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Apps and technology

The iPad & Students with Visual and Multiple Disabilities: Apps for Kids with CVI

Suggestions for iPad apps for students with cortical visual impairment (CVI) or who are visually impaired with multiple disabilities.

The iPad can be a great tool to help kids with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI).  Specific apps can be used to encourage visual attention and visual motor skills, whereas other apps can be used to help develop visual motor integration and fine motor skills.  There are so many apps that fall into this category – it is hard to keep up with all of them.  Here are a few basic CVI related apps to get you started!

1.  Mount the iPad so it’s in the student’s preferred/best visual field.

Student with a visual impairment and other disabilities using an iPad

Be sure to turn off multitasking gestures as well. See my previous blog post about how to do both of these things. 

2.  Apps designed specifically for kids with CVI

Little Bear Sees (in conjunction with Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind) is making apps just for kids with CVI.  Their first one, called Tap-n-See Zoo is a cause-and-effect app.  Different single colored animals move on the screen.  When the student touches it, a sound plays and it grows larger.  With the paid version, you can control the color, size, and speed of the moving animal.  Multiple finger taps are OK.  It is currently $1.99.  The same company makes a more complicated app called “My Talking Picture Board”.  This one is pricey for an app (currently $19.99), but allows you to upload photos or images and custom-make photo arrays with reward actions and increased visual complexity over time.  I haven’t used this one, so I’d love to hear comments from anyone who has used “My Talking Picture Board”.

3.  Apps to encourage Visual Attention

Most apps designed for “babies” fall into this category.  Ones with a black background that I like are:  Cause and Effect Sensory Light Box by Cognable;  I Love Fireworks (Lite and Full) by Fireworks Games; and Doodle Kids by Virtual GS (this one has no sound).

4.  Apps to encourage looking and basic touching

There are plenty of simple cause-and-effect apps that do something when you touch the screen, such as Random Touch by Joe Scrivens.

5.  Apps to encourage refined visual-motor integration (VMI) skills

There are some fabulous apps that will help kids develop the VMI skills needed to directly access most other apps. Peekaboo Barn HD (see image) by Night & Day Studios starts working on targeting, but in a very beginner way.  The user can multi-finger tap, but must target a barn approximately 3 inches squared in size.  It is visually simple, and the barn wiggles to help. Peeping Musicians, by Inclusive Technology, requires targeting with a single finger on a smaller 1 inch area.  Touching the musician that is “hiding” partially off screen makes different songs play.  The background is black and this app, while not designed for kids with CVI, has great applications with this population.

Pinterest collage of apps for kids with CVI

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