I have been meaning to do an update on our iPad for a while now. As I was going to title this post, I did a quick check to see how long it's been and surprisingly it was exactly one month ago today that I posted our first update!
So, here we are one month in. Ayden's time is closely monitored on the iPad because he literally could playALL DAY without stopping. We usually do about an hour a day split into two sessions (morning and afternoon). He is required to play with other toys in order to get his time, so in a way it's used as a reward. It's especially interesting to me that it calms him as much as it does. Normally speaking, video games shouldn't do that. Our FXS doctor actually recommended not allowing any tv or video games an hour before bed or nap when discussing sleep issues. It is quite the opposite with Ayden and we find he will fall asleep much better or be more calm after playing (if he tolerates his time being up). With his anxiety issues, any kind of activity that he can do himself to calm down is fantastic. We were given a bean bag chair by Ayden's uncle, and I also try to keep one of his iPad sessions in that chair as well. Double sensory calming? Yes, please!
I've said before Ayden says about 5 words, but none of them consistent and certainly not spontaneous. He has quite officially begun saying his first consistent word and using it properly without prompting. It's usually the first word out of his mouth in the morning even.... "iPad!" I'm sure he'll love hearing this story when he is older too!
Onto the apps.... I'm going to start reviewing some of these Ayden plays a lot soon, first I want to figure out how to screenshot them a bit. I should know how..but haven't sat down and figured it out yet. We'll get there though!
We have a decent amount of apps for Ayden to play with right now. First among those is Angry Birds. It's the first app he went to, the first app he asked for...and definitely the first app he plays when he sits down. We let him saturate on Angry Birds right away at first and didn't force him to do anything else. I've learned from experience that letting him get to the point of realizing he's "done" with something is much easier than forcing him. Our entire day will be ruined if I force him, and that just isn't good for anyone. It took a few weeks, but he slowly started moving into other apps. I was really focusing on letters, numbers, colors, and shapes when looking for apps to add - and let's just say there are a TON. I was fairly certain Ayden knew these things - but output is so difficult for him without proper motivation. I am ecstatic to be able to say now that he definitely knows all his letters (upper and lowercase), at least the numbers 1-5 (I'm actually thinking it is higher, but he doesn't play with number games much), all his basic colors, all his basic shapes, can match similar objects, play memory games, as well as identify most farm and zoo animals. Oh, and he can put together 20 piece puzzles. He's also starting to understand different emotions. This seems like an odd thing to know, but one of the apps he has shows you a face and says if it's happy, sad, mad etc... There is a lot more I've noticed, but these are the big ones for us. Basic skills that most 4 year olds have, but I wasn't sure we were there with Ayden. Being with him all the time, I suspected he knew all this, but to SEE it. To know without a doubt he understands, he comprehends...it's amazing and wonderful and just leaves me speechless.
When I was explaining about the contest that started all of this for us...I said this:
"To be certain, it [an iPad] is not something Ayden needs or we would have figured out a way to swing it. However, I cannot deny how much this tool could help him."
Today, I am officially eating my words. I could never have dreamed that this device could bring so much joy to Ayden as it has. I couldn't have imagined how much it would positively affect our lives. I certainly wouldn't have thought after just a mere month that he would be giving us the output he is and continuing to build on that knowledge and learn in a way that we can watch and see progress and track. Most children have their voice and communicate their knowledge in that fashion. For Ayden, that iPad is his voice right now and what a beautiful voice it is. I love the fact I can get a glimpse into the head of my 4 year old in a way he enjoys. I couldn't have ever asked for a better gift for him or for us.