So I consider myself pretty tech-savvy.
I worked for years as a software developer. And these days, when I’m feeling particularly self-injurious, I’ll try to teach graduate level courses in database management at a Boston university.
But I tend to resist the hype over the latest electronic toy and gadget.
I was a whopping 27 years old when I got my first cell phone (-and I’m not that old, they’d been around for years)…
so I’m still a little shocked that we bought my 6-year old an iPod Touch.
Rhema has not spent much time on a computer. Some time ago I tried working with her at the computer but ended up discouraged pretty quickly. The keyboard was a toy to pound. She could not make the connection between the cursor movement and my hand guiding her hand. She lost interest in less than 30 seconds.
When we visited my friend Carrie last month, she gently approached Rhema with her iPhone. I was afraid Rhema was going to take the thing and use it as a frisbee. Or dance on it. Or lick it.
Even when she did not destroy the device, I still had my doubts. Whatever Carrie wanted to show her would require that Rhema attend to the screen. It might require fine motor skills and movement she for which she was not ready. And while I believe Rhema can figure out just about anything I did not know if she was going to get this in a weekend.
But Carrie knew exactly what she was doing. She had the perfect game for Rhema – a shape builder game in which shapes are dragged and dropped into a puzzle. Once the puzzle is completed, the image is revealed and the word for the image is spoken in a clear voice. Perfect.
Rhema instantly understood the concept of the game. (She rocks like that!) But it took a little bit for her to learn how to manipulate the shapes with her finger. She kept pressing too hard, and the pieces would not move. I was worried she’d get impatient and frustrated, but Carrie urged her on, showing her how to touch the screen lightly.
Before long, Rhema was completing puzzle after puzzle. I. was. thrilled. Here is something my baby can do! And it’s something she seems to enjoy!
So I dropped a couple hundred on an iPod Touch. And then there was 20 bucks for the two-year warranty. And 20 bucks for the silicone case. And then I laughed out loud to discover that the gotta-have-it-perfect-for-my-girl app was a mere 99 cents.
I know I’m late to the show. I’d heard about the apps being made for children with autism. I’d read the blogs about iPods making it easier for our kids to navigate an overwhelming world. I’d even imagined the possibility of nonverbal individuals using iPhone applications to communicate.
But watching my daughter succeed at that 99 cent game got me hooked.
Consider me converted.
On to the next app!