A child doesn’t have to be on the Autistic Spectrum to be difficult to buy for, however when they’re not able to verbalise what they’d like to have as a new present, or often not willing to accept new things into their lives or a change of activity into their routine without it turning into a melt down it makes it a massive challenge for everyone at times like Christmas and Birthdays.
As we seemed to hit gold with Theo this birthday I thought I’d share a review of his new found favourite educational toy and all the benefit’s we’ve found to go along with it!
Here I introduce to you the LeapReader made by LeapFrog,
The LeapReader is an audio pen that allows the child to interact with books, maps and activity sets to aid in developing skills such as listening, reading and writing. Discovering through stories and games with favourite characters such as Disney, Cbeebies, Nickelodeon to name a few in area’s such as Mathematics, Social Studies, Science in a fun and hidden way!
To get started you charge the pen, you are provided with a USB connection lead, connect to an internet accessible computer, and follow the instructions to install LeapFrog Connect. This tool gives you easy access to the application store where you can find the download resources for the books that you buy. Connect also gives you a link to the Learning Path which gives you a history of your child’s usage of the LeapReader, details which books are most commonly read, activities most commonly used and suggest new material that your child may be interested in!
Once you’ve downloaded the audio software for the products that you’ve purchased it’s all go! Jump from book to book, page to page, map back to book, if it’s installed it’ll automatically recognise the item and take you on that learning adventure. So the child can just pick it up and play!
The positives that we’ve found with Theo
Bigger interest in books
More word repetition (maybe doesn’t know how to use the word in sense but has increased his vocabulary!)
Improved fine motor skills
Improved concentration time on specific subjects
Introduced new topics of interest
Improved social sharing to include others to read with him
I admit that the books and accessories to go with the LeapReader can be quite expensive however I’ve found that on www.amazon.co.uk you can buy lots cheaper! You just have to be very careful that you’re buying for the LeapReader and NOT the LeapTag system.
My first piece of requested advice (yay!) has been from a respite carer based in America who has been caring for a 7 year old Autistic lad for four months. Her problem is that while out and about the little boy has very openly and matter of factly pointed out the differences of other people, it hasn’t mattered on the situation, colour, ability, disability, walking aids, wheelchairs, you name it as soon as a difference is noted the little boy feels that he has to comment on it. With it not being visible that the little boy himself has Autism the carer has faced verbal assaults, disgusted and judgemental comments and facial expressions, being judged and labelled because she “hasn’t brought up her son properly”. The family have tried talking to the little boy about how he’s making others feel by doing it, he doesn’t understand or remember this and continues to do it.
Personally I’ve never come across this situation, well, the judgemental people towards my parenting and looks I have but it’s always stemmed from public meltdowns or overly loud screaming etc. it’s never been because of comments about others. So any advice that someone may be able to offer would be greatly received!!
My Suggestion –
The way that I would gear Theo up to acceptance of others, if he wasn’t obsessed with the program already, would be to let him watch “Something Special”. The program is shown on a BBC channel called Cbeebies, which is aimed at children with development delays. They include the use of Makaton signing (for visual learners), show clips of children with various disabilities and difficulties, cover situations that can seem terrifying to children like the doctors, dentists, hairdressers etc. Lots of the program is directed to children through song which helps to keep their interest too. I hope that you’re able to view the video but if you’re not able too try searching http://www.youtube.com to see if there is any that are viewable out of the UK (Damned licensing laws!). If you are finding these clips available to view there are loads of them on there, plenty of viewing if the little boy will tolerate it!!
Failing that perhaps your SALT could suggest visual books that would be appropriate?
I genuinely believe that the more common and normal it is that children with or without ASD see people with differences the more that differences are accepted! I hope this helps and I hope that other people come forwards with their suggestions!