I have a plan. As mentioned a few times lately, Jamie can at times be challenging to enrich. She is always keeping us guessing and we are continually trying to find new ways to keep her occupied. Sometimes she will request something by stomping and pointing her finger (but not always directed at something specific). At those times us caregivers go through a list of popular enrichment activities to try and guess what Jamie wants. Sometimes she is satisfied with a new boot, a pen and paper, or a scarf. Sometimes we simply can’t figure out what it is she wants, and I always feel bad that I haven’t been able to satisfy her.
I’ve been talking to the other staff lately about having some sort of board or display with pictures of all of Jamie’s favorite items, and when she starts to request something, we present the board to her and she can point to the item she wants. It is completely possible that this idea won’t really work, but I think it is worth a shot.
So, today on my way to the sanctuary I began to brainstorm how I was going to construct this board. Maybe I would print pictures of all the items and use velcro to stick them to the board (so we could rotate what choices we can offer her based on what we have at the time). And then I thought—if we could have an album of pictures on an iPad, she could point to whatever item she wants and it would be super easy to change up the photos. Not to mention, iPads are just enriching in general. The chimps like to watch videos on the iPad, and they also think seeing themselves in the app “Photobooth” is pretty cool.
Awhile ago, we asked if people would be willing to donate their old iPad if they are planning on upgrading to a new one. Check out that blog post where Jackie describes our plan for creating a chimp-resistant case so it would be able to withstand repeated use by the chimps. We’d also be able to use it at tabling events to show people videos of the chimps, so there’s other things we could do with an iPad. Most importantly though, I think it would be excellent enrichment! Help me help Jamie (and Annie, Burrito, Foxie, Jody, Missy, and Negra, too!)
Here is a video of Jamie enjoying a couple different apps on our personal devices—first a piano app on my iPhone, and secondly a drawing app on Jackie’s iPad. Foxie came down to join when I started to play a game of “Angry Birds” on my iPhone. I think she liked the goofy sounds.