Sunday, April 8, 2012

Our Favorite Apps

Ethan has never really been interested in many of the special apps that Apple has on their iPhones or iPods. My mom had offered to buy him an iPad if it would help him, but he did not seem interested in it and really, Ethan has stopped using apps as any type of therapy treatments. But I did want to share some of the apps we have used in the past. Keep in mind that Ethan has Asperger's, is high-functioning, severely ADHD, and still learning how to deal with other socially. That is where we are in private treatments and in school treatments. 
I think every child has Talking Tom Cat or one of the other Talking Animal Apps! They are always fun, especially for kids who have social issues because it allow them to say anything they want, no matter how inappropriate and they do not get into trouble! Plus, they can practice the give and take in conversations. Plus, it is fun with a cat or hippo or whatever other animal you want to download.
This is the best app I downloaded for my son. It had all the "Places" listed below and we would watch the short video before going into the restaurant, for example. This would remind him how he is supposed to act, what is going to happen, and the most important part and hardest part, that he will have to wait. This helped more than once and I really wanted the whole video series. Luckily, my son had progressed to the point where we did not need it anymore, but if I had gotten his diagnosis earlier, I would have gladly spent the money on this whole series!
Model Me Kids App

One of the first things Ethan ever started doing on the computer was watching videos on youtube. He would watch videos of Thomas the Tank Engine over and over. Then it progressed to other trains...boring videos of trains. I cannot even remember what he watched after trains...maybe Titanic, because now he has come full circle and is back into Titanic again.  As long as the videos would play, he was happy. The only thing that would upset him would be the comments people would write under the videos. For some reason, he would get so bothered if someone did not like the video he loved.....he took it so personally!

BrainPop is great! They have a website, an app for the iPhone, iPod and now the iPad. I think they have one for Android, too. Everyday, they have a featured movie and many schools use this website as part of their curriculum. It is very informative, factual, but also fun! Both of my boys really enjoy this app because although they are learning, it does not feel like it! It feel like you are watching a video, playing video games, and they cover all different subjects!

I do not know if you have heard of Lego Creationary, but it is an app that is also a "board" game...if that is what you can call it. Made by the creators of Lego, you roll the dice, it tells you what category you are building from: nature, buildings, vehicles, or things.  You have to use your imagination, your creativity, your building and your guessing skills. I thought this was a good app for Ethan because many times he wants to play games by himself that keep him within himself. An app like this make him come out of his "shell" and force him to interact with others. Sometimes we have to force our Aspie kids to do that.

This app allows parents to track their child's behaviors over a period of time...such as a week, and allow them to work towards a goal, allowing the child to see the goal they are working towards.  The chart can be emailed to others and you can also lock the screen to prevent any altering by *children*. This is another app that I used with all three of my children. It worked better with certain children than others, so you have to know your kids to know if this type of reward charting will help them.

This is one of the most recent apps I have gotten called Office  Jerk. It is purely a stress reliever...who does not have the occasional day where you just feel like throwing a stapler at someone's head?!! Well, if you have a child with Asperger's or you HAVE Asperger's, it seems that this is a pretty normal feeling!! Since it is not appropriate to actually throw a stapler or trash can at someone, this app works pretty good! I know, some parents get worried about violence and having their kids act stuff like this out...hey, at my house, this is already happening! I would much rather give my kids my phone and let them take it out on the Office Jerk for 15 minutes and get out some frustrations!

Over time, I have found with Ethan that when he is frustrated and angry, especially when he gets home from school, that sometimes he just needs that electronic fix for 15-20 minutes to kind-of center himself. I can only imagine how hard it must be for him at school all day, holding it all together with all the noises and people and trying his best to not meltdown. Many of these apps, while not specifically designated for Autism, have been lifesavers in just a re-grouping mode.

Tell me what apps your kids use...or what you might use when you are stressed! I would love some new ideas!

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