Sarah “Mouse” Scharfenaker

There are millions of great apps out there. Here are some guidelines as to how to pick ’em.

  1. What is your goal in using a specific app?
    • Reinforcing/practicing concepts from therapies?
    • Keep the child busy with simple learned activities?
    • Interaction with other individuals?
    • Teach a new skill? (for example, reading, speech, handwriting, augmentative communication)
  2. Once you’ve determined why you want an app, it is good to decide if an app is presented in a way that is interesting or challenging to your child and if it is presented in a way that meets the Fragile X learning style, which is as follows:

    In general, children with FXS demonstrate:

    • Simultaneous, not sequential learning. This is counterintuitive for many educators and therapists. Remember to teach by showing the finished product first, rather than through a sequential, step by step process. If you start an activity or event, remember to indicate when it is done. It is important for a beginning and end to be designated.
    • Visual, not auditory learning. Augment teaching with picture schedules, visual cues and visual modeling.
    • Excellent verbal and social imitation skills. Children will easily imitate behaviors or mannerisms of others.
    • Incidental learning. This is learning by passive observation of activities or events. You may think a child with FXS, sitting on the outside of a group being instructed, is not paying attention, however, it is highly likely that the child IS attending and learning the task, even though he or she is on the periphery.
    • Strong memory for routines, videos, TV shows. Integrate interest areas into learning materials.
    • Developed sense of humor. Use this strength to develop therapy materials and adapt curriculum.
    • Uncanny social drive. Use as inherent motivator!
  3. Part of #2 is determining if the child completes the app themselves or if adult interaction is needed. Does the app have a natural beginning and end, or will the adult have to supply that via a visual cue.
  4. Sometimes you need to just try an app and see if it is a good fit!

Have fun with them!