Last week Abi discovered a new skill: playing iPad games with her face. Parents of kids with mobility challenges will understand this- independent play is heaven. When your child is relying on you to present them with a toy, move it for them, and help them use it, you can feel that you’re the sole provider of playtime. Therefore, when you find avenues that allow for independent play, it can be life changing.
A long time ago I downloaded some musical apps onto our iPad. We would put Abi in her corner chair, place the iPad on her desk, and then place her hands near or on the screen and model what to do. While she was having success some days, most of the time, she was still needing assistance to use her hands to activate them.
Well last week, while we were hunkered down during a snowy day with no school, I randomly decided to try one of those apps again. This time, instead of putting it on the desk with her chair, I let her stay on the comfy blankets by the heater and scoot the screen as close to her as possible. Before long this was happening:
That’s not a picture of her just looking at the game. That’s a picture of her PLAYING THE GAME. Very quickly she discovered that if she pressed her cheek onto the keys she could make them play. She was THRILLED and very proud of herself. (There’s a video of her playing it on my Instagram). For TWO HOURS she played this game, all the time laughing hysterically. Different levels offered different songs, sounds, and corresponding characters. The whole app was maybe $2.
This has so many implications for the future. Not only does it reinforce the fact that she’s been successfully learning how to use head switches at school, but it provides an immediate way to play more games, try more apps, and hopefully one day communicate with a device. HECK YES.
Cheers to a phenomenal snow day, to cheap (but amazing) technology, and to my brilliant gal who rocks life so hard!