Hi ta, You’ve been on a massive journey with your mother. Thank you for sharing your experience. It’s precisly because of the difficulties you experienced that we thought there had to be a better way.
Deva is a shared experience - caregiver and loved one play the program together. We have seen some people manage on their own - the tablet lies flat or propped on a table - but generally a supporter is needed. The supporter has a very important role: to help the player have an optimal experience (‘optimal’ is a matter of interpretation and it will be different for each player). A supporter can skip through content to find the most meaningful scenes in Deva, and bring their own understanding of the player to draw out stories or a person’s preferences. Supporters make decisions about the best time to play, and where to play. They can make adjustments to the positioning of the tablet too. Sometimes I sit very close to a player and hold the device completely so that my player can tap more easily, or we can tap together, or I get them to choose and do the tapping for them. It’s different for everyone and Deva is designed to accommodate individual approaches. There is no ‘right’ way to play. For example, there might be parts of Deva that particularly appeal to your player such as tapping on flowers to make them grow or browsing the photo album. There’s no need to laboriously work your way through. You can go straight to that part of the world. On the device side, tablets are super portable and lend themselves to player’s adjustments.
Like all activities, a person’s interest can wane or be stronger on any given day. Deva does tend to amplify the energy of the pair involved. If the supporter is preoccupied doesn’t have time to sit and focus then it’s probably not going to be a good time to play. Players have a richer experience when both player and supporter are relaxed and ready for an activity to do together. (Cue the grandkids!). If there is energy there, Deva can be very rewarding for both.
Ti, I’d like to know if any of these ideas resonate. Would you like give Deva a try? Would you like to join our team? Any further thoughts you have would be much appreciated. Best,
ps Just a word on tablet devices more generally. I think they hold great potential, they are portable (go to the person, not the other way round), relatively lightweight (carry in your handbag) and, super-importantly, they are touch screen (bye-bye to the tyranny of the keyboard). They have some drawbacks - screen size (I’d love a flexible screen that could be stretched out according to need - one day maybe!), and they could be lighter, as you say, for hand holding. Then again, their weight gives them stability; for example, when used with a nifty cover, they prop on a table nicely and do not fall over, even with some serious strength tapping. All things considered, we think tablets are a pretty good option as far as devices go.
On the content side, programs should be so intuitive that players don't need to know about the technology. All they need to do is respond to the content. And if the content is meaningful, they generally do - even if it is a small gesture, a nod, a smile a few words. Engagement indicators may be subtle, but still there.