How much screen time (computer, TV/movies, iPod/iPhone/iPad) do you let your SN child(ren) have?
Read on if you're curious why I'm asking.
My 4 year old DD is a brain cancer survivor and has lots of issues - among them: language disorder (most resembles the kind of aphasia that can happen after a stroke), developmental delays, probably post-traumatic stress. And a stubbornly independent streak to boot.
She is not very interested in social interactions. Only sometimes and only with a few people she knows really well.
She STRONGLY prefers interacting with a screen (iPod touch, computer). As in: playing games and interacting with what's happening on the screen (not as in using the screen to communicate with other humans in real life).
She is at high risk for and/or already has cognitive/intellectual disabilities. She seems to actually learn a lot from screen time (she can operate the trackpad mouse on a laptop and visits poissonrouge.com, starfall.com, kneebouncers.com and is just now exploring pbskids.org). She replays things over and over and over again and then later I hear her vocalizing what she's seen on the screen. I do think in her case screen time is beneficial since she can control the amount of repetitions and explore what interests her, especially since she is loathe to follow another person's lead. It is very hard to engage her in face-to-face games and interactions and even harder to hold her interest for more than a few minutes.
I am in the habit of limiting my older, neuro-typical DS's screen time to a max of 1 hr per day (and even that feels like too much). But with DD, I find myself letting her have a lot more screen time than her brother gets. I work out of the home and during the day she attends special ed preschool and special ed daycare. She only gets screen time in the evenings and on weekends, but I still feel... uneasy about the amount of screen time she gets at home. I'm not sure if the extra screen time is an appropriate accommodation (given her discomfort with social interactions, her struggles with language & communication, and her processing delays) OR if I'm just not trying hard enough to engage her in interesting interactions with real-life people. Which comes first: language competence or interest in socializing? And what's the best way to foster both?