What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Look In My Eyes 1 Restaurant can help kids practice eye contact, an important social skill that many children with autism -– especially those with Asperger syndrome -– find challenging. Faces with different expressions (smiling, worried, friendly, sad) appear on the app's screen, and then a number flashes in the eyes for a couple of seconds. Kids have to look at the eyes until they see the number, remember the number they saw, and tap to choose the number from a set of answer choices.
What kids can learn
- cultural understanding
- personal growth
- moving beyond obstacles
- friendship building
Engagement, Approach, Support
Will likely work well for some kids, but others may not relate to it at all. It depends on whether they engage with the theme and enjoy the rewards. Some may prefer a different version (theme).
Kids can practice the social skill of looking people in the eye, which can help them develop friendships and self-awareness, while getting encouraging rewards. It's unclear whether on-screen practice translates to real life.
Decent tutorial and a "For Parents" page accessible from the app's main screen, although more ideas for parents on how to extend learning into real life would be useful.
What's it about?
A face appears on the screen, and a number flashes in the eyes. Kids tap on the box containing the number that matches the number shown on the eyes. Kids earn $2 of virtual money for each correct answer, which they can spend on decorating and stocking a virtual restaurant. Kids can move from room to room around their restaurant (kitchen, patio, dining room, warehouse, cellar). They can tap the "+" or "-" icons to make the objects in their restaurant larger or smaller and can drag them to a new location with a finger.
Is it any good?
LOOK IN MY EYES 1 RESTAURANT is one of those apps that will likely work well for some kids, but others may not relate to it at all. The concept is simple and seems like it would be effective, but it depends on how kids take to the game and whether they enjoy the rewards. For kids who like the app, the learning value will come with consistent practice both on and off screen. For kids who don't connect to the game, perhaps a different version of the app would catch their interest (other versions include dinosaurs, undersea, steam train, mechanic, and more).
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Remind your kids of their progress in the app when preparing for a situation that requires eye contact.
Encourage your kids to make eye contact by placing yourself in their line of sight. Kneel down so it's easy for your kids to look at you.
Praise your kids' attempts at eye contact, whether they are successful or not.