Thoughts on screen-time for special needs kids

Up until recently, the TV or a video held absolutely NO attention for our daughter Brielle.

She is 8, with very limited vision in her left eye only, is deaf with cochlear implants and has other health needs/disabilities relating to her extreme prematurity.

She has LOVED listening to music, especially nursery rhymes for quite a few years now and will go through phases of a favourite song (in which the rest of us are pulling our hair out as she requests the same song all the time and we invariably comply!)

Before when we would try Mr Tumble or Barney or anything like that on TV and sit her close, she’d quickly lose interest.

We put this down to her very limited vision. Like naturally she loves to listen rather than watch.

Until very recently, the last several months, she has discovered Cocomelon cartoons and nursery rhymes on her iPad, on the screen on my desk, and youtube on the TV. OBSESSED!

She has a new little armchair her size she got for Christmas and she’ll happily watch Cocomelon for quite some time (Wheels on the bus is the favourite at the minute).

She does all the signs and gets really excited. We find ourselves using her iPad more and more for this.

Strangely, we’ve noticed her little temper flare up more that usual recently too and wondering if there’s any correlation to her watching more videos/increased screen-time?

Does anyone else have any thoughts or experience with screen-time/devices and their special needs child and their behavior?

Also I’m not sure we should be letting her watch/listen to Wheels on the bus everytime she asks but we usually do if we can ie. if it’s not smack in the middle of dinner or something like that.

I just feel I don’t want to pander to her every want but at the same time I want to acknowledge that we know what she’s signing and asking for, and give her what makes her happy!

Any thoughts from other parents would be welcome… and here’s a picture of the madam herself with her pink iPad 

About Rebecca Toal

Blessed, busy mum to four beautiful girls, the youngest with complex special needs due to extreme prematurity. We are always looking for ways to make Brielle happy and help her live life to the full! I love being a mum, getting outdoors with my family, baking, blogging and crafting

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