to accomplish a variety of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy goals in a real life, social setting. By strengthening underdeveloped skills alongside siblings and peers, these children are set up for future success in the home, classroom and community. The events are held six Saturday mornings a year at various locations and businesses in the St. Louis area, offering a variety of activities throughout the calendar year to meet the needs of all families affected by NF1. This event is made possible by generous funding from the St. Louis Children’s Hospital Foundation,

 

Music-Motor Therapy Program Improving the Lives of Toddlers with NF1

Beat-NF

Working on motor skills during a Spring Beat NF class with St. Louis Children’s Hospital Physical Therapist, Courtney Dunn, PT, DPT.

The Washington University NF Center and Jazz St. Louis recently wrapped up another successful Beat NF session. This unique music-motor therapy program utilizes jazz music and motor therapy to help the NF1 preschool population overcome developmental delays commonly seen in this genetic condition. Earlier this summer, twelve toddlers with NF1 attended weekly classes in St. Louis’ Grand Center at The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz. To increase jazz music knowledge and awareness, local jazz musicians played live music throughout each 75-minute class while the children engaged in a variety of gross and fine motor movement activities.

After 5 weeks of attending class and working on motor skills at home through weekly homework assignments, many parents reported a greater appreciation for jazz music and improvements in their child’s jumping and balancing skills. Rae Gilliam, mother to Caroline (a Beat NF program participant), shared with us her journey from receiving Caroline’s diagnosis to attending Beat NF, where she and Caroline found comfort in a supportive environment geared toward growth.

Caroline

Rae Gilliam with daughter Caroline at Beat NF.

“I will never forget the comfort I received during our first visit to the NF Clinic when Dr. Gutmann told me that the Washington University NF Center would adopt our family as we learned of our daughter’s diagnosis. That statement was projected by every staff member’s approach during the rest of our visit. I was nervous, but so grateful to be invited to the Beat NF jazz music-motor therapy program. The whole process of filling out extensive medical history, working through the personal evaluation, and receiving the initial diagnosis can be overwhelming. Not only did our interaction with the Beat NF staff build morale and help comfort our fears of the unknown, there was overwhelming support from fellow families facing similar genetic delays. As a parent, you want the best for your child. At Beat NF, I find solace in seeing that others do, too.

During a typical Beat NF class, our daughter gets the full gamete of developmental support. Jazz music education, physical therapy, social skill development and speech therapy all woven together during the 75 minute class. Songs are built upon and added weekly, so children can master the lyrics and motor movements. While we enjoy jazz, our affection for the music therapy has incited a cross-sectional appreciation for the benefits of music-based physical therapy. We wish we could attend sessions year round!”

Recognizing the significant impact of this program on the NF community, KMOV Journalist, Kelly Davis, visited our first class and highlighted the Beat NF program on her morning news segment on channel 4.

Interested in joining us for the fall Beat NF session? Reserve your child’s spot today by emailing the program coordinator, Kirsten Brouillet.