What is a Bluebee Pal? A Bluebee Pal is a plush educational learning tool that can be connected to a tablet, phone or computer via bluetooth. Once connected to a device (such as an iPhone or iPad), this interactive tool can talk, sing, etc. Bluebee Pal’s technology includes lip synchronization that allows the animal’s “mouth” to move while reading storybooks, engaging in learning apps or singing songs.
After reading the manual for a couple of minutes, I was able to connect my Bluebee Pal Lion to my iPad. My children and I had a great time having “Will” (that is what we named him) sing, read and talk with the communication apps on my iPad. The next day I brought the Bluebee Pals to a school that I currently work in. I wanted to see how the children reacted to him during both structured and unstructured activities. The children that played with my Bluebee Pal were engaged, intrigued and consistently requesting to play with him. One student consistently requested specific songs that she wanted to hear. Another student with special needs “took care of him” while engaging in dramatic play.
Who is the Bluebee Pal appropriate for? I think any child would enjoy this interactive learning tool. Children with special needs (e.g. Autism, ADHD, Social Communication Disorder, etc) could benefit from this interactive tool because of the various goals that I targeted below. What I found most effective with the Bluebee Pal was the ability to use it for role playing for a child with delayed or disordered pragmatic language.
Here are ten speech and language goals that can be targeted with the Bluebee Pal:
- Role Play. A child can talk to the Bluebee Pal and you can control the responses by speaking into the microphone on your device or using a communication app.
- Turn taking in conversation.
- Answering questions. Read a book to your child and have your Bluebee Pal ask questions! You can also have your Bluebee read the book and ask the questions.
- Encourage your child to comment when your Bluebee Pal is singing or answering the phone.
- Request the Bluebee Pal via speech or augmentative communication needs.
- Improving conversation. For many children with pragmatic delays or disabilities, using the Bluebee Pal to practice conversation can be motivating.
- Encourage dramatic play with the Bluebee Pal.
- Can be an excellent model for speech.
- Follow directives during specific tasks (e.g. following instructions in class)
- Help to initiate communication. Bluebee Pals are not threatening or intimidating. They are cuddly stuffed animals that can be great tools to practice a variety of concepts such as initiating communication (e.g. “excuse me”, “can you play with me?”).
Check out this video here!