The Apple Watch: An Intro for Therapists

The Apple Watch: An Intro for Therapists

If you’re a tech lover like I am then you’ve probably been watching and waiting to hear if the new Apple Watch is worth investing a minimum of $349 on. If you’re like me then you’ve also been wondering how you will be able to incorporate this new tool into your personal life and clinical practice.

Let’s just admit it – this piece of tech is hot, and cool at the same time. 

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Tortured by photos of lucky wrists sporting this new sexy technology, I couldn’t wait any longer!

A practicing Speech Therapist (SLP) in both the educational and medical settings and CEO of YappGuru, I effectively convinced our financial partner (my husband) that I needed to have this new technology in order to complete essential industry research – and promised to share my experiences. Spedtech has amazing possibilities for helping therapists, educators and caregivers to make real strides in the lives of our clients – and who isn’t excited about that? The Apple Watch and other new tech like it has the potential to change the face of therapy.

Now let’s discuss details.

Style (The Hardware)

There isn’t just one Apple Watch, there are three. Part of the tremendous nature of this innovation is that it comes with so much opportunity to infuse it with your own style. Oh, and it comes in two sizes, making it even more personal.

The Apple Watch Sport

At $349, the Aluminum Apple Watch Sport, 38mm size, provides the same functionality as the most expensive 38mm, 18-Karat Yellow Gold Case with Bright Red Modern Buckle, priced at $17,000 (and yes, it has gold parts). With Ion-X glass, the Apple Watch Sport is rugged, and lighter than the other models, and the soft and comfy fluoroelastomer band comes in 5 apple fresh colors.

The Apple Watch

For just $200 more, the Apple Watch offers increased durability and design with a stainless steel case, sapphire crystal display (scratch resistant), and a variety of band options (leather, metal, magnetic closure). The style factor is pretty ramped up here!

The Apple Watch Edition

The luxury line, Apple Watch Edition, begins at $10,000, which includes 18-Karat Gold casing, parts, and a chic leather box that is also a charging cradle.

Side note: Apple watch bands are changeable as long as the band and the watch are the same size. Third party sources are also providing a dizzying and creative array of bands in addition to the option to create your own design. Check out Casetify, Monowear, Click (allows you to use ANY standard 22 millimeter wristband with your Apple Watch).

Function (The Software)

Built-In Apps

During the first 48 hours with my Apple Watch I watched Apple Watch Guided Tours to acclimate myself to it’s features, gestures, and vocabulary. In addition to sending my heartbeat rhythm to fellow Apple Watch owners (so cool!), I’ve been thinking about how the apps that come with Apple Watch can be immediately helpful to me as an SLP.


It is immediately apparent that receiving “haptic” (the light tapping or vibrating sensation provided by Apple’s Taptic Engine technology) text message alerts results in more discreet and less intrusive interactions. This is very effective in increasing your ability to receive important information while engaged with clients or in meetings without shifting attention to the action of pulling out or picking up your phone. No more pagers or buzzing phones during sessions that break the focus of your clients!


The effectiveness of retrieving, viewing, and responding to work-related email on the Apple Watch is directly related to the level of detail involved. Reading a quick email or dictating a short response is an easy task. For those of us with “older eyes”, longer emails are a little challenging (even with adjusted larger text size). You’re not going to be reviewing therapy notes here, no matter how much you might like to be.


 This was a home run! I plugged the address for my appointment into my google calendar, opened the Maps app on Apple Watch, selected the address from the calendar on my iPhone – and voila! turn by turn directions appeared as I drove – with gentle haptic cueing as I approached a direction event.

 Apple Watch

Being able to quickly glance at my hand on the steering wheel kept my eyes at a safe level for maintaining visual awareness. This is a surefire win for therapists who travel during the day, offering waaay less stress and more brainspace to give to your clients.

Camera Remote

A new app, specific to Apple Watch, lets you view what your iPhone camera is accessing and control the shutter button from the camera app on your watch.

 Apple Watch (1)


Yep – that’s me taking a picture of my handsome, clearly supportive husband and myself, from across the room!

I am excited about the possibilities for capturing more natural and candid photos during sessions which can provide powerful feedback to clients (body posture, facial tension, bilabial placement, etc.). This #spedtech also has the potential for helping to remote view clients (with informed consent) to see how they do when they’re not in front of you. It could also provide me with some great feedback on how I’m interacting with my clients.

Time will tell

As with all technology, there is a learning curve associated with the Apple Watch. Just figuring out how much battery life was left took me a few swipes, spins, and clicks. But there is also an operational design that points to Apple’s user-friendly interface, incorporating simple visual cues and motor memory which become second nature after some use, and are why so many people love Apple products already. With consistent engagement, I’m sure I’ll be comfortable with many of the functions pretty quickly.

So there is my personal experience with my new Apple Watch.

Have you been considering purchasing one? What are some ways you can incorporate it into your services? Share your thoughts in the comments!

YappGuru started as my little dream and it is wonderful to see it growing into a vibrant community of people who love employing apps to help people! Mom, SLP, iPad consultant, speaker, entrepreneur, lover of life! @MaiLingChan

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