So why the Ipad? Where did I hear about it? Why did I get one for Seth? Well last year around this time Seth's OT (Occupation Therapist) got an Ipad for her birthday. She decided to download some kid apps for her child for when he was bored in the car or at the doctors office. Then one day she brought it to my house for therapy for Seth. And we were never the same.
How did Seth respond to the Ipad? He responded like it was the greatest thing in the world. He looked at it like it was so cool and he was able to use it because he just had to touch it. And what kid doesn't know how to touch valuable, expensive breakables???? Kids are masters at doing that!! So am I - I'm quite the klutz. I break plastic for goodness sake.
So here is the first app Seth ever used on the amazing day last year when we saw that he loved the Ipad, sitting with his therapist so quietly. It's this one: http://duckduckmoosedesign.com/educational-iphone-itouch-apps-for-kids/fish-school
Fish School - such a cute app. Really it is. I mean the fish form letters and numbers and then they sing the ABC's and they form shapes as well. Then you could play this awesome matching game (not that I've played with it....ok I have - so much fun!!!) and so much more. In fact all of the apps by the developer DuckDuckMoose are absolutely amazing and awesome and I can't think of another "a" adjective to make that flow more smoothly. It's just good fun and kids learn from them.
So what therapeutic value does the Ipad have for kids with special needs? Well to be truthful I know and you know that I love my son but his fine motor skills suck (sorry buddy). Seth's fine motor skills are horrible. It took him forever to clap his hands, to point at things, to use pop beads, to thread a bead, to color, to eat using utensils . . . you get the point. It's one area that Seth really needed the extra help in. And the Ipad is great for fine motor skills. Most of the items that have to be touched need to be touched with a pointer finger or touched and then dragged, this works on the fine motor muscles/skill. Some apps require more than one finger to be used, or you can use lots of fingers all over the screen at a time. It's cool.
Another therapeutic use is for kids who are nonverbal or who may never become verbal. We all don't want to think of that but there are kids with DS or Autism and other special needs that never become verbal. Well instead of a bulky communication device, there are many apps on the Ipad that a child can touch a finger on the picture of what they want or can even go through many different pictures to make a sentence to express what they want. The up side to this is that an Ipad is more socially acceptable than those big clunky machines that they use for communication devices. Lots of people have Ipads and lots of kids use them now. So there is no social stigma if your kid is using the Ipad in public.
One of these apps for communication is Proloquo2Go. In fact during my research of apps this seems to be the best app for communication. Here is their website: http://www.proloquo2go.com/. It is an extremely pricey app and the Ipad itself is pricey but here is the thing . . . if your kid is nonverbal and needs an Ipad and communication apps, well many schools and EI and other places are providing Ipads for kids with special needs. Google and search for what's in your area, to see what you can do for your kid. It never hurts to try.
How does the Ipad make my life easier?? The biggest way the Ipad has made my life easier is for doctors appointments. Anyone who has a child with special needs understands how many different doctors we go to at any given time of year. Also how many ER trips or hospital stays . . there is only so much television and so many books and toys and snacks before kids get bored. That's when you break out the Ipad. In fact when we are in the waiting room at the doctors office and have the Ipad out there is a circle of kids surrounding us. Kids love it. They gravitate towards the Ipad. It also makes Seth the cool kid while he shows off his Ipad skills.
So now here comes the fun part, my list of apps, apps that I love, well that I love for Seth. Screw it I love them too!! I do, I play with Seth's apps, they are fun!! When we first bought the Ipad for Seth my SO and I used to fight over the Ipad when Seth went to bed. We learned to take turns . . . eventually. The first few are from DuckDuckMoose.
Wheels on the Bus
Itsy Bitsy Spider
Baa Baa Black Sheep
Tap Tap Baby
First Words Deluxe
My Very First App
Peepers I say you say
Learn to Talk
Danny the Dragon
Signing Times apps- there are two
Verbs With Milo
The ABC Song
Tap To Talk
In My Dreams
ABA Flash Cards- ok there are a lot of them and they are all free- love these!!!
There are tons more. . . you have to do your research and see what you think will catch your child's interest. We have sign language apps since Seth loves ASL, we have free fireworks apps that Seth likes to just touch and watch the fireworks go off . . . there are tons of free apps out there for kids and for adults.
So I'm not telling you to buy an Ipad or to get all of these apps, I'm just telling you how the Ipad worked for us and our lives. It helps us, it helps Seth and he loves it. And I love it too. I love my Ipad, I'm on it now, while I'm on the main computer typing this post. I'm playing Escape from Monkey Island on it. . . good fun!!!!