The SnapType Story
Steven* is a fifth-grader who I met during my occupational therapy fieldwork. He was diagnosed with dysgraphia and his handwriting is so messy that no one can read it.
His occupational therapist tried many things to help him improve his penmanship, but nothing worked. The determined OT even scanned his worksheets into a computer so he could type in answers to questions, but it was too time consuming so she stopped doing it. Steven was frustrated about getting left behind in class because he couldn’t complete the worksheets with the rest of his peers.
There had to be a better way to help Steven keep up. I had an idea! What if he could take a picture of his worksheet using an iPad and type his answers on the screen? I searched the app store, but there was nothing available to do this. Well, there were a few apps, but they were designed for business people and were too complex for a child to use.
I sketched out my idea on a napkin and shared it with Steven’s OT. She loved it! So I put together a detailed mockup of the app and worked with a developer to build it. A few weeks later, I had a working app called SnapType.
Steven’s OT and teacher are thrilled. However, the real joy comes from seeing Steven use the app. It is easy for him to take a picture of a worksheet and use the iPad keyboard to answer questions. He no longer falls behind in class and is more confident about his abilities.
*Name changed for privacy.
About The Team
Amberlynn Slavin is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist based in California and New Hampshire. She has experience working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, Down’s Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, mental health disorders, and other developmental disorders. When she’s not working, you can find her coaching gymnastics, working on all sorts of creative projects, and eating artichokes. As a student completing her occupational therapy graduate fieldwork at Springfield College, Amberlynn came up with the idea for SnapType. She also curates creative_cheap_crafts, an Instagram page dedicated to OT activity ideas.
Ben Slavin is an engineer and product guy who works behind the scenes of SnapType. He enjoys tinkering with technology to create clever solutions to challenging problems. He’s the kind of guy who gets stuff done.