As most people know Toby is obsessed with his iPad…
We often get asked what he does and how we manage his time on it. Basically because he easily becomes obsessed with things we have to carefully manage the content of his iPad and the amount of time he has it for.He is allowed his iPad after school however at tea time it is taken off him and so after tea is iPad free time. This is to encourage him to sleep and to engage with other people and activities.
If it was up to Toby he would sit on YouTube all day watching the Thomas the tank intro song in Japanese (no joke) however we do not have YouTube on his iPad and he doesn’t actually have Internet access as we keep the wifi turned off. He accesses YouTube with our support using one of our phones or laptops. He does have access to bbc iplayer but only downloaded programs that we have chosen otherwise he becomes very obsessed and distressed at certain things.
We love the Duplo games – I think Toby appreciates the fact that there is no speaking (when you are autistic this makes it less threatening) the games are simple but fun. He has played these since he was 1 and still enjoys parts of them now despite being nearly 5. Lego juniors are also great for older children – I know a lot of older children with asd who like the Lego Juniours create and cruise game.
One app that we are working on using with Toby is Special Words which is made by Special iapps. These apps are designed for children with additional needs. Special Words teaches children to recognise words using matching picture cards. It is fully customiseable, distraction free and simple to use. Although it is more expensive than most normal apps (£9.99) we feel that it is a great educational tool for Toby.
This is a video of Teddy aged two playing the first stage of Special Words. We added the Thomas characters and used my voice to say the names and we hope that it will one day encourage Toby to speak (he’s non-verbal). It also has hundreds of preloaded everyday words and pictures such as animals, transport and household objects – these can also be fully customised for example if a child has a ‘cup’ that they recognise as their cup a picture can be uploaded. Eventually children learn to match the words to pictures and this helps children learn to speak and read.
Special iapps also have a number of other apps including social stories and numbers all of which have been specially designed for children with additional needs. You can find out more about Special iapps here – https://www.specialiapps.org/en-gb/
Tiny Hands also do lots of sorting, stacking and organising games. Toby used to love the stacking games (think it’s called Tiny Hands Towers) however he is no longer interested or motivated by these.
Hope these help some other people too – let us know your favourites!