As many of you who are regular visitors to my blog will know, I have a 3 year old son, Archer. Late last year, after showing symptoms for many months beforehand, he was diagnosed with Autism. I’ve gone over his diagnosis and subsequent support services in previous posts (here and here). One thing he’s really taken to recently is my old iPad. He loved the YouTube Kids app, being able to swipe through and pick videos that he wanted to watch.
Seeing him beginning to grasp the mechanics and interface of the iPad gave us the idea that he might enjoy more interactive experiences. With this intent, we spoke with his teacher at the pre-school he attends, and she showed us some of the more popular apps of the other kids who attend the service. This gave us a good place to start, and while perusing the ‘5 & under’ section of the App store, I stumbled across this app called Endless Reader. The premise seemed simple enough, kids pick a word, then drag the letters of that word over silhouettes, spelling the word. The app was free with a handful of words, with an in app purchase unlocking the whole library of words.
It took a little while for Archer to get the hang of it, but when he did, he was very excited to show us he knew how. Its been a delight to watch him work through frustration of not getting it right, before matching the letter shapes with their respective spots.
When the word is spelled correctly, the letters jump around and a sound effect of a multitude of kids shout the word out loud. Because of this, Archer has improved his speech skills, by mimicking the sound of the word. At this stage, he knows the words ‘all’, ‘ball’, ‘dog’, ‘help’, and ‘yellow’, just to name a few. While he doesn’t grasp what these words are and how to use them in context, the fact that his brain is learning to structure the sounds he makes into words is a huge step forward.
This app is brilliant. One of my worries, being an american app, was that they would include localised spellings of cwertain words (mom, color, etc), however in the first pack I purchased there were no such words; with ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ being swapped for ‘mother’ and ‘father’ respectively.
While the $17.99(Aud) price tag to unlock all 100 or so words in the first pack seemed a little steep at first, the amount of fun and development Archer has received from it is well worth every cent. I cannot reccomend this app highly enough, not just for Autistic children, but any pre-school child looking to a head start on spelling and vocabulary. Links to both the iTunes and android versions are listed below. I can’t speak for the android version, but the iTunes version works on both iPad and iPhone, with only one purchase required to unlock the extra content.
Thanks for reading
Endless Reader – Originator Software