Tech Solutions for Children with Developmental Delays

Boy with tablet demonstrating tech solutions for children with developmental delays

By Tarra Boris, Child In-Home Care Supervisor

 
Technology has become the center of everyday life for many children. A majority of the population revolve their lives around one form of technology or another. Children with developmental delays, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), can benefit greatly with the right apps. Apps can help them build positive coping mechanisms to assist with focus, calming, and task completion. The following website and apps can assist parents and children, including those with developmental delays in everyday life.

 

Social story creator- Lesson Pix

Yearly membership of $36 as little as $3 a month
I have been using this website to make social stories for some time. Lesson Pix is an easy-to-use online resource that allows users to create various customized learning materials. It is quite easy to navigate around,and user friendly. You can create numerous learning materials such as bingo, coloring sheets, short stories, certificates and much more! They offer a wide range of pictures to choose from and you can insert your own text. If you’re looking for ideas of a social story or want to create your own I would highly recommend this website.

Retrieved from http://lessonpix.com/

 

Sensory Magma

Free- Apple App Store
This app allows for the visual sensory system to be accommodated in a mobile way. “Sensory Magma is a simple calming and relaxing visual app for people with special/complex needs of ALL ages. Magma generates lava style slow moving effects, which when combined with music from the iPhone or iPad music player can be relaxing and also stimulating.” (Sensory Apps Ltd, 2013) If working with someone who benefits from the visual sensory stimuli, it would be a great reward to be used after accomplishing or focusing on tasks.
Retrieved from: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/sensory-magma/id647810604?mt=8

 

Give Me 5!!!!! Social Skills Multiplayer Game

$7.99-Apple App store
This social skills multiplayer game is a fun social skills App designed by a Developmental Specialist and a mom of a child with ASD. Its video learning is embedded into a gaming format. Real children are shown in real-life social scenarios covering eight areas of social skills: verbal and nonverbal communication, manners, self-awareness, situational awareness, perspective taking, emotional regulation, and gestalt understanding. There are five videos for each of these eight categories: manners, words, no words, understanding others, understanding me, calming feelings, people and places, and the big picture. It is meant to help children analyze social situations by looking for key social cues in these scenarios.
Retrieved from http://www.friendshipcircle.org/apps/browse/give-me-5-social-skills-multiplayer-copy/

 

If you try out any of these APPS or the Website, or find anything similar to share please don’t hesitate to send your comments to me at :  tarra@helpinghandsrespite.care

 

Managing Angry Outbursts

On occasion children, with special needs, in our care may present some difficult behaviors. First and foremost, it is important to use our skills of empathy and compassion. It is good to remember and understand that you are not dealing with a disability who has a person, but a person with a disability. We compassionately remember that in many cases this difficult behavior is not a result of a conscious or willful choice and it is almost always rooted in some precipitating event which can be avoided in the future. If it appears that an angry outburst is imminent there are some signs that the child is becoming frustrated and angry.  Here are some things to watch for:

Signs of Anger

  • Increased breathing rate
  • Clenching fists
  • Red face
  • Hand shaking
  • Sweating
  • Tense muscles
  • Teeth grinding, or jaw clenched
  • Screaming
  • Refusing
  • Physical attacks (hitting, scratching, biting)

What to Do in Managing Angry Outbursts at the Peak of the Crisis

1. Send others away from the area.
2. Increase distance from you and the child. Stand at least two leg lengths away from them. Instead of standing face-to-face, stand to the side (L-shape) of the child. Keep your hands out of your pockets, to your side and available to protect yourself. Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other with your weight evenly distributed. This stance is non-confrontational and non-threatening.Avoid a bite mark like this by positively managing angry outbursts says Helping Hands Respite Care's Child In-Home Care Supervisor Tarra Boris
3. Remove dangerous objects or attempt to get the child into a safer room.
4. Remain in control; stay calm and quiet. Anxiety can make the client feel anxious and unsafe which can escalate aggression. Allow yourself to disengage emotionally, and don’t take the behavior personally.
5. Use a pillow or cushion to protect yourself if the child strikes or tries to bite. You may put your arms and hands up to block an attack.
6. Take deep breaths to help you stay calm. Do not try to restrain the child! Physical intervention increases aggressive behavior and can inadvertently cause injury to you or to the child.
7. Remove yourself and/or the child to another room to give them time to regain sense of control. It makes it less likely for other individuals to get involved or become an audience for the agitated child. This also creates a quieter environment and may help in de-escalating the child.

This helpful guide was assembled by Helping Hands Respite Care’s Child In-Home Care Supervisor, Tarra Boris. Contact her at 517-372-6671 ext 103 or email tarra@helpinghandsrespite.care