Thursday, October 10, 2013

Making the EDA Play App A Better Learning Tool

The EDA Play App continues to be a very popular app for children with visual impairments.  For a thorough review please check out Wonderbaby's iPad App Review of the app.  However, in this blog entry what I would like to do is break down a few key ideas on making it interactive for children with visual impairments.  As much as I think the iPad is a great visual tool to stimulate a child's functional vision or auditory scanning abilities, I think it is crucial that more educators and parents understand ways to make the iPad an interactive learning opportunity for children with visual impairments, no matter their visual and developmental challenges.

Here is a breakdown of the way the app works for those of you not familiar with the app from the apple iTunes store:


The EDA PLAY application helps children train vision and fine motor skills. The options of image set-up and task levels enable children with special needs to work with this application.

The application was developed in cooperation with specialists in the field of visual impairment and caring for children with special needs. The application is designed to stimulate the child to watch the action on the tablet display in an interactive way and to complete the tasks. The visual and audio treatment of the application supports the eye-hand coordination. The Skills section records the work of the child with the application.


- 4 task levels and 4 visual levels
The application can be set depending on the child’s individual skills.
The visual levels are manifested through the types of illustrations viewed (V1 – V4). The task levels are marked G1 – G4.

For students working in visual and task levels 1-3, consider using three dimensional objects to pair with images on the iPad screen: This will make the experience multi-dimensional for the child with visual impairments.  The child would actually be able to put his or her hands on a toy tractor, pig, or train.  The teacher or parent could use this learning opportunity as a way to illustrate how a train rolls, how many legs a pig has, or what the beak of a rooster feels like.  Additionally, for the child with motor impairments in an assistive mobility device such as a wheelchair, the teacher or parent could illustrate with the toy tractor or train how it rolls like the child's mobility device and then moves their child at the same time to increase the child's understanding of words like "roll" and "wheel."

Consider the following toys to pair with this app:
Little People Farm

Fun Time Tractor

For children with low vision challenges working in visual and task levels 3-4, this app can also be very appropriate in teaching young children the proper way to use a low vision device such as a telescope or dome magnifier.  The teacher or parentcould set up app so the child must move the dome magnifier across the screen, such as in the image below:

For the child who is learning to use a telescope, the teacher might consider setting up the app at a distance so the child must scan the distance between two objects within the app using a telescope such as in the photo below:

If anyone else is using this app, I would love to hear your ideas.  These are just a few general ideas on what is working with a few of my clients.  As always, I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below or via email at

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