Thinking Beyond the App for Older Kids With Autism by Tina Dolcetti
I have a somewhat tech based program one hour program I offered today for those who provide programs for older children and teens with autism. I have a small but strong core group who communicate mainly through iPads and communication devices.
We start our day off with a brief demonstration of what we are doing that day. I place picture signs on our felt board. Our schedule remains the same: Crafts, followed by movement activities, then books.
Each session, I hook my device (phone or iPod) to a CD player to play background music based in part on the special interests of participants. Yes, my playlist includes Shakira, Toy Story, Barney, the Wiggles and Katie Perry.
This week, our craft was decorating iPad covers that I had purchased inexpensively at our local dollar store using dollar store stickers and left over duct tape.
Our movement game was app-themed. Because half of the group loves Toy Story, I designed a real life version of the app Smash It. In the app, Buzz throws objects to knock aliens off of block towers. In real life, I taped pictures of aliens to shirt-boxes that were left over from another craft, and left over boxes from book shipments. With each successful ‘knockdown’ an additional level is added to the tower to increase the difficulty in knocking it over!
I must admit that most of the success of the one hour program was due to the initiative of the mentor that accompanied each teen incorporating him or her into the activity.
Moose Jaw Public Library
MISt, University of Toronto