I have been working with a local nursery who use iPads with their SEN children.
The nursery manager had a vision to use apps to help children make choices. There are apps designed to do this, but most are expensive or present many small symbols for the child to choose from.
My suggestion was Puppet Pals. Even though this app is designed for story telling, it is so versatile and can be used beyond story telling.
We photographed a variety of resources and areas of provision in the setting. We inserted these as ‘characters’ in the app. For the background scene, we photographed a white sheet of paper.
With the child, the nursery staff select 2 or 3 resource photographs (as characters) from the array in the app. The child can then select which of those large photographs on the screen they want to access first and next.
The images are large and they can be moved by the child easily too. There is no need to photograph, print and laminate picture cards on a weekly basis either. New photographs can easily be added as the environment changes.
Here’s what the nursery manager says:
“Using the Puppet Pals app helps this child with additional needs to choose acticities. We upload photographs of his favourite activities for him to choose in a large picture format, which is imprtant for this child as coordiation is very diffucult for him. He is getting along great using the app as a way of communicating his wants and needs. ”
Furthermore, the staff can record the conversation that they have with the child using the app. This can be played back to the child to show that they made that choice themselves and reinforces now and next.
Here is a short video of the app in use: