Ava is obsessed with a game, an iPhone app called FIRST WORDS. She likes the animals. It is a spelling game for toddlers where you drag the letters to form a word, like CAT, BIRD, DOG. Once you spell the word, the image moves and makes the sound of the animal. It is cute, and Ava is an expert at it. I don’t have to help her at all. She knows where the letters go and can turn my phone on, find the game and press play to activate it.
The problem? She cries! Hysterically. Her favorites are the BIRD (see above), CAT, FROG, and DUCK. When the image comes on the screen, she smiles, and then puffs out her lower lip, slowly dragging her finger to spell the word whining the entire time. By the time she spells the word, tears are flowing, she waits for the image to do its animation and make the sound and then she bursts out in full out tears once the image disappears. She is inconsolable and continues to play the game until her other favorites appear on the screen. This goes on and on. I tried taking the game away from her when she cries and giving it back when she calms down, but she cries HARDER. Waterworks. Woe is me, I am Ava Jolie!
The positive is, she is learning to spell and has really developed her matching skills. Her coping skills, not so much. She spells and repeats C-A-T. She says “meow” and “tweet tweet”. To be quite honest, she learned this from the game, not all the therapy she’s been doing for the past eight months.
She loves the game, and always snatches my iPhone to play it. Sometimes she presses the wrong buttons and calls back some of the people I’ve been avoiding. However, I do have to let her play the game in small intervals. She is getting really obsessed and really emotional when she plays it. Shouldn’t games be fun?
I also downloaded a few other games — mostly ABA flash cards and alphabet games. She loves letters. It is kind of cool that Ava has learned how to play a computer game at 2 years old — but I know that is somewhat typical for autistic children. If it helps her speak and communicate, that is great. But the meltdowns over the bird and cat, have to go!