Here's a visual:
See? My intention is to touch the green button, but my hand is bumping the screen at 3 other points, accidentally pushing things.
It's been holding her back. She often seems to not understand how she ends up on a screen and will then just pick her favorite word to say out of the choices in front of her. When left on her own she ends up saying things that sound like this: milk-princess-animal-Daddy-Daddy-alligator-purple-milk-cereal bar-orange. She has a great time, but it's not as purposeful as it could be.
I've tried different things to help her with accuracy.* Sometimes I put a finger under her wrist to hold it off the screen . . . but this doesn't work well because she gets angry that I'm interfering with her communication, and she grabs my hand and pushes it away defiantly. I've tried holding on to her index finger to help her reach the button she's aiming for and tap it . . . but in a heartbreaking twist she's starting doing her own hand-over-hand---using her right hand to try to steady her left index finger and tap the screen. Focused and adorable, yet somehow sad that she's trying so, so hard, and knows that she can't trust one hand on its own.
A few nights ago I had an idea, and today I finally tried it out. It worked. But I think it could be improved upon. (Also, it's entirely possible--probably, even--- that other people are doing this. I'm not claiming to have invented this idea, but I haven't seen it mentioned so I thought I'd share.)
Here's what you need:
-a pair of gloves that fits your kid
-a pair of scissors.
Step One: Cut the index finger off of the gloves.
She's not thumbless. Her thumb is buddied up in the index finger slot.
The gloves won't activate the screen. Adults in cold climates are all too familiar with this, as you can't use your touchscreen phone with gloves unless you have special gloves. So the only part of her hand that can now effectiely touch a button is her index finger.
The three fingers that are currently on the screen can't hit any buttons.
Using her pointer finger to hit a button.
This is the best picture, because her knuckles and the heel of her hand are actually resting on the iPad, but not activating any buttons! She's able to take the time to line up her index finger and hit the button that she is intending to. Success!
1. It works. (Only one pro, but it's the biggest one ever.)
1. She has to keep it on. She managed to for a while tonight, but then wanted to take it on and off.
2. She has to not eat it. She likes to chew on stuff, and I can see the glove becoming a target.
3. We will need several pairs. These are going to get dirty and I'll need back-up pairs.
4. The material isn't ideal-it's thick and bulky.
If I could design the ideal glove, here's what it would be like:**
1. Thin, stretchy fabric: something like nylon? It would be lighter, more smooth, and less fun to chew.
2. Index finger missing or reinforced with conductive thread (which works on touchscreens). (I think fingerless is easier for her at this stage, though.)
3. Toddler and child sizes available
Eventually, you would want to cut the thumb out too, for apps that involves stretching or pinching things (you know, that motion with the thumb and index finger)---but right now Maya needs to have as little activating surface area as possible showing.
It's not a perfect solution, but it's a start.
*The creators of SfY are working on a keyguard that will help to address the issue of accidental button hits, but I'm trying to come up with something in the meantime.
**If you have any ideas on how I can make better gloves at home, let me know. I don't sew. This is foreign to me.