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.
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.