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September 9, 2012

Toddie Downs’ App Review (4) – Look In My Eyes

Contributed by:  Toddie Downs, M.A., CCC-SLP

Eye contact is one of the critical language skills we use to communicate with each other, and one of the first language skills developed in typically developing children. We know that many children on the autism spectrum as well as those with a social-pragmatic language disorder have difficulties making or maintaining eye contact. So imagine my surprise to find out “There’s an app for that!”

Look In My Eyes is an app put out by FizzBrain Apps that is specifically designed for children who need to improve their eye contact skills. [Note: The game series is also called Eye Contact, depending on the theme.] The game shows a series of faces with numbers shown within the eyes.  A child therefore needs to focus on the eyes of the flashed face in order to identify the number shown. They earn points for each correct answer, and then can “spend” those points on different theme items. You can choose from the following themes (each a separate game):  dinosaurs, restaurant, toy box, steam train, car mechanic, undersea, and zoo.

I haven’t had the chance to try with app with many clients, but those children who I have seen work with it have been very engaged by it. We have the Dinosaurs theme in our office, and one of my clients loved to earn different dinosaurs and then place them in the outside background provided. Did his eye contact improve? Yes. Can I say it’s due to the game? No, but it’s certainly possible that the game played a role in his improvement. The idea of associating a reward by focusing on someone’s eyes is a very sound one. And at the price offered ($2.99), there’s not much down side to purchasing it and seeing if your child is engaged by it.

 RECAP:

Age range:  3+ years

Target skills: Eye contact, number recognition

Type of play: Structured

Cost: $2.99 (At time of posting)

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