Clinicians

boy-brain-ipadWelcome to LearningWorks for Kids!

The lives of 21st century kids are increasingly defined by their use of technology. If you are a clinician, educator, or medical professional who works with children, their captivation with technology is inescapable. Whether you like it or not, it is your obligation to understand the video games, apps, and technology that 21st century kids use. You do not need to be an expert gamer yourself, nor do you need to be a whiz with your smartphone. But if you want to connect with 21st century kids in their world, you have to know enough to ask thoughtful questions and to use technology for learning, communication,and collaborating.

The clinicians pages at LearningWorks for Kids will help you to (hover for details):

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Kids and screen based technology

Clinicians and other child care professionals need to have a basic knowledge about what kids are doing with technology in the 21st century. They should be aware of issues such as how much time kids spend in front of a screen; the pros and cons of technology on brain development; and the impact of social media on communication, family, and emotional functioning. Twenty-first century child care clinicians also need to be aware of the impact of technology on education and to recognize how children’s play, which has always been a core element in their learning and development, has changed due to the pervasiveness of digital media and screen-based technologies.

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including: 

The pros and cons of digital media and screen-based technology for children

How much time kids spend with technology and what they are doing with it in today’s world

The importance of play, in particular digital play, in the lives of 21st century children

Why parents, educators, and other adults need to be involved in children’s digital media and video gameplay

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How to find the best Games and Apps

There are millions of games and apps available for kids to play, and thousands more are being created on a daily basis. This wealth of resources makes it virtually impossible for clinicians and parents to narrow down the best games and apps to help kids improve executive-functioning, academic, and social/emotional learning skills. Even after you have found games and apps that may be helpful, it can be difficult to understand the best ways to help kids translate their technology engagement into real-world skills. Fortunately, that is our mission at LearningWorks for Kids, to help generalize game-based skills into real-world ones.

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including:

Finding games, apps, and technologies to improve executive-functioning skills

How kids use social media such as Facebook, Instagram, texting, Twitter, and Vine for communication and learning

How to find the best games and apps to help children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, depression,and other mental health and learning difficulties 

How to find the best videos, websites, and online tools to improve positive psychology traits such as resilience, motivation, and persistence while addressing mental health and learning concerns.

Games, Apps, and Technology, in your office

Clinicians working in the 21st century cannot avoid the use of technology in their work. At the most basic level, you need to be aware of issues such as electronic billing, using email, helping patients research the Internet for treatment approaches, accessing electronic health records, and having a website. Clinicians who want to take it a bit further will want to know about online therapy, using social media to communicate with other professionals, or innovative neurotechnologies that help kids with learning and attention issues. Beyond these common uses of technology, there are many other innovative opportunities for using technology in your clinical work with children.

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including:

How and why games, apps, and other technologies can help children with ADHD, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, depression, and other mental health and learning difficulties

How to choose and use video games, apps, and technology to help kids directly as a part of your therapeutic interventions

What you need to know about issues such as HIPAA compliance and technology, online therapy,and using technology to make your job easier

Guidance about new neurotechnologies such as attention training programs, working-memory training applications, and neurofeedback

How developing an expertise in using video games and apps as clinical tools and for homework assignments could make you the most popular clinician in town

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Providing Information to Parents and Professionals

Clinicians who work with children need to provide parents and educators with guidance about a variety of topics. Pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, counselors, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists, and educators are bombarded by questions about children’s involvement with screen-based technologies and digital media. Parents want to know if video games are good for their kids, if they should allow them to have a cell phone, and if social media is ruining relationships. The limited guidance available, provided primarily by pediatricians, simply suggests that we attempt to limit kids’ engagement with screen-based technologies. In today’s world, where learning, communication, and social engagement are increasingly transmitted by way of electronics, a far more complex understanding of these topics is required for clinicians.

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including:

Tools and handouts for parents to guide them on the use of digital media with children. Clinicians will have easy access to eBooks, links, and tools to give to patients  to improve academic skills, behavior management strategies, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and executive functions

Strategies to determine when and how to set effective screen-time limits for children

Materials for clinicians and other professionals on topics such as executive functions, play and learning, and technology and mental health

PESI Adult Checklist for Executive Functions Strengths and Weaknesses

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Research on Games, Apps, and Mental Health

Research exploring the impact of technology on children’s learning and social/emotional functioning is in its infancy. While there is an increasing amount of data suggesting that modest amounts of screen-based technology are actually beneficial for children’s growth and development, we still have a great deal to learn in this regard. Fortunately you do not need to go back to graduate school in order to become knowledgeable about this research, as we have developed summaries of the research on topics that examine children, mental health, and technology use. Each of the summaries also includes links to the original research for those of you who want to explore further. 

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including:

The latest research on autism and technology

How to determine whether video games and apps are good for kids with ADHD

How action video games, even violent ones, can improve a variety of attention and executive-functioning skills

How educational games can improve not only academic performance but also attention and motivation

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Non-tech strategies for improving Executive Functions

As great as technology can be for improving academic, executive- functioning, and social/emotional skills, clinicians should not forget the ways that traditional approaches can also improve these skills. It is often the combination of the use of new technological approaches with older classroom and home-based accommodations that results in the most substantial real-world improvements. While many technological interventions can practice or even support skills such as organization, planning, time management, study skills, and social awareness, it is the real-world practice that may come with traditional strategies that leads to long-term improvement in the skills of alternative learners. 

On this page you will find articles that provide you with both a basic and an advanced knowledge of topics, including:

The best traditional strategies for improving executive-functioning skills as designed and recommended by practicing clinicians

The importance of executive functions for academic and social/emotional functioning
Classroom strategies that combine the use of technological and non-technological tools to improve executive and academic performance