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Education/Learning, Perspiration & Butterscotch — May 12, 2016 at 8:35 am

Autism Skill Building: 7 simple iPad games

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It’s a common issue: there are environments where it’s not appropriate to be loud or in constant motion, and while people might be willing to make some exception for children, they are generally less accommodating for our adult friends and family on the spectrum.

Enter the iPad. It’s portable, engaging, and can be used independently. Now, there are challenges to getting started. I worked with a young lady who LOVED watching movies on a portable DVD player, but when we tried to show her an iPad, she turned it upside-down and pushed it away for days. People on the spectrum are often resistant to change, so even things they one day enjoy might be work at first. The key? Start small and simple. Try and take advantage of skills the learner already has in the real world and generalize them into the virtual one. If they already have some experience with a computer, this might be easy. Focus on one skill at a time, even if you have to use games that don’t seem age appropriate. Imagine if you were trying to learn to read a new language and someone said, “It’s really not age-appropriate for you to be reading picture books, here is a novel.”

The primary goal here is independence. Try to pick games that can be easily navigated and won’t need someone there to help load or troubleshoot. Here’s what I look for in iPad games for iPad beginners:

  1. No ads
  2. Games with skills the learner already has
  3. Simple set-up (not a lot of options to get to gameplay)
  4. No written instructions
  5. Multiple levels (increasing difficulty/complexity)
  6. Clear goal
  7. fun sounds or animation

 

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Originator Inc.: ENDLESS READER

  • Free edition available to try it out
  • Beyond adorable animations and sounds
  • Game: Matching letters to outlines
  • Cost:
    • In-app purchases of word bundles
      • $8.48 CAD per reader pack
      • $16.99 CAD for bundles of 4 reader packs
      • $39.99 CAD for bundle of all 12 reader packs
  • Other Originator Inc. apps and bundles are available, they’re also great! Check out their full listing:


 whatsmypair1 whatsmypair2  whatsmypair3

Tiny Hands: WHAT’S MY PAIR ( I, II, III)

  1. No verbal of written directions
  2. Graduated difficulty through levels as well as app sequence
  3. Free versions are great for probing whether it’s a good fit and where to start teaching
  4. Game: Matching – Graduated complexity
    **Detailed descriptions of each level in the app can be found under “More” in the iTunes game descriptions
  5. Cost: $5.49 CAD each for full versions(Game bundles available with other Tiny Hands apps)
  6. Check out the full listing of games by Tiny Hands HERE.

sorting1  sorting2  sorting3

Tiny Hands: SORTING (I, II, III) 

  • Only available on iOS (links in pictures above)
  • Graduated difficulty through levels as well as app sequence
  • Free versions are great for probing whether it’s a good fit and where to start teaching
  • Game:  Sorting – graduated complexity
    **Detailed descriptions of each level in the app can be found under “More” in the iTunes game descriptions
  • Cost: 5.49 CAD each for full versions (Game bundles available with other Tiny Hands apps)
  • Check out the full listing of games by Tiny Hands HERE.

 

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POLKA-DOTS

  • iOS version only
  • Very catchy song
  • 60 second timed games
  • Game:
    • Attend to colour at top of screen (appears in text/colour format)
    • Touch dots that correspond to the colour at the top of the screen
    • Close ads between games by touching the small “x”
  • Cost: Free (thin ad bar across top of screen, occasional pop-up ads between games)

 

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FISHING WITH GRANDPA

  • iOS version only
  • Verbal directions given in super-fantastic “grandpa” voice
  • Game: Matching, following verbal directions, puzzle with watermark prompt, maze, measuring, quantity recognition.
    **Detailed descriptions of each level in the app can be found under “More” in the iTunes game description
  • Cost: 3.99 CAD

 

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COMMUNITY HELPERS

  • Free version available
  • Great for learners who like community helpers to begin with – each task is presented as helping the community helper with their job.
  • Game: Following verbal directions, matching lowercase and uppercase letters, sorting, matching, pattern replication, counting, verifying letter sounds.
    **Detailed descriptions of each level in the app can be found under “More” in the iTunes game description, and “Read More” in Google Play game description.
  • Cost: for ad-free version: $2.79 CAD

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WOOD PUZZLE MAZE HD

  • iOS version only
  • Game: Use finger to navigate through a variety of themed mazes (17 Mazes – 3 Halloween, 3 Holiday)
  • Cost:  $1.39 CAD

 

These games have been tried and tested and are favourites of more than one of the clients I’ve worked with. If you’re looking for a game with a particular skill or interest in mind, leave a comment below and I’ll let you know if I have any good ones in my metaphorical Mary Poppins bag!

 


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