|Get it? A yellow apple?|
When all the buzz about the iPad and the wonders it does for people on the autism spectrum began, most of what I heard and read was about the wonder of the doors it had unlocked for our non-verbal population. Suddenly this small, portable device could replace cumbersome, expensive augmented communication devices. Amazing.
Still, I didn't see at first how helpful it could be for my own child with Asperger's. Then I started googling. And reading. And watching YouTube videos of it in use. Of course some of the best reviews I read came from other autism-moms who were blogging about the difference it was making in their homes. I was intrigued.
My own boy has been blessed enough to have an iPad. He's had it now for a few months. None of my research had prepared me for the magic that has happened.
My dream is that someday the world itself will be as accessible as the iPad.
It would be impossible for me to list, or even probably recognize all of the things the iPad has done for us, but I will attempt to give a little overview, just in case there is a reader out there somewhere who is wondering if this is something you need. (My guess is that it is.)
Touch, swipe, pinch. If you had a child with fine motor issues, or motor-planning issues, say goodbye to the mouse. If you can reach it you can do it. The playing field has been leveled, game on. Now your child can enjoy playing games without that level of frustration standing in his way.
The bag of tricks just shrank. The iPad is best known for its apps. Apps are awesome, and there are about 10 gazillion and counting designed for autism. This tiny little device is currently housing Social Stories, visual schedules, a Time Timer, a 5 point scale, Model Me Going Places....and more. Way, way more. Seriously.
Educational activities. This is a homeschool dream come true! Sight words, ebooks, mathematical games and drills, all manners of skill builders are available. If they are not free, they are generally pretty cheap. Aiden enjoys almost any subject more when the iPad is involved, particularily with math. From interactive number lines, to Google earth, there seems to be no end to the ways the iPad makes learning fun, and engaging, and almost everything becomes hands on with this thing.
Entertainment and Independance. Imagine that your child can now take control of their leisure time! No more asking someone else to turn on something, or set something up for them, everything is easy to do. If you spend a lot of time in waiting rooms for a gazillion appointments, as our kids tend to do, then your wait time just got a lot easier. Even if you go the wi fi route, many games do not need internet connection, so they are portable!
We need to get the iPad into the hands of every child on the autism spectrum, or into the hands of any child who has challenges that would benefit from it. This is the future of accessibility, and it is affordable.
Christmas is a time when many people seek out opportunities to do good work. Many charities benefit from the benevolance of others at this time. I have a suggestion. Maybe you could take up a collection at your place of work, and raise enough money to purchase an iPad or two. Contact a local autism group in your community, a simple google search can help you here, and maybe they can pass your gift on to a deserving child.
It's more than a simple present to be opened, it's the opening up of a child's world.
I believe the possibilities are boundless.