24 March 2011

Don't set your sights too low

I had bought an alphabet app yesterday that after loading and playing with it felt it wasn't going to work for Liam. I felt it would be way too hard for Liam to use. I was disappointed but figured it would be something we could work toward. Each letter has an interactive screen with different skills needed for each one. For example, the B for beach needs to be hit at a small little bucket in the corner of the screen to build a sand castle. The H for hat needs Liam to pick the hat up to see the hamster underneath. The L for light bulb requires pressing and holding the bulb for it to light up. It's a great app but requires a lot of different motions and control that Liam has major difficulties doing.

When Liam's OT showed up yesterday I showed her the app and we sat Liam in front of it. She wanted to see how he would do even though I told her it probably wasn't the best for him. First of all, him liking it was not an issue. Liam was interested from the get go and reached out to activate the apple on the first page. The OT held the iPad and tried to keep Liam away from the corners so he wouldn't accidentally change the page he was working on. He unfortunately did that quite often but with his arm control it was to be expected.

We were thrilled to see him like it, thrilled to see him activating the pages and thrilled to give Liam an outlet to learn. I was just happy to see that it wasn't totally beyond Liam's abilities to use this app!

Fast forward to tpday.

I had to bring the iPad for Liam's private therapies today. I knew they would be excited to see that Liam had one and to see him use it. We had speech first and I was most excited to show it to Becky. She's seen Liam make so much progress in his receptive skills and arm skills.  I started up the alphabet app telling her that it required a bit more out of Liam than what we normally do. I would never have guessed that Liam would operate that app like he'd been doing it for ages. Not only was he doing exactly what he needed to do on each page, he was gently touching the corner to go to the next page. He did beautifully. I couldn't believe it. After just the one time playing it yesterday he had already 'mastered' what needed to be done on each page.

By the time we got to OT, our last stop for the day, I thought I would see if I could get Liam to target specifically the head of the dinosaur for D. I asked him to show Ms Heidi what happens when he touches the dinosaurs head. He perfectly picked his hand up off the belly of the dinosaur and touched the head to make it roar. Heidi's eyes got huge and she said exactly what I was thinking. He understands so much more than he is able to let on! I then stopped his playtime to go and he instantly burst into tears. 

I can't explain how much it means to see Liam cry over wanting something. He is just so easy going and he's so used to his body not working, that life just goes on around him while he watches. But now he has something to do! I am so proud of him. He loves learning and this iPad has put the world at his fingertips!

*The app is called Interactive Alphabet

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