When we started Liam’s vision therapy months ago, we never knew how many neat gadgets and toys were out there to aid in training a child’s eye to perform simple tasks that we take for granted each day. Command the eye to move left to right, up and down without head movement, follow a straight path, flash back and forth between two objects without loosing track of the objects, all of these normal day to day things our eyes do are not so easy when your eyes are like Liam’s. Of all the devices our two vision therapists used to help Liam accomplish these small tasks one stuck out to us the most. Not because the object was something we had never seen before, but because the object--- that we had seen on TV, in stores, in classrooms, everywhere we turned, right in front of us---was the one object you would NEVER consider handing to a toddler.
Guess it’s true what they say; there really is an app for everything.
When our vision therapist first took out her iPad I was in shock. My first thoughts as I watch is Liam please, please don’t break it!! And, to my surprise, he didn’t. (Not yet anyway.) To add even more to my surprise, I know it must have shown up all over my face at the time, Liam interacted with the device better than most of the toys she had been trying on him all day. He would point to the bear flashing across the screen, touch the bubbles floating by, and even giggled out of enjoyment when he watched the black and white shapes fade in and out on the screen. She told us that if we started him early enough at home practicing on the iPad, as well as in his vision therapy sessions, she thought he would get used to using it and we would start to see some improvements in his vision faster.
Then she turned to us and asked, “Do you have an iPad?” Brian and I both looked at each other. We will soon! I knew he thought with me. We had both purchased iPhones (which will allow you to do some of the vision therapy apps but not all because the screen is too small) and never thought of a need for an iPad. Now we had one, and it’s name was Liam. Before our therapist left, we had her jot down some of the main apps that she would be using with Liam in their sessions and then we came up with a list of our own via Google and exploring the app store. With a final total somewhere over 50, I thought I would share some of our top favorites that we find very helpful in Liam’s vision therapy sessions. At our next vision therapy session, I plan on getting the entire list of apps from our vision therapist and I will post those as well. So here goes….
Tap and See Zoo-- Black screen, small red animal that you must follow as it bounces across the screen and once they locate and sucessfully touch it it will expand the size of the screen with a loud triumpant noise.
ArtofGlow—black screen that you doodle on with lights which can be made into different colors, shapes and then made to flash quickly or slowly, etc.
Lava—tilt the screen every which direction to make the bright yellow lava move and splash around the black screen
Bouncyball lite—track the bouncing red ball across the black screen, make it bounce faster with your touch (size and color of the ball can be changed)
Fluidtoy- not one of my favorites but moves waves of color through the screen and each touch sends out more spiraling waves
Infant Visual Stimulation- *this app does COST MONEY to purchase*- shows high contrast red, white, and black images
Fluidity- (a favorite of ours because it’s just like our light box) this app has flowing colorful gel in which you push around waves and make movements with each swipe or touch of your finger (color can be changed in settings)
Farmyard Friends—flashcards of animals in high and low contrast
HighContrast-- Flashing images in high contrast
Baby Bright— *this app does COST MONEY to purchase*- Gives different high contrast and color images, letters, shapes, and numbers for different age brackets.
Baby Silencer—Gives colorful displays of lights on black background to stimulate vision
Kolorami—is mostly for individuals who are colorblind: it reads color degrees and shades in images that you have taken
Magnifying Glass—uses your phones camera to magnify things and can be changed into high or low contrast as well