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Friday, January 15, 2016

Bow and the Touchscreen Today

Yes, Bow does own a touchscreen. It's a computer that is dedicated to him. Nobody else uses it. But Bow does not use it much, either,  This is by his own choice. For years we tried to entice him to use his computer to type out words which would then be sounded out for him. But he didn't want to. On the other hand, whenever he sees that I am using my laptop to watch a video, Bow keeps asking me to bring the laptop in so he can see the video, too.

There are several reasons why the serious attempts to get Bow to use the touchscreen didn't work. One, we were afraid he would destroy it, so we could not leave the computer in with Bow unsupervised. Two, we tried to get him to use chopsticks to point at letters through the grid. Three, we didn't want to have Bow changing the settings on the touchscreen, so we put barriers in the form of plexiglass to keep him from touching anything but the letters we wanted him to touch. Four, with all these limitations in effect, Bow could hardly do anything with the computer. Five, Bow caught on to the idea that using the touchscreen was nothing but work, so he did not choose to do that. If he said "no" to an offer of a touchscreen session, we had to respect that. So "no" it was for a very long time.

But today Bow was bored. We have finished all the electronic editing we could do on "Our Lady of Kaifeng: Courtyard of the Happy Way" and are waiting for the first proof to arrive,  And when I asked Bow what he wanted, he told me תני לי הכל  -- "Give me everything." Well, everything, I figured, includes the touchscreen. So I asked him if he wanted to use the touchscreen. He said yes, and so I brought it in.

The touchscreen does not have a battery, so it has to be connected by  a cord to the electricity, This makes getting it into the pen Bow is in a little awkward, as there are now outlets where Bow is, for obvious safety reasons.

I propped the computer up against the glass window between the two pens for support. Bow got distracted at first by something that was going on outside. Then he turned on not one, but a couple of different video games, and the music was very loud. He proceeded to dance to the music, getting more excited as time went by.

Eventually, he got so excited that he knocked down the computer, but when I reprimanded him, he set it upright again and settled down to try to play the video games.

Unfortunately, neither Bow nor I understood the rules to the video game he was playing, so we did not score any points.  After a while, we switched off the computer.

There has got to be a way to motivate Bow to use the touchscreen more productively. Nothing is going to happen unless he wants it to happen.  He does not want to use the word sounding out program we have for him. But I think he would actually enjoy a language-based game better than whatever it was he was trying to play.


  1. Maybe one day they can make an industrial strength touch screen that can withstand falling, and being thrown. This would be good for young children, too, since they tend to throw things down.

    1. Yes, that would be very good. But even the more portable devices, like ipads and iphones, currently are very fragile and screens crack easily, even when used by adults.

    2. I dropped my phone when I first got it, and I am lucky only the side of the case, and not the screen cracked.

  2. The thing is cumbersome. I can see why you do not bring it out much.

    1. We used to work very hard on getting Bow to use it through the grid, without bringing the touchscreen in with him. But he did not like it.