Friday, May 25, 2012

Fisher Price IXL for Autism

I want to talk a little bit about a product that I absolutely love. I'm not really one to full on fall in love with a product and recommend it. Nothing really seems to live up to my expectation or it always has one fatal flaw that will turn me off from talking about it. Even though this does have one issue with the design, I still feel it was such a huge positive in kiddo's development and perfect for special needs children that have trouble communicating.

Main Menu Screen

The Fisher Price IXL is a small computer system designed for kids ages 3-6. It is built to be handled roughly by small children unlike the Ipad, which is super expensive and can easily be broken. Although it can't do as much as the Ipad, it is still a good transition computer and can help you figure out where your child is as far as development goes and if they would even be able to navigate an Ipad. Up until now, she had no idea what a computer was, what it did, that you can even interact with it, or that you can learn from it. She was able to not only learn from it, but use it as a comfort object or a transition tool when we had to go out in the community. This thing taught her the ABCs in less than a week! Imagine my amazement when my non verbal 2 year old wakes up one morning and starts telling me all the letters on her alphabet poster. 
The IXL comes in pink, blue, or silver with the option of changing background colors on the screen

I personally would have never bought one of these for kiddo. She was a fresh 2 year old at the time when she received it, which seemed too young to me. With her level of communication, I would have never thought she would be able to do anything with it. I assumed she would look at it, try to play with it, get frustrated that she didn't understand it, and throw it to the ground. Her aunt and uncle got her one for Christmas after seeing how much their son loved it. I think this was one of the best gifts she could have gotten (thank you x1000!).

Using it during a hospital trip as a distraction

The way the IXL works is that you start off with their "Fisher Price no-name character" themed games and story. You can buy additional characters that have their own games and story as well, but it does come pre-loaded with general content. The way the child navigates the system is by which character they want. Once they pick that,  then they can choose a story (to be read to them, or a more interactive story), games, music, art studio, flash cards, piano player, virtual pet, spelling, writing practice, etc. There are so many features in this computer that it will keep your kid BUSY. It is easy to navigate with only a few buttons and the touch screen works well. There is a decent variety of characters so there should be something your kid likes. My daughter personally loves Kai Lan and the games that come along with her (making food, abc basketball). Handy Mandy also has a neat game where you can build cars and replace parts. You can't actually add any apps or games that aren't made for this computer. They do let you add music and pictures. Although I haven't tried, I've heard the picture feature doesn't work too well. The IXL also has a headphone jack, so this is perfect for kids who easily get overloaded and need to block out some unwanted noise.

Now...the complaint. It isn't a huge complaint, but it is hard to avoid and I guarantee every system will encounter this. The IXL comes with an SD card. This is what holds all of the memory for the computer. While this thing is built for being dropped, it still malfunctions sometimes when dropped. The SD card easily wiggles loose and it resets the system until you take the card out and put it back in. We've had it erase the games a few times but usually once you put the card back in, it will work. I recommend keeping extra batteries and a screwdriver on hand at all times.

So there you have it - Who knows, maybe in no time your kid will become a super genius. Probably not, but for those of us that can't afford an Ipad, this is probably the next best thing.

Quality bonding time with Daddy - note the android tablet that can't get any apps we need (no, I'm not bitter about him buying it, I swear...)


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