I'm looking at you, Mr App Developer

I heard the latch of the gate being lifted.  Then I heard the giggles.  I ran to the door, and there was my Smiley girl, delighted to be home for the holidays.   Another happy year at school is over.  Well apart from a two week summer camp anyway.

Yesterday I was at her school: for a meeting and an IEP Review, which is always a joy to attend, because every teacher says lovely things about her!  And she has made some progress since last September:

....Her choice-making has improved, and she regularly uses pictures to make clear choices.

...She now understands and responds to a large number of Lámh signs.  Memo to self: must use them at home too.

...Cooking has always been something that she enjoys - especially the results.  Now she is enjoying the process more since the school introduced her to jelly switches, which enable her to control food mixers and liquidisers.  Can't wait to get one of those for home use too.

And then we started talking about the iPad and toys and how to keep her entertained with something that is age-appropriate - one little phrase that causes hackles to rise in so many people.  Once upon a time I was determined that she would be just like other children.  So I taught her to drink through a straw, bought her aprons to use instead of bibs, and discouraged the use of rattles and other baby things.    But now I can see that if a child - or adult - with severe disabilities wants to play with or use something, then it should not matter if it is obviously aimed at a younger age group.

But you see that doesn't quite work with my daughter.  And it was very reassuring to hear her teacher agree with me:  Give Smiley a toy or app at her intellectual level but designed to appeal to a 2 year old and she may play with it briefly, but will soon discard it, and sometimes she actually does look offended!

Well would you like this if you were 16?

Most toys have the same problem - and her teacher agreed with me that the iPad is just perfect for her, but most of the apps for her developmental level are not.

So Mr or Mrs App Developer, why can't there be more apps like this?

Suitable for any age, yes?
I'm sure I'll be asking that question more than once as the summer holidays slowly unfold.  But today went well: in typical teen style she enjoyed TV, cake, a little light exercise, and a Katy Perry party in the kitchen thanks to Vevo - now that is an entirely age appropriate App!

Like MTV the way it used to be :)
In other news, Smiley made it onto the main evening news for her role in this week's protests against planned cuts to special needs education. Although by this stage she was fed up with looking at other people's backs and had stopped smiling...


  1. She is such a great kid. Can't blame her for not smiling in that picture..lovely to hear about all of her progress in school..I hope it is easy to get the jelly switches (?) for cooking...As for finding suitable apps...maybe you and your Smiley are going to have to become inventors! (we have had Katie Perry dance/sing alongs as well...oh if only I could get my girls into Led Zeppelin! :0

    1. I've still to find out where to get jelly switches, but I'll have to now I've posted on here :) As for her musical taste I have been educating her too, and she is just as happy singing along to Nirvana or The Pogues or The Dandy Warhols or any of the other stuff I like :)

      As for Led Zeppelin, did you know that various band members lived in my home town...

  2. What are three or four apps you would like to see to give developers an idea of what would be welcome/appropriate?

    1. Thanks for your interest Brigid: I think what is needed is perhaps alternative versions of existing apps for young children but with less babyish graphics - like the way that adult can buy Harry Potter Books with different covers...

    2. Not being a mum I don't really know much about what apps might be useful/interesting/fun - have you got something specific in mind?