I'm a planner. A die-hard paper planner. But when it comes to carrying over any new diet, fitness, or budget plan, I find myself turning to my iPhone for an app to help me stay on-track. There's just something about those pop-up reminders and dings that remind me of what I have to accomplish.
If you've got a child (or two) on sensory diet plans, you know it's not always easy to follow the script your therapist gives you. You could make activity photo flashcards, big wall charts, or even designate a space in your house for these targeted tasks, but if you're like me, you'll get distracted by life and forget to use all that you know.
I recently came across the Sensory Planning App called SensoryTreat and took a closer look at what they've designed to help families and therapists with carryover.
SensoryTreat offers a cross-platform app, caseload management tools using online web access, and MagneTreat illustrated magnet cards to help target caregiver carryover of therapist-designed sensory diet activities.
Getting Started - for therapists
I logged onto SensoryTreat from my laptop computer to begin to outline my caseload and needs. After the therapist creates a child profile, you are prompted to identify a S.M.A.R.T goal, existing performance rating, and re-evaluation period. Parent profiles are also created at this time so when you are ready to share the individualized program, they have the links emailed directly to them for ease of access/setup. I love that therapists are reminded about the constructs of a S.M.A.R.T. goal so that you can re-evaluate the efficacy of your interventions in objective ways that you and caregivers both agree to.
Sensory diet planning involves looking at the daily routines within certain time frames each day and identifying appropriate sensory activities at that time that can support regulation. SensoryTreat breaks these activities up into categories: jumping, deep pressure, heavy work, vestibular, oral input, and custom. The custom section allows therapists to include photos and individualized sensory activities that perhaps are better suited to certain kids (that otherwise aren't included in the stock activities). When you assign the activities, you are also able to view what the family would view on their mobile device. I love that you can assign a "reminder" time of day for each activity because let's face it - life happens and we often lose track of our "to-do's" so a little prompting is helpful. When it's activity time, parents and kids can choose what activity (within the assigned category of sensory input) they'd like to complete. There's also an opportunity for parents to send feedback to the therapist and rate their child's responses to the activity for future planning considerations.
The illustrations of the activities that appear with the app are also available in low-tech magnet cards that can be used for additional visual support and home and school.
The program is free for therapists and the app is free for users for 2 weeks, at which point the user needs to purchase and assign credits in order to access the features. Parents can purchase these individually or be assigned credits from their clinician. While the cost may be a limiting feature for some families, clinicians may find that the overall cost spent is less than their prep and planning hours for designing paper-based sensory diet materials! If you have a caseload of 20 kids on sensory diet plans, it's much more time-effective to monitor progress and carryover data in one place.
As we all move to tech-based planning and reminding apps, SensoryTreat has designed an app that will meet the therapeutic needs of kids and the carryover/training needs of families. Therapists may also find that this app decreases valuable planning and progress monitoring time for larger caseloads. The video below offers a great summary of SensoryTreat's features. Let us know if you've used SensoryTreat and how it's worked for you!