Small But Kinda Mighty

On her personal blog Deanne Shoyer writes about her two autistic children and about iOS apps, with a particular interest in apps and other items that are useful for the special needs community. She also write app reviews for Smart Apps for Kids.

Deanne is a winner of Top 25 Tech Moms - 2013

What's your favorite kid-friendly app?

Asking an app reviewer to pick a favourite app is pretty cruel! There are so many wonderful apps out there but for a variety of reasons my top recommendation would go to the 'Bugs' series of apps by developer Little Bit Studio. Bugs and Buttons, Bugs and Bubbles and Bugs and Numbers all contain some key common elements - outstanding value for money, beautiful graphics, lovely music, lots of content (each app contains 18 mini games) and just the right amount of skill-building and educational content. If you have children these apps are a must-buy and I've never known anyone to be disappointed with them.

What tips would you give a mom who wants to become more tech savvy?

This is a huge topic. I would say the most important thing is to be an active user of the technology your kids are using and to make learning a family activity that you enjoy together. If your child has an iPad for example, then familiarize yourself with all the device's features, test apps before your child uses them and use the iPad together at least some of the time - play two player games, read book apps out loud - make sure you're a step ahead of your child in terms of what a device can do. Seek out and socialize online with other tech savvy moms and share tips. In this high tech and information rich age, word of mouth and personal recommendations from people you trust have become even more important because they save us both time and money. Don't be afraid to try new things because your kids certainly aren't and if you don't explore this world with them, they will do it alone and face hazards like inappropriate content, cyber-bullying or even online predators.

What's the most innovative gadget for children you've seen?

I'm going to have to say the iPad (and now the iPad Mini). It's not a gadget for children per se, but the way in which it is so easy and intuitive for kids to use and its capacity to help them develop and reinforce new skills in addition to having fun, is really unparalleled. It provides typical children with a way to learn that is so engaging and for special needs children it has opened up a whole new realm of possibilities in terms of communication and skills development.