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As the mother of an adult daughter with severe learning disabilities, I wasn’t certain what to expect. I went into this as something we could do together since she can’t read. Most of the time she becomes bored quickly with audio-only stories. When we started, I half expected her to drive off in her wheelchair. Imagine my surprise when she not only laughed in all the right places but watched, captivated for the entire twenty-minute episode. She wanted more.
I also have a son with autism. He can read college-level words but cannot recall the story. I sat beside him on the couch and started the episode. It was only seconds before he had the tablet in his hands. In only a few minutes more he was explaining the story excitedly. He had advice for the characters, asked me why they made certain choices and wanted to understand every part of the story. He was fully engaged. When the episode was over, he wanted more. Then he asked me questions about characters he could relate to as well. He requests more every day.
My teenaged daughter is legally blind in one eye, and the other eye is over-strained. She loves to read, but it’s hard to find enough large print books. She hasn’t really enjoyed listening to audiobooks, but I thought Wenebojo was worth a try. Anything to keep her reading.
I downloaded the app on my cell phone, and she was delighted to see she could increase the font to any size she needed. The added pictures thrilled her, and they lasted on the screen long enough to where she could make them out. Unlike movies, she often doesn’t understand what is happening because the images move so fast. The episode entertained her in every way, and she was reading for fun. Now she asks me every day if there are any new stories.
My family is unique in some of their needs, but it was a joy to be able to fully engage with each child. The ability to enrich their lives with stories gave us all a common ground to communicate our love for each other.