February 2014- My Review:
The first week of February is National Play Therapy Month in the USA, and this wonderful iOS App got on my radar just in time! I have long advocated for play and think it’s a crucial readiness indicator for social communication profiency. As a speech therapist, Autism Specialist, and creator of the Socially Speaking™ Social Skills Curriculum, I have seen the benefits of using focused play and specific toys at specific junctures in treatment. I've long recommended the use of dolls and puppets to foster Self Concept, Theory of Mind, Body Awareness; and Expressing Feelings; all prerequisite skills needed for later social communication development involving Problem Solving and related skills.
I am thus a vocal proponent of teaching imaginary play and incorporating both the Floortime™ and REPLAYS™ Techniques into intervention for young children with Autism and/or Special Needs.
That’s why this App is such a winner, especially for young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) first starting to use iOS Apps in class and therapy. Its colorful, user-friendly interface allows for a child to be “in the driver’s seat” and easily label/express what’s in his/her inner landscape re: feelings/memories. Parents and educators/service providers can use this App to create new “dolls” and save old ones to discuss later and compare/contrast the child’s moods. This App can be used at home/school and in ALL types of therapy settings (speech, OT, PT, play therapy, individual and group sessions) as both a behavioral reinforcer (and tool to gage mood) and a springboard for lessons re: diverse vocabulary to help children self regulate, understand the rules and language of their environment, understand the concept of time and before/after, and learn social skills such as Eye Contact, Respecting Boundaries, Turn Taking, and Verbal Rejection.
The Meebie® iPad App is a perfect example of the power of mobile technology to SUPPLEMENT and simply reinforce a child’s psycho-social status, learning, and overall performance “in the moment”. I love that children can use this App without getting bogged down by extraneous “bling” seen in so many other “educational” Apps. I wish more iOS App Developers would take notes! I also want parents and educators to take note of the $.99 price tag--a steal if you ask me! I HIGHLY recommend this versatile, adorable, and lovable App for ALL young children developing a sense of self, but ESPECIALLY for children with ASD!
Penina Rybak MA/CCC-SLP, TSHH
Speech-Language Pathologist &
Educational Technology Consultant
Founder/CEO of Socially Speaking LLC