Sunday, January 30, 2011

Adapted Computer Games

I am always looking for ways to incorporate technology options into Emma's entertainment and skill building (eye hand coordination, cause and effect, timing, etc.).  I have an older iBook that runs great with the internet and doesn't have any must-keep files on the hard drive so I've designated that as the girls' computer. 

Julia loves to play on the pbskids.org website and we have used the helpkidzlearn website with both Julia and Emma.  We also have a lot of files on powerpoint that move forward with a click of a switch but they don't seem to keep Emma's attention for too long.  Recently, Emma's teacher told me about the hiyah.net website and we are so happy that she did!  If you go to the website and select the Play Online tab at the top it brings you to a screen with a lot of different options.  We've only just started to explore all the options on this site so I can't speak for too many of the options, but I will say that we always wind up on Songs and Stories.  Clicking the Songs and Stories tab brings you to a screen of favorite songs - The Wheels on the Bus, Old McDonald and This is the Way.  Emma LOVES playing with these songs and you can open each of them in their own window so the song/game fills the screen.

We use the Don Johnson Switch Interface Pro to connect our switch to the laptop.  The school district had one available for Emma's use at home so we didn't have to buy one.  If you are interested in switch adapting your computer you might want to see if your school has one to lend out or if your state's assistive technology lending library has one available for you to "try it before you buy it."  We tried a couple fancier interfaces, but like this one the best.  

The really nice thing about the songs on this site is that there are so many photos to keep the child's attention.  For each line of the song there is a photo and to continue hearing the song the child needs to push the switch to get to the next line of the song along with a new photo.  This keeps Emma's interest up and she played the songs for about 40 minutes the other day with minimal assistance from me.  Ok, I'll come clean and admit that I hovered a bit while she was playing but she pretty much told me she wanted to do it herself.  She is really asserting her independence these days and is trying to do so many things herself.  Since there are so few things that Emma can actually do herself I was so happy to find a site that keeps her interest and has games that she can actually do all by herself!  That alone has me giving the hiyah.net site rave reviews.

For computer games I usually position Emma in her stander.  It is the perfect height for her to see the computer screen on the table and has a surface to position her switch.  It's also a way for me to sneak in some work on strengthening her neck without her realizing it.  

If you try out the website, let me know what you think.  And, if you have any other favorite websites that work with switches I'd love to hear about them - just leave me a comment or send me an email.  Thanks!

2 Comments from readers:

Angela said...

I am glad Emma is showing some independence, it's good for her.

She looks so cute staring at the computer.

23 weekers said...

How fun for Emma. Kinnick loves the computer games, too. Carver still doesn't "Get them".

We bought the size Medium Merry Muscles. The small goes up to 40 lbs, but we wanted plenty of room to grow. We snapped the snaps as tight as possible and there is still tons of extra room, so it will last a really long time.