Monday, April 2, 2012

iPad/iPhone app: Occupied

Occupied app from iTunes ($0.99; was free for a while)

What it is: A sorting game where you have to get plane passengers to the correct, um, bathroom. The levels are timed (always a bit of a bummer for treatment's sake) but start out simple with just men and women and the two corresponding bathrooms. It doesn't require a lot of dexterity, and accuracy can be measured by how many passengers were correctly directed in the allotted time. Following levels get a little harder, first with the bathrooms themselves moving (switching sides, so sometimes the women's room is on the right, sometimes the men's, and you can see them trade places), then the passengers are all kids who need to be sorted quicker or they run off; the next level includes a third type of passenger (babies, who need to be directed to their own area) and then the bathrooms start moving on the screen so dexterity becomes an issue (as is motion sickness.. not part of the game, but what I get from trying to play at these levels). So I would recommend only the first 3 or 4 levels for Tx, which should be plenty. There are additional scenarios and more difficult level settings, but those don't interest me for therapy.

As an aside, I sent an email to the developers explaining how I plan to use their game for cognitive therapy, and why, and asking if they'd consider adding a simple, slower, or untimed set of levels for rehab purposes. Who knows, their response may be positive... although I can see how adding a set of levels for such a small specialized market may not be worth their trouble.

How we can use it in Tx: There's really only one way to use it, which is let the pts play the game. As I mention above, I'd stick with just the first 3 or 4 easy levels. The game provides feedback regarding accuracy of each completed level (% better or worse from previous attempt) which can be noted for the pt if you want, assuming it's the same pt completing the level (i.e., being compared to self and not another pt).

Goals we can target in Tx with this app: Attention, focus, scanning, reasoning, categorization, following-directions

Specific examples: Since there's only one way to use this app--that is, to play the game--there's no need for specific examples. However, goals can be worded to reflect each pt's intervention needs:

1. For a pt with left-neglect, the target of playing this game could be to match the accuracy of the right-sided sorting to that of the left side (e.g., for the first level if the men's room is on the left, then the goal would be to approximate accuracy of getting men to their destination to the accuracy of getting women to theirs).

2. For an attention goal, target overall accuracy of whatever levels are played.

3. For direction-following goals, pay attention to the amount of cuing needed to initiate and carry out each new level (since each new level involves a slight change in instructions).

4. Brain-training: this is also a great app in general for exercising one's attention, focus, and reaction time.

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