|Image Source: Project Injini|
So, here goes...
Case: I know it's not an app, but I get asked often what kind of case we use. We currently have a Griffin Survivor. It fits our iPad 2 very well and with Jack's (lack of) motor skills, it has taken a tumble or two. So far, so good! I also love that it has a built-in screen protector.
The apps we use the most are:
Injini Child Development Suite: This is one of the more expensive apps that we have purchased for Jack's iPad; at the time we bought it, it was $50, but worth every penny (there used to be a free demo version that you could download on the App Store, but it's worth getting the full version if your kiddo likes it). It's a suite of mini games that is designed for children with developmental disabilities, like autism, Down Syndrome, and other developmental delays. Each time a mini game is added - and that happens often - you get it free. The games foster fine motor, language, and cognitive development. The games all work on positive reinforcement - your kid can keep trying until they get it right, so there's no frustration from doing something wrong!
Jack would give this two thumbs up. He loves the little games and I love that he's learning as he plays.
|Image Source: Handhold Adaptive|
iPrompts XL: I think that, as a parent, one of the things I like best about the iPad is how it eliminates the need for a ton of hand cut/laminated picture cards to get lost, misplaced, and made again and again and again. iPrompts XL is an all-in-one picture scheduler, choice board, and visual timer rolled into one. They also have an iPhone version (iTunes cards are on my Christmas list), but the only version we have is the one on the iPad. It has a large database of common PECS pictures, plus it allows you to take pictures and integrate them into the software. Especially for kids like Jack who have difficulties making verbal choices and who need a lot of visual support (Jack does), this program is an easy way as a parent to provide that support.
|Image Source: Toca Boca|
And...just for fun, here's what Jack enjoys playing on his iPad these days:
Monopoly: The repetitiveness seems to soothe him. He can "roll" the dice, the pieces go around the board in a predictable manner, and it just works for him, at least that's what his special instructor thinks. It also plays very soft, elevator music that soothes the overreactive preschooler.
|Image Source: iTunes Store|
Super Why!: Of course, you couldn't expect that we wouldn't have a Super Why! game, right? There is a mini-game for each character - Alpha Pig, Super Why, Princess Presto, and Wonder Red - and all deal with letters and words, so naturally Jack loves it.
Bubbles: Jack loves bubbles. Loves them. This was a game that we got out of desperation one day because it was raining and we couldn't do bubbles outside. He plays it sometimes, but I think that he still considers it a poor substitute for the real thing.
Fruit Ninja: He just likes watching the fruit fall. Word of warning - if your kids like to just watch the fruit fly into the air and fall back down, as in they don't like to actually cut the fruit, put the game in Zen Mode. That way, the game won't end after the first couple of pieces of fruit. And yes, sometimes it's okay to just visually stim.
Besides games, I keep some of Jack's favorite songs on the iPad - like right now he really loves Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" and REO Speedwagon's "Keep on Loving You" - but he usually doesn't choose to listen to music. I do have several episodes of Super Why! downloaded into the Videos app, just in case we get somewhere and nothing but an episode of Super Why! will do.
Otherwise, that's it. Our selection of apps tends to change from time-to-time, but the ones listed above are the big ones. I firmly believe that touch screen technology holds so much potential for kids on the autism spectrum. It can serve as a wonderful medium for teaching a wide variety of skills. It can serve to add structure, predictability, and logic to a world that seems anything but to our kids. It provides them with a motivating reinforcer and a way to unwind.
Most importantly, it gives our kids a voice. Our kids tend to be so visual, so even kids who have some speech still benefit from the iPad's ability to integrate so many aspects of life into a form that is easy for them to understand and process - a visual image. With Jack, I've seen him able to make a choice on the choice board that he simply cannot do verbally. That is the power of this technology - to give our kids a voice.
I'll open it up - what apps have you found that help your child? Please share and provide links, if possible.