Within the therapy room, it can be a challenge to engage in functional activities. Most clients engage in some sort of cooking, whether the weekend BBQ or daily baking, and nearly everybody likes talking about food. Two apps that bring the kitchen into the clinic are More Grillin' and Cookie Doodle. With the older set, male clients usually prefer the former and the women go for the latter, but it's useful to have a variety of food apps to match your clients' interests. At 99 cents apiece, it won't break the bank to stock up on these universal iOS apps.
More Grillin' is one in a series of apps (More Cakes, Breakfast, Ice Cream, Popcorn, Donuts, Cookies, etc) by Maverick Software. The user puts photo-realistic proteins on the grill, flips them, and then creates a plate with toppings, sides, and sauces. You can create gourmet burgers, grilled veggies, or even toasted marshmallows. Each step in the process, from selection to cooking to eating, provides an opportunity for language. The items are all labeled, giving a chance to practice reading and supporting word finding for the person with aphasia. Practice following or giving directions, describing, planning, or reasoning with this fun app suitable for all ages. My clients have enjoyed telling me what to put on the plate while others use the app to work on executive functioning; for example, planning a meal to meet specified dietary restrictions and following through on the plan.
Cookie Doodle by Shoe the Goose has a quick-play option to select instant cookie dough to roll out, cut, and decorate; for more involved direction following, the recipes make this app worthwhile. Each of the 24 recipes guides users through adding each ingredient to a bowl, with the extra steps of cracking the eggs, sifting the flour, cutting the butter, and chopping the nuts. The dough is then stirred together with a finger and rolled out before being cut and virtually baked. Decorating the cookies offers more opportunities to discuss colors, shapes, directions, preferences, memories, holidays, and plans. Finished cookies can be eaten (no calories!), saved, or made into a jigsaw puzzle for a further cognitive challenge reassembling the finished cookie. The company also makes apps to create and decorate cakes, gingerbread, shoes, candy, and more.
The best thing about these apps is that they work for all ages and a wide variety of goals: expressive, receptive, and cognitive. Once the activity is over, clients can recall and retell what they made, and there's enough variety built-in to never make the same plate twice.
More Grillin' and Cookie Doodle are available on the App Store.