Balanced Stimulation through multimedia for SEN children

David Castillo DominiciApps and games for iOS and Android are becoming more easily accessible even in underdeveloped countries where educators and parents are still looking for the most effective and the most economic ways to work with SEN (Special Educational Needs) children. Here a good app may prove to be one of the most effective tools which can be literally unputdownable due to its positive influence on children’s development.

Today the omnipresence of multimedia in children’s everyday life may be overwhelming especially to SEN children and may lead to overstimulation. In order to gently introduce them to the world of multimedia and to support children’s emotional well-being and their overall development, you will need to be looking for products that offer a well-balanced stimulation.

It’s good to have a selection of a few good apps that your child become familiar with and can use again and again. These apps can help you work with your child on a daily basis to practice what they need, and can become part of your child routines.

A good app will support your child’s holistic development and may help them become more independent as after only a few times your child may start using the app on their own with only a little help from adults.

What is a balanced stimulation for SEN children?

  • When you think of an app or game for children, this means that the product is multi-sensory enough to attract kids’ attention with its attractive illustrations, fun sound effects and vivid animations, but which are not intrusive
  • The music and sound effects should not be too loud, the colours not too bright, and the animations not too fast. Also, there should be not too many animated objects at one time. Ideally there would be an option that allows parents or carers to individually adjust the level of sound effects, background music and narrations.
  • Balanced stimulation also means that children’s are gradually exposed to the new challenges and elements. These are presented together with already familiar objects, animations or characters.
  • Building bridges between the “well known” and the “totally new” is enough to encourage children to extend their skills and learn more about the world. When they see that they already understand the environment around them, they will feel more confident and this will be enough for them to accept new challenges happily.

It is not easy to come across an app or game that really understands how to offer a balanced stimulation, but we found one that demonstrates a unique approach to Multi-Sensory Learning.

Tree I See by Aridan Books successfully applies the “from well-known to new” approach which helps boost children’s confidence, offers a sense of security and encourages them to safely explore the app.

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Each page brings back the familiar illustrations, animations and characters of the story, which helps children predict what they will see next and which objects they will need to touch to trigger the animations again. This helps children understand cause and effect better – if I move the cloud it starts to rain; if I touch the squirrel it will jump up the tree. Here the combination of sound, vision and touch does not overstimulate children but rather gently surprises and offers enough space for a creative play with animating the objects.

 

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The consistency in presenting the objects, animations and narration may be particularly helpful with SEN children or those who for some reasons require a gentle stimulation. To foster this even more, the built-in settings allow parents or carers to adjust the level of the multi sensory experience to their children’s individual needs and preferences.

Download the app for FREE from the AppStore


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