There are some excellent apps offered for children with developmental delays. These are apps that speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, cognitive therapists and special education teachers can use to improve attention to task, build fine motor and visual spatial skills, increase cause and effect understanding and develop early association and memory skills. These apps are designed and put together very carefully by a team of professionals, and their prices reflect that. When you see your more involved students really tuning in to these activities and making purposeful choices to complete the tasks, you will see that the research behind these apps is sound. For several of our students, these are the apps that developed the fine motor skills (and attending skills) they needed to learn how to first access all that iPads have to offer. Start with the free or lite versions and go from there.
Injini by NCSoft is chock full of captivating, interactive early learning games. Children pop balloons, trace over shapes, match pictures, sequence objects and more in this highly acclaimed and award winning collection of games that gently encourages a host of early fine motor, visual spatial and organizational skills. For an in-depth look at what this app offers, we direct you to their website, where you can see a complete description of each game offered and learn more about what the games are designed to do. Our OT and I have witnessed first hand the way this app (above all others) can draw in our hardest to reach students. All of a sudden, these same students are engaging with both the activities and with us, making purposeful choices as they complete the tasks, and then smiling in our direction as they experience that feeling of success. We can see measurable benefits that come from these activities. Injini meets kids right where they’re at and builds from there. They provide a generous free version to sample most of the activities that are offered, and they continue to add new games and activities as they release new updates (see updating apps under App Management). Lite version is free; full version is more than fairly priced at $29.99.
A word of warning on Injini products: these are wonderful and we continue to buy them in our district. But be advised that the company behind these apps is no longer in operation and is no longer available to offer customer support. We have learned that an iPad 2 using IOS 6 does not allow for sound in Injini products. Keep that in mind before upgrading your iPad 2 to the latest version of IOS , as we cannot expect this company to adjust their software to the newest Apple technology any time soon.
Next up is a good old Buddy Bear app. You might remember the Buddy Bear software that was designed to help children with autism make connections with cause and effect, predicting, sequencing and completing every day tasks. Many of us used this regularly and I’m sure there are plenty of us that still have this on their PC. Linguisystems has taken that same software and re-released it in app form. It’s called Autism and PDD Reasoning and Problem Solving. Children complete a variety of early verbal reasoning tasks and are rewarded with a short, sweet animation of Buddy Bear completing the activity that was featured. Try the lite version first and see how it works for your students.
It’s funny how we quite recently paid $40 to $100 for specialized computer software without batting an eye, but have come to expect iPad apps that do the same thing (and more) to be in the free to $3 range. Linguisystems initially priced the full version of this app at $35 but has since come down to the very reasonable price of $14.99.