October 9, 2012

What Moe Can Do: Play iPad

I write a lot on about limitations within our family, things that Moe can't do or reasons it is hard for us to do the types of things your average family with a five year old and a three year old do. We have a lot of those limitations, and they are the kinds of things I usually need to work out for myself by writing about them.

But Jeff and I have been marveling lately at the number of things that Moe can do and ways that he's progressed over the past several months. So I want to spend some time telling you the ways in which Moe is developing and changing. I think it will be good for me too.

So today, I launch the first in a series of posts called: What Moe Can Do!

Moe can play iPad games

Every mother's dream, right? For me, in many ways, yes. For a long time, Moe would take the iPad and just push the button over and over. He would tap an icon to start an app, and basically just randomly touch things or watch the opening sequence then press the button again. And he would drag his whole hand on the screen so that he'd often inadvertently leave an app. He would be easily frustrated or over stimulated.

Moe does well when the iPad is at an angle.
The OtterBox case is great for this and for protection.
Eventually, though, Moe started to be able to navigate the iPad. (Something he could do with ease at 18 months, but lost this ability when he regressed). He learned to slide his finger to turn it on and slide the home screens to find his apps. He learned where his favorite apps were, even those hidden in folders, and can launch them. He learned to use one finger (although he will sometimes use his thumb instead of his pointer), and play games. He was most successful with simple games, like My First Tangram and the robot building part of Toca Robot Lab (see link below). But he is learning to play the more complex parts of the apps now too. For example, after building a robot you need to navigate it through a simple maze. He used to just press the button and start over at that point, but now he is able to complete the game to be able to build another robot.

So why am I so excited about this? In part, it is because it is a concrete way to see progress. I can see more sophisticated thinking going on as he becomes better able to work within the apps. It gives me hope that he may be able to navigate a complex communication system in the future.

But most significant right now is that Moe finally has an activity he can do on his own. He is not good at occupying his time. He will spend his free time bored or frustrated and gets into trouble. He wanders the house, climbs things, bounces off the walls, spins in his swing or empties Jelly's drawers (her hair accessories are way more interesting than anything in his room). The iPad provides activities that Moe can do independently. They require focus, problem solving skills and creativity. I try to balance iPad time with generous amounts of physical activity, but just having Moe sit still for a little while is a huge improvement for both of us.

In case you are looking for some apps for your little one, here are some of Moe's favorites right now. Jelly likes these too, though some are not quite challenging enough for her anymore.

-All Toca Boca apps, especially Toca Band (both kids' favorite right now), Toca Doctor, Toca Kitchen and Toca Robot Lab
-Starfall ABCs
-Sound Touch
-Several of the Duck Duck Moose apps, especially Itsy Bitsy Spider

Over the next few days, I will update my Resources page to include a list of apps we like, but if you are looking for an excellent curated list, visit the spreadsheet over at Squidalicious.


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