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Hopster Launches Digital Sensory Playroom for Autistic Learners
Monday, 20 Mar 2017
Hopster, the preschool learning and entertainment app, has announced the launch of its new digital playroom that can help kids develop essential sensory processing skills. The new playroom, Sense, offers a multi-sensory experience that aims to strike a balance between relaxation and play for the tiny users. Arriving on the for World Autism Awareness Day on April 2, the playroom will appear in Hopster’s special themed area that will bring together shows and games that celebrate diversity.
Hopster is a subscription-based app designed for the under-sixes, aiming to strike the perfect balance between learning and fun. Hopster subscribers get access to a range of children's TV shows and songs plus academically-vetted learning games designed to suit a range of devices.
Sense, the first accessibility experience on Hopster, includes 9 screens that are made up of various textures, sights and sounds that kids can interact with by performing multi-finger and touch interactions. These interactions are designed to develop kids’ fine motor skills as well as facilitate their schematic play patterns such as: rotation and positioning. The aim of the playroom is to provide a relaxing and engaging sensory relief experience for kids to explore lights, textures, sounds and movement.
Hopster has undertaken rigorous user testing and worked alongside parents and special educational needs teachers to develop an experience that is sensitive to the needs of kids living with autism. Hopster felt it was important to adjust the colour palette and sounds to suit those with higher sensitivity, so Sense now has two colour options for the kids to choose from.
Head of Learning, Lelia Ingram says: “We wanted to create a quiet area within Hopster that’s gentle on the senses and makes kids feel that there is a space within Hopster that facilitates their needs to relax and calm down. We hope that Sense will give kids sensory relief that will naturally calm them down through play.”
Deborah Brownson, Autism Ambassador and Campaigner says: “I would not hesitate in both endorsing and recommending this innovative collection of sensory activities to any teacher or parent needing either to calm and sooth an anxious child or to occupy busy little minds and hands. Whilst it is perfectly suitable for the sensory needs of autistic children, it would also provide hours of calming fun for any young child.”
Margje Nouwens, Portage Home Learning Coordinator at KIDS, adds: “We find that many of the children we work with, especially the ones with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, have some form of sensory need. Sensory experiences can be very valuable for those children and help them calm down. I love the fact that Hopster's Sense reflects an actual sensory room, with activities that you would find in there. I will definitely be using it in my Portage sessions!”
● A combination of lights, sounds, music, colours and textures.
● Calm, gradual shifts in light, colour and movement.
● Two colour palettes, a bright and colourful palette and pastel to facilitate a wider audience and moods.
● Calm and meditative animations from water to floating bubbles
● Relaxing instrumental music and sounds
In a bid to help preschoolers learn about diversity and special needs, Hopster will tie in the release of Sense with its launch of a special themed area celebrating differences and similarities. Housed in a playful globe, kids will find a collection of shows that are selected to help them understand more about accepting and tolerating differences. These will include:
● Punky: Children’s animation about a little girl who has Down Syndrome. It teaches kids how to interact with family and that being different is OK.
● Mouk: This show introduces children to the world around them, teaching them about different cultures and customs and the importance of being open-minded.
● Bino and Fino: An African cultural show for children, it teaches kids around the world about African history, culture and diversity in a fun way.
● The Adventures of Zee: Highlighting Arabic culture while exploring universal themes such as teamwork, cultural tolerance and climate change in fun and engaging ways.
● Signed Stories: A collection of classic fairy tales with narration and sign language using British Sign Language (BSL) in the UK and American Sign Language (ASL) in the US.