Emma Step: An App to Encourage Rhythmic Stepping

Emma Step: An App to Encourage Rhythmic Stepping

Emma Step is an app for iPhone and iPad that will help you motivate your patients and guide them through reciprocal motion using rhythmic prompts.

My daughter Emma was born with hydrocephalus. Although she's a smart, strong, and capable kiddo, she's a little behind on learning movement. She goes to private PT sessions every week and one day her therapist suggested that we search the App Store for a metronome that could help Emma with the rhythm of walking. We searched and didn't find anything that had the features that we needed — everything was focused on music. Fortunately, I'm a software developer and the next weekend I whipped together a quick prototype of an app to see if it would help. I only spent a few hours on it because I wasn't sure how well the approach would work. I brought my iPad to the next session and, to my surprise, noticed the impact immediately. Emma loved that the app was telling her what to do and the combination of the visual and auditory prompting kept her attention. And if we lost her attention and she got distracted it was easy to say "focus on the app" to bring her back. We also noticed that Emma was more motivated to practice walking and she would imitate the app while practicing even when we weren't using the app. It turned a laborious task into a fun game!

Over the last several months we've taken that raw prototype of an app that only I could use and turned it into a tool that we believe will be really helpful for PTs and parents. During this development process, Emma's therapist used the app with a couple of her other patients and saw similarly good results. Now we want to get Emma Step into the hands of as many people who need it as possible, so we're making the basic version available for free. You can learn more about the app at https://emmastep.com or download it from the iOS App Store now.  David Brunow Emma's Dad

This article was written by David Brunow

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