Hirstwood iPads in SEN Conference

The short session delivered for Hirstwood Training covered how to use ReacTickles Magic and Somantics to experience sensations such as squash, stretch, push, pull, press, reach, tap, tickle and so on, where action and reaction are closely matched. Input data also included sound and movement, enabling users to capture, observe and create images with their bodies. As both these applications do not require previous experience of technology they can increase the inherent accessibility of the iPad. The abstract design adds to this inclusivity, as both children and adults can discover meaning through action. The session demonstrated how to trigger imaginative responses and expressive communication rather than to teach skills. I asked the audience to think about the iPad as a medium rather than a tool, particularly when projected. The amplification afforded though large scale projection supports gross motor movement and rhythm, creating possibilities for empathic, co-located interaction. Drawing on case studies and video testimonies, the sessions evidenced how these minimal interfaces have enabled users, some with the most profound disabilities, to quickly gain confidence in their ability and a sense of mastery.

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