($94.99 at time of review, iPad only)
How do I know this will work?
You don't know. This is not a miracle cure, nor will it be the right fit for everyone, but there are several steps you can take beforehand to give your child the best shot at succeeding with TOBY Playpad. I can say that I have used this with my own two (verbal) children on the spectrum, and a handful of nonverbal preschoolers, and was excited to see them all interested and engaged in the program, with at least some successes for all. However, I had in mind who might be a good fit before even introducing the program to them.
Here is a questionnaire to help you determine whether TOBY Playpad might be a good fit for your child:
and here is a link to the light version to trial with your child: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toby-playpad-lite/id566484707?mt=8
Be committed. TOBY Playpad will require time and commitment on the part of the parent (or educator) implementing it. Some of the tasks are more independent, but almost all will require your input or facilitation. If you are prepared to put in the time for this program, and have taken the steps to ensure it was the right fit, my hope is you will be as pleased with the outcome as I have been. That said, you can see fit to use the parts of the program that fit your child's needs as well as your lifestyle.
You can also get in touch with TOBY Playpad. TOBY Playpad welcomes feedback from you and is happy to answer questions/ troubleshoot. Developer comment: we have support available for anyone experiencing any problems with the Lite or Full Version – firstname.lastname@example.org
Wish List ( I always have one)
I have probably scrutinized this app more than any before - If someone asked me to pick just one "Autism App" - excluding essential AAC apps for communication for a moment - this would be the one I would recommend first. So I am nitpicky not because there is anything wrong with this app - in fact I see this app as very valuable to the autism community. I have a couple of ideas for options that I feel would benefit more children globally and that would better adapt the program for use in a therapy setting as well.
My first wish would be a way to address the differences in vocabulary and pronunciation, as some of the items are markedly different - a stroller is a "pram" for example. This is especially true for many of the clothing items. For example, a swimsuit, from what I can make out of the Australian accent, is called "bathers" . A tshirt is called singlet. Flip flops are thongs, etc. The pronunciation for leggings is really different, as well as for items in the Household Objects set, such as radio. On the upside, my 5 year old now can identify and label foods such as a sultana! (I will let my fellow North Americans go look that one up). Anyhow, if I were given the option to record over the vocabulary item with the American equivalent, that would be fabulous. In fact so as to not to be selfish in wanting an American version, recording would allow access for anyone with the ability to read in Australian English. This would be ideal for parents to work with their child in their home language, or for working with students who are second language learners. Developer Response: Record button – we’re working on how a record button can be incorporated as there have been several requests for language translations J This might be a little way off due to resource limitations but it’s definitely on our wish list too J
A written prompt option would also be super for noisy classrooms when completing some of the iPad tasks. I know a quiet environment is ideal, but that is often not the reality in a school setting. For loud classrooms, instead of relying on the voice instructions/replay button when an instruction is missed*, the facilitator could announce what to find "Find _____ " etc. (*Just to be clear, there is currently a "replay" button available to users when instructions are missed- I have found this very useful for occasional interruptions/ unexpected noises). Having a written label option would also be a work-around for an English-speaking facilitator working with a student whose language is not English. The facilitator could read the label and voice the word for the child in his language. Also thinking ahead - a written label option would allow a child to work on reading, using the vocabulary already familiar to the child through using TOBY Playpad! This could also be a way to expand use of TOBY to other children with other learning difficulties. Developer response: Written labels – we’ll take this to the team, the thing we’ll need to problem solve it that the written word is potentially a prompt for the child, so we would need to be very careful when and how this is used. We want to ensure that the child is able to pay attention to the auditory word before they pay attention to the written word. But great food for thought in terms of how to make more advanced options available once skills were achieved J
I would love to see the option to include a personal video or photo illustrating a favorite toy or activity - when a reward is reached a portion of the video would play or a timer would indicate how long to play with the child's preferred item. The built in rewards are really fun and the kiddos I have used them with have enjoyed them. However I have worked with children in the past who need something more personal to them in order to be motivated. My youngest took to the idea of playing with castle blocks after completing his TOBY time. It would be wonderful to have an image of us playing the castle blocks to access when the reward has been reached. Developer Response: Customisable Rewards – this is also on our wishlist J
Customizable Lists of Vocabulary to Target
I would love to have access to a list of all vocabulary used and an option to turn words on/off to focus on the child's strengths and/or weaknesses. This would be useful for a therapy setting - for example a speech provider could focus on vocabulary within TOBY Playpad to address a specific speech and language goal.
Developer Response: Customisable Vocab List – this is something we can add to our wish list.
Specific data scoring and emailing of work samples
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