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Speaking of Apps

Using Screenshots in Therapy

Published April 30, 2013 11:15 AM by Megan Sutton
Taking a screenshot is easy using an iPad or iPhone - just press the home button and the power button at the same time. You'll hear a camera shutter sound and see a white flash, and the image on the screen will appear as a picture in your Photos app. This can be done any time you wish to capture the scene on the screen. Another Advance blog post describes the process in more detail.

To make notes on screenshots or use them in other ways, you will need an annotation or whiteboard app. My favorites are Bamboo Paper, Notability, Skitch, and Doodle Buddy, all of which allow you to import pictures and write or draw on top of them.  They also serve as virtual whiteboards in that you can write or draw on a blank screen. All of these are free or low-cost on iOS, and both Skitch and Bamboo Paper are also available for Android. Here are some handy things you can do with these apps to use screenshots in therapy:

Naming: First take a screenshot of the scene you want, crop the target area in the Photos app, then open it in an annotating app to add labels. Clients can practice naming body parts, things in a room, or anything that is displayed on the screen. You can even take a screenshot of a grid-based AAC display, remove the labels, and then work on naming.




Learning an App: Most apps are designed to be intuitive, but for the brain injured, elderly, or memory-impaired, using an app independently may require extra instruction. Take screenshots of each step, put them in a document with instructions, and print it out for a more traditional user manual the client can reference.


Sharing: Sometimes clients with aphasia have wonderful supported conversations using a whiteboard to write words and draw. When the conversation is over, the information is often lost. Using a whiteboard app, these conversations can now be shared with family or saved by the clinician. While some apps have export options built-in, any work in any app can be saved or emailed by taking a quick screenshot.


Monitoring Progress: The results of some apps flash up quickly and disappear, while others don't have score exporting capabilities. Take screenshots of scores to help with writing progress notes, or ask your client to email you screenshots of their work from home.


Self-Awareness: Use a screenshot of a finished exercise to review the results with the client, building self-awareness and executive functioning skills.  For example, using a screenshot of a finished cancellation task from Visual Attention TherAppy, you can review the missed targets, bringing further awareness to the neglect or repeating the exercise.




Home Program: Take a screenshot of your client's home screen and print it. Mark which apps should be used and how often, adding a tracking log if so desired. Setting up a home program in this more traditional way helps people accustomed to paper-based exercises bridge the gap to a tablet-based exercise program.


Maps & Directions: Draw your own directions on maps, highlight multiple stops along the route, or let clients draw on maps to support their conversation. Take a screenshot of a Google map or floor plan and use your annotating app to draw on top of it. Skitch has a map feature built-in.


Memory Aid: Take a screenshot anytime you want to remember something you're looking at on-screen. I often use this method to capture Facebook group conversations, tweets I want to remember, or pins on Pinterest that catch my eye. Sure, all these apps have ways of saving favorites, but then I have to remember which app I saw it in. Now I just check my photos and find the memory. Evernote can also help you organize these photos.


How do you use screenshots in your therapy?

Related Content

iPad Tips and Tricks: The Screenshot!

Another ADVANCE blogger discovers the therapeutic benefits of this technology.


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About this Blog

    Speaking of Apps
    Occupation: Speech-Language Pathologist
    Setting: Rehabilitation
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