Social Model for Special Needs

Wow – I interrupt my backward reverie to discuss something almost commercial.  Almost, but not quite.

I confess to having luckily received an iPad for my birthday recently; this wasn’t just generosity (it is okay, honey) but another way to get Mr.D. to interact with technology.  And truth be told?  To also gain ‘hands-off’ time so that the lad and I aren’t thrown together ALL the time.

Two apps have caught on in particular.  Mr.D’s favourite is called iTouch Learn and it isn’t even a game.  Rather, this app takes you through a typical morning routine.  After selecting whether to be boy or girl, the player can choose to try the getting out of bed routine, the washing hands and brushing teeth routine, the getting ready for school routine….. etc. etc.  You get the idea.  This is brilliant for those kids where memory is truly a problem; it is also good for lots of other neuro-developmental ‘atypicals’ who, for one reason or another, have trouble transitioning, or changing, from one set of activities to another.

Of course, Mr.D. takes things a little too literally and is quite upset our milk doesn’t come in milk bottles – no, Mr.D.. not even our organic soy!  We also had to explain that the kid was putting a sweater over a t-shirt – no, he was not putting a shirt over his pj’s!  Other than that – all good.  Even bestest thing ever?  It is free.  Well, one version is and it is a pretty good start.

The second app – less applicable now to Mr.D. but certainly for younger kids or kids who have no experience of behaving in public and no inbuilt expectations.  This app is called Model Me Going (in the Educational section).  Here we have scenarios such as going to the mall, going to a restaurant to eat, going to the doctors, playground fun, etc. etc.  This is broken down into very simple, sequential steps and a voice reads the steps that are also printed on screen.  For children who just cannot grasp the concept of appropriate behaviour and for children who approach the new with dread, this is a wonderful app.  Guess what?  It is free, too.

Now I have to rescue Mr.D. from Angry Birds.  Good thing he doesn’t know there are other versions yet!


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