Ethan loves his iPad and it is through playing with Apps that he has taught himself his colours, numbers and he is even starting to learn words. As much as I hate to admit it, it’s been a great tool in his learning process and could break through the autism fog when we couldn’t.
Recently there have been lots of toys that use the iPad to interact with your child and I have often wondered how Ethan would react to something like this. Would he share joint interaction and attention with a toy that wants to use his precious iPad.
When I first heard about My Friend Freddy Bear I was interested in the fact that his app had three different learning levels and games rather than using the app just to feed him etc, which would totally go over Ethan’s head. After finding out more about My Friend Freddy Bear at BritMums Live in June we were lucky enough to be asked if Ethan would like to put him to the test.
When Freddy arrived I set him up before introducing him to Ethan. This was easily done by downloading the app. The app requires the following –
– iOS version 7.1 or higher.
– Android requires operating system 4.0.3 or higher.
Minimum specification for smart phone or tablet Memory: 200Mb free space for installing the app. 64Mb free space for the app to run.
Bluetooth: 3.0 or Higher
Processor: 3×86-64 or ARM; 1Ghz or above
Freddy is personalised for your child via this app. There are five pages of questions for you to fill in about your child they range from name and age to favorite foods, if they have a pet, somewhere they would like to visit and many more. There are 50 questions in total.
Freddy is easy to pair with your device via Bluetooth and it isn’t long before you are ready to play.
My Friend Freddy Bear’s Interaction
When Freddy is switched on he is quick to start talking. He will talk with or without the app but really doesn’t like to be turned upside down! He will pause long enough for your child to respond and the app clearly shows when he expects you to be talking to him by displaying an icon of an ear.
Being that Ethan is pre-verbal and can’t converse wasn’t a problem for Freddy. He must have a set time for the child to respond.
This video shows the type of interaction you can expect from Freddy
My Friend Freddy Bear’s Story Telling
Freddy can read three stories to your child, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs and Goldilocks and the Three Bears. After he reads each section your child has the chance to make the story even more interactive by pressing on stars that appear on the screen which will highlight the story in a bit more detail.
This video shows the Freddy reading The Three Little Pigs
My Friend Freddy Bear’s Activities
Freddy has three different activities, Fishy Fun, Sea Puzzles and Animal Zoo. These activities can be set to three different difficultly levels meaning that Freddy can really grow with your child’s development.
Level 1 Activities
Fishy Fun – Move the fish into the bowls that Freddy requests. There are only three fish in this level.
Sea Puzzles – Build the puzzle from the pieces provided.
Animal Zoo – Find the animal that Freddy is looking for.
Examples of the level 1 activities are shown in this video
Level 2 Activities
Fishy Fun – Move the fish into the bowls that Freddy requests.
Sea Puzzles – Build the puzzle in the order that Freddy asks you to. The pieces are marked with letters of the alphabet.
Animal Zoo – Find the animal that Freddy is looking for by their spelling.
Examples of the level 2 activities are shown in this video
Level 3 Activities
Fishy Fun – Move the fish into the bowls that Freddy requests. There are more fish bowls and Freddy is more descriptive.
Sea Puzzles – Build the puzzle in the order that Freddy asks you to. The pieces are marked with numbers and Freddy asks you simple sums to find the correct piece.
Animal Zoo – Find the animal that Freddy is looking for by their description.
Examples of the level 3 activities are shown in this video
Ethan was very happy for Freddy to share his iPad, that is no mean feat! He quickly got the hang of the level 1 activities. He is ready for the puzzle activity on level 2 but not for the other games for that level. It’s a shame that you can’t adjust the different activities separately to suit the child’s ability.
Ethan didn’t really interact that much with Freddy but he was happy for him to sit with him and watched him when he talked. I don’t think Freddy took it personally as these are things we all have to overcome with Ethan’s autism.
Ethan did vocalise Teddy Bear to me which is very positive for us.
Ethan did discover that Freddy talks along to his YouTube videos. He found it very entertaining that Freddy would tell him the BBC news highlights.
I was pleasantly surprised how soft Freddy is, you could easily give him a cuddle. We have had other toys in the past that are very mechanical and therefore feel very fragile. Freddy doesn’t have this problem. My videos do make it sound like Freddy sounds quite mechanical when he talks but he isn’t as loud as the other toys we have had. Ethan’s relationship with Freddy is a work in progress but I feel a neurotypical child would have no problem bonding with Freddy. I love the range of activities and their ability to grow with the child, this is what really draws me to Freddy.
My Friend Freddy Bear has a RRP of £39.99