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How to Select the ‘Best App’

Ania Ciechanowski

Ania Ciechanowski

Senior Clinician Occupational Therapist – Assistive...

At ComTEC we are often asked, as I’m sure many therapists are asked by people and families they support, "what’s the best app for ...........”  That blank can be filled by any number of skills and daily living/occupational functions.

It can be a difficult question to answer when there are an estimated 5 million apps available for iPad and Android devices!

For areas we’ve previously researched for work or personal need, we all go back to apps we have found to be robust and that deliver on providing the features and activities that they promise.

The challenge, with new apps emerging or being updated daily, is staying up to date.

For areas we are having a fresh look at, like you, we are often thinking -  Where do I start?  What keywords and search terms should I use? We all know that you can look for something one day and then enter a slightly altered search term and find new results the next.

This may seem obvious, but before you filter, go back to your therapy skill set. You have a strong clinical base, you know your client and together with the client and family, you have set your goals.

Apps are just another tool in your kit bag. Their selection is led by your knowledge, clinical reasoning and bank of information that you have built about your client.

As a consultancy, specialising in AT, ComTEC is always guided by our Occupational Therapy and Speech Pathology clinical knowledge base. When we work alongside you and your client, to explore assistive technology we will always ask:

  • What are your goals?  
  • What skills are you working on?  
  • What are you wanting to be able to achieve with the app that other tools cannot offer/ as an addition to other tools or strategies you are trying?   
  • What are the client’s interests and preferences?  
  • What are they motivated by?

So for that specific question ‘what’s the best app’ - we will go back to those questions above.  We will share our learnings and we will also point you to resources online. There are amazing collators and evaluators of technology in the international assistive technology and AAC community.  Some of their resources are free, others offer extensively researched app comparisons that are regularly updated for a small one-off fee or a subscription.

We are collating resources and app lists that ComTEC has curated and will be posting them on the blog and in our newsletter throughout 2023. If you would like to be notified when new blog posts are live, sign up for our newsletter.

As we go, we'd love to hear from you what your ‘go to’ apps are. We learn from our clients, their families and their support teams everyday!

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ComTEC is a team of allied health professionals who specialise in communication technology.

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