This review is courtesy of Wynsum Arts’ Every App Has a Story, the stories behind Wynsum Arts’ distinguished apps.
Two years ago, Naoya Sangu gave his sons an iPod Touch. “I was surprised to see how much they enjoyed playing with it,” Sangu says, noting that both of the boys have autism. “At that moment, I realized how suitable smart touch devices are for children with developmental disorders.”
Why did you found Keaton.com and develop apps for children with special needs?
Naoya Sangu: My past work experience as software engineer for web service and PC/mobile games gives me the expertise to develop apps — and my experience as a father to two sons (now 5 and 13) with autism gives me a unique perspective on what types of apps are needed. My brother is a graphic designer. We have worked together to develop several educational apps for children with developmental delays.
Why did you develop the Child Silence Timer and how does it work?
Naoya Sangu: This app is a fun way to practice being quiet with your child.
The first version of the app was developed for my older son. He often made repetitive vocal sounds, known as vocal stimming, or repetitive clapping. We needed a way to help him learn to control loud noises in public places.
When your kids are making loud noise at home or in public places, scolding them can sometimes cause more problems that it solves. The app turns “let’s be quiet” into a game.
The Child Silence Timer app measures voice and noise levels with the microphone function of the iPhone/iPad. The app features a visual representation of sound so children can visually see when they are being too loud. Once you start the timer, the iPad will show a sleeping dog on the screen. If the volume of your child’s voice exceeds the limit that you pre-set, the dog will wake up and start barking.
You can set the timer from one second to 99 minutes. (Or you can set the timer to 0:00 if you don’t want to impose a time limit.) Once the timer goes off, the app displays a graph showing how many times your child exceeded the pre-set volume limit. You should praise your child for having done well.
Why did you develop Clockwork Puzzle and how does it work?
Naoya Sangu: There are many apps focused on the theme of “clock study” in the App Store. However, my sons did not enjoy any of the apps I found. I thought it would help to mix puzzle games and the elements of clock study.
Clockwork Puzzle is an educational puzzle game to help children 2 to 10 years old learn to tell time.
There are 5 puzzles or tasks in the app:
- Clock Board: Assemble pieces to create a completed clock face. Children learn geometry and spatial sense.
- Clock Numbers: Children set the hour or minute numbers on the clock board. They learn the position of each numbers on a clock board.
- Clock Hands: Children drag and attach hands to a clock board and point them to the specified time. They learn how to set time with an operating hour and minute hand.
- Gears: Children set gears inside a clock by its size and color. They learn how to match by size and color.
- What Time: Children read the analog time and display their understanding of the time by choosing the correct time from multiple choice options. They learn how to read a clock.
There are two play modes in the app:
- Assembly mode: Children can play the five assembly tasks in order and a clock is completed. The stages appear automatically according to the child’s learning levels.
- Individual task mode: Your child can play a favorite task intensively. It is the mode suitable for playing only favorite puzzles or practicing skills that have not been mastered.
Although children learn how to read a clock in elementary school, it is good for them to be familiar with a clock via the app when they are toddlers. Teaching children about time is extremely difficult since time is not visible.
With this app, children can enjoy learning about time and clocks. I think that there is a great potential in combining games with education.
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