Ipad Memory Games

R. loves memory memory matching games on the ipad. Here’s a short list of her favorites.

Amazing Memory Match has an assortment of memory matching games. The opening screen reminds me of the old speak and say dials. You can choose a picture (different animals, foods, transportation…) and get a game with pastries or dinosaurs. When a match is made the app flashes a picture of the item matched along with the word and speaks the word aloud. I think this is great for vocabulary development. There is a free version available with a limited number of games.

Miss Spider’s Tea Party app has a read aloud story, coloring, puzzles and a memory matching game. She’s had this one for a while now and just gets more and more out of using it.

Timmy’s Kindergarten Adventure isn’t the best educational app. While it does allow you to pick until you choose the right answer, it advances to the next level too quickly. And compared to other apps the graphics are dull. The best part about this app is that you can buy in app toys with coins earned for answering questions correctly. No real money is involved and it is fairly easy to earn enough to buy everything. There is of course a matching game. It has animals and makes the animals sounds. A light bright style toy is fun too.


More of her self portraits for Autism Acceptance Month
















Her self portraits for Autism Acceptance Day

R. loves to take pictures with the iPad, and she is one of her own favorite subjects. I wanted to share these for Autism Acceptance Day.

Here are some pictures where she is using the special effects.


Free and Fun Christmas Apps

Toca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift

This is another wonderful app from Toca Boca that happens to be free.  R. has been playing with their Hair Salon app for a few weeks.  (She loves their tea party app too) This is a version of the Hair Salon with a Santa Claus and a Christmas tree to style.

The app gives you tools to cut and style hair.  There are hair clippers and a pair of scissors for cutting, a comb, a hair dryer, hair growing gel,  and an assortment of colors for hair coloring and a camera to take pictures.  The Christmas Gift app. has decorations for the tree, and when you snap a picture it saves it with the words Merry Christmas.

123 Christmas- My first numbers with Santa Claus

This is a free app with ads.  The ads don’t get in the way too much.   It is very simple, you touch the ornaments and they fall into Santa’s bag and they are counted.

The many gifts of the ipad

There are so many things that R. has learned that can at least be partially attributed to the ipad.

She started to point purposefully after she learned to use it.  I’m sure the ipad is not the sole reason, but it seems to have helped.

Her receptive language has increased and it seems like she is picking up words (especially labels) faster and with less trouble generalizing.   I know that school and the techniques the ABA therapists are using deserve the most credit.  But I also know that the ipad is helping to reinforce these words -pun intended.

I think it also has helped with her auditory processing, she is pronouncing some words better.  I suspect it is because of apps like Bob Books, where she can hear the phonetic letter sound as many times as she wants.  She is touching the letter, seeing it and hearing a sound.

I have posted about how her youtube video selections seem to mirror what is happening in her life.   She will finish with her ABA session where they were working on the prepositions on top and under and go to youtube on the ipad and find Sesame Street videos that are teaching the same concepts.

She has stopped playing with her spit on the window (big hooray for that one!).  I really think it is because she can get that same sensation from the ipad.

She is writing letters, numbers and shapes.  She asks me to show her how to draw things -shapes and letters.   Of course they do this in school, and I give her teacher plenty of credit for helping to teach her these skills.  But I think that the ipad helped her focus in a way she could not before, and those positive experiences give her confidence and motivation.

She doesn’t have to to it all the time, but she will share the ipad with a friend, and even negotiate turn taking.   I never thought about the ipad as something that she could do with a peer, silly me.  They seem to do it themselves quite naturally.


A glimpse at how she sees the world

R has been playing with the camera on the ipad and she takes some strange and interesting pictures.

The beauty of a chair button

She has learned how to use the different effects too.

One basket becomes two

Daddy times two

She is also taking self portraits.

App review: Bob Books #1 Reading Magic

R. has been really into this Bob Books #1 Reading Magic app.  The app includes 32 words in twelve scenes.

So it starts like this, with a black and white picture and gray words. If you don’t do anything it makes a little sound and the images move to get your attention.

Touching Sam brings you to this page, where you can match letters to spell the word.  I have it set for Level 1 and to say the letters phonetically.  Each time a letter or the box where the letter goes is touched the app speaks the letter.

After the word is spelled, the item changes to color.

You are taken back to the first page with the phrase on it, and the drawing of Sam is colored in, and the word Sam is black.  The cat drawing is black and white, and the word cat is gray.  The cat will make a little sound and move if you do not select it right away.

Then you can spell cat, just like the previous word.

The cat turns to color after the word is spelled.

When the entire phrase has been spelled, the picture changes to color, the entire phrase turns black and the figures move a little.

There are 4 levels of play.  We are using Level 1-Drag and drop letters to match.  Level 2 is learn left to right order.  Level 3 is spell without visual hints.  Level 4 is Pick letters to spell words.

There is the option to turn on and off the background music and sound effects.  You can turn on and off the options for the objects to wiggle to give hints.  You can also choose to have the app speak the letter names or phonic sounds.

I was surprised at how much R. likes this app.  I thought the pictures might be too simple, but she plays it all the time on her own.  I don’t understand using names like Dot or Mat in phrases.  But I do know these Bob Books predate the ipad.

Revisiting the ipad behavior plan

My behavior plan for the ipad has been working.

Issue 1: She wants all ipad all the time

The ipad is still a favorite activity.  She doesn’t have much free time with school and therapy during the week so it hasn’t been much of a problem then.   When a vacation or a few days off start she can get obsessed with it.  But she will actually get tired of it, she reaches her own saturation point and walks away to do something else.

I think that having certain times of the day that she has access to it helps.   I’ve learned to be flexible and it seems to help her be flexible about it.  I did not want her to use the ipad when she gets home from school because she has her ABA session starting within the hour.   She really wanted to use it so I tried.  She does not complain when it is time to put it away, so it works out fine.

It seems like she’s more accepting of other times when I want to put it away.   But it still helps to have something else to do planned, even just a transition to listening to music.  I plug the ipad into speakers which are high on a shelf she can not reach.

I’m also looking at some of the “ipad time” as time we are doing something together.  She will sit on my lap or with me at the table and do puzzles or whatever.

Issue 2:  She wants to pick her own apps and they are usually a video or something stimmy

I’ve been trying to be more hands off and let her do what she wants.  I posted about her interesting video choices recently.

On the weekends or days off if she is spending a lot of time on the ipad I’ll get involved and choose some more educational apps that aren’t her first choice.

Teaching her to say all done when she does not want to do something on the ipad has worked really well.  If I run an app she doesn’t want to do, she’ll yell all done, and she is generalizing that phrase to other situations.   I’ll insist that she do my chosen app for a short period of time and I’ll define it- 3 more times or whatever.  Then I let her do what she wants.

She also has a tendency to find any adult app on the ipad.  No not those.  But she was quite obsessed with E’s Contract Killer game and a few others.  The only answer is to delete them.  She seems to want to play with guns and watch cartoons fight, she thinks it is hilarious.  If anyone knows any more child appropriate games sort of like that please let me know.

Issue 3: She wants to use my finger instead of her own to operate the ipad. She has a short attention span at times.

This issue is resolved with familiar apps and features of the ipad.  She can open apps, folders with apps, change screens, she knows how to wake it up when it goes to sleep.

I think the key is self confidence.  She needs to feel that she can do whatever is expected of her, once she can do it she will spend quite a while at it.

This bring me to a new issue.

Issue 4.  She doesn’t like to try new apps.

I basically resolve this with trial and error.   I’m being more selective about what apps I show her, rather than offering her every free app I find.   I kind of know what she tends to like.

I’ll open up the new app when I hand her the ipad and try to get her to see what it does for a couple of seconds.   I try not to do this too often.  It seems like if she finds the app herself she gets more interested in it.  Especially if I don’t have to show her how to use it.

When she walks away from the ipad I will play with one of her less chosen apps.  Sometimes this gets her interested enough to want to learn how.

She is actually starting to get manipulative about it.  She mostly asks me to help her learn new apps when I am trying to cook dinner.   So dinner has been getting later this week.

Other issues

R. moves around all the app icons.  She files them into folders of her choosing.   Every time I get the apps all organized she comes along and puts them how she wants them.  I can’t make sense of her order, but I’m learning to live with it.    Reducing the number of total apps helps.

She also turns the volume up to the max.   She doesn’t even put her fingers in her ears.  I wonder if she is giving herself some kind of noise therapy.

I do put a stop to it, and turn down the volume.   She is starting to turn it down herself,  sometimes on request.   I wish that there was some way to limit the max volume.

Looking to youtube for inspiration

R. really likes to watch videos on youtube on the ipad.   She can pick videos from her history, the favorites or subscriptions. (I subscribed to Sesame Street.)  She also seems to remember how to find particular videos by looking at the choices that come up when a video is chosen.  It looks like she is just watching a video for a second and then going on to another one, but it usually means she is looking for something.

When she started summer school at a different school she kept watching this video about riding the bus 40 blocks from home.   When we started potty training she was finding all these Elmo potty videos.  She does tend to like to watch a video over and over, not for an hour, but five or six times.

I’ve been trying to see how I can work with her interest in these videos.  The obvious way is to sing the songs.  She does like this, and will sing along and request that I sing them now.  She also likes it when I change the words and add her name.  She never seemed to notice before.

R. likes counting videos, for a while she was watching ones with Count and his counting organ.   I started using her Count doll to count things and this is now a regular game.  Mostly she wants me to count the pieces of her play birthday cake.  I have to hold up the Count doll and have him count and touch each piece, and I can’t forget the ah ah ah at the end either.   She is starting to do it herself, so we can take turns.

Another video she watches often is an old Sesame Street cartoon – Number 9 martian cutie.   The artwork is simple enough I actually managed to draw it and boy was R. impressed.    She asks me to draw it over and over.  I will only draw one part at a time, she has to tell me to continue.  She usually taps me and then I prompt the word. Since the martian has nine hairs, eyes and other parts we are closing dozens of circles every time I draw one.  She also likes it when I hold her hand and draw it with her.   I’ve been backing off and getting her to at least draw the hair and arms (just lines) with just a prompt at her elbow.  She is so proud of herself.

If that crafting gene I’ve been waiting for all my life ever kicks in, maybe I can think of some way to make the martian in 3D with glue and stuff.

Her favorite dvd right now is Elmo’s Christmas Countdown.  She’s been watching this video from that dvd of two actors from the Soprano’s playing Bert and Ernie.   I tried acting out the videos with her Bert and Ernie dolls, but she was a little too entertained by sticking things in my ear.  I don’t think I should encourage that.

I found a stuffed gingerbread man and woman a relative gave her a while back, so I’ve been playing you’ve got a gingerbread man on your (or my) head.  It is usually good for some laughs, but it doesn’t keep her engaged as long as drawing martians.

I think her favorite part is when they yell gingerbread man, because I hear her saying that and she loves it when I say it.    I dug out some Christmas books and we look through them and yell gingerbread man when we find one.   I also printed out gingerbread men from the web and placed them around the house.  She doesn’t quite get the idea of hunting for them, but she enjoys finding them and yelling gingerbread man with me.   I should try drawing them with her, but I think I’d need a stencil or something.

Any easy crafty suggestions are welcome.

App review- My Play Chef

My Play Chef for the iPad is a fun cooking app.   You can cook pancakes,  pasta and cupcakes and you can make sandwiches.   Each food item has its own set of interactive ingredients.

You tap the egg and it cracks, swipe the butter and it slices, you can tilt or swipe the measuring cup of flour or other items and it pours.   When all the ingredients are in the bowl you stir them and then the batter gets poured into a cupcake pan and put in the oven.  After they are cooked you can decorate them to your hearts content.  There’s plenty of colors of frosting and decorations.  R. is partial to purple.

The pancakes have similar ingredients, but a frying pan shows up instead of an oven and you get to flip the pancake.   When it is cooked, you can add toppings.

You get to select what type of pasta you want to cook.  R. always chooses spaghetti.  The water in the pan “boils” and you “dump” it into a colander.   Like the others, you can add toppings after it is cooked.

R. likes to assemble the sandwiches, she will slice the bread, add all the meats and cheeses, and pull off a lettuce leaf, slice tomato and onion and then she’ll add all the condiments.

You can save your creations for later in the app or in your photo album, or you can “eat” them.   When you select the eat option, each time you tap on the food a bite is taken out.  R. likes this.  I find it kind of ironic, because she will not eat a sandwich or pancakes, she acts like cooked pasta is a pile of eels.  She will only lick frosting off a cupcake.

I did purchase the paid version of this app.  The only difference I can see is that the free version has ads.   R. ended up on the National Guard website, so I figured I better upgrade it.   At $1.99, it is cheaper than any real play food we have.

There are limited options in this app, you can turn off the music and that is it.   For instructions there is a question mark in the upper right corner.  Pressing that will give written instructions.  I think it would be good to have an option that spoke the directions out loud.

It took about a week before R. could do all the steps herself.  You do have to do things in a certain order during the “cooking” process.   Once she had the ability and confidence to do that, the entire program was fun, not just the decorating.    I think this app is great because it is fun, and it also works on motor planning, fine motor skills and even pretend play.