Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Owen and Ben's Journey Through Autism

Friday, February 18, 2011

iPad or not to iPad





I am on the fence, but as of the last couple months.. moving a lot closer to wanting one for Owen. This was how I felt with him learning Sign Language.. simple me was worried that if he learned signs he would not advance with his verbal communication..and I was proved totally wrong. For Owen, signs not only helped his vocabulary, it TOTALLY was responsible for the improvment in his attitude. We finally could understand what he wanted, we finally had a way to communicate to each other.

Now, since he would be classified as verbal - I am thinking about the iPad. I first heard about this device being used for our kiddies on the ASD Spectrum a while ago, people would post certain articles on my facebook page, and it was all over the news. I was compltely amazed at what I was seeing - these kids, who had a hard time speaking and sitting a tables were wizing through this little computer, and able to express what they needed. The parents were using certain "apps" for their children, you can take pictures of things they use in your home, and all they need to do is slide there finger to move from picture to picture - I was in shock. They have certain apps just for Autism as well, like the ones in the pictures I posted helping the children with their feelings, or with their visual schdule for the day!

Then I met my new friend Tara, from my fitness website Myfitnesspal.com. We connected because her amazing son also has Autism, same age as Owen, and was non-verbal. She also heard great things about the iPad and had a little fundraiser and asked people to donate to help her buy one for her son. It didn't take much time at all, before Grady was all over it, using it to communicate his needs, and now has begun talking..amazing. Tara now is the organizer for, www.loudmommy.com, a non-profit organization to help other parents with children on the spectrum raise money for their own iPads..amazing.

I also actually got to see one from a mom I met at my weekly ASD Parent Support Group nights, this past Thursday. Her son is 10 years old, super cute, lower functioning, and non-verbal. She brings the iPad everywhere, it holds his favourite movies, his favourite things around the house, everything! He loves it, and knows how to work it better than she does. Some of the other children at the group also got to see it, and they loved it! You can put so many programs on it, it was compltely amazing!

Ryan and I have been thinking about buying one for Owen for a while, and after actually seeing one up close and personal, I feel in love with it - and hopefully in a while, we are able to get one for Owen. Here is an article I found -

iPad May Help Communication for Autistic Children

Parents of children suffering from autism are turning to the iPad to help their kids. Experts don’t know what causes autism, but parents of autistic children know too well how hard it is to reach through the disease and communicate with them. Help in making contact has come in an unexpected form: the Apple iPad.

Blogger Shannon Rosa handed an iPad won in a raffle to her 9-year old autistic son and was amazed to watch him interact with the device with little training. He immediately became one with the iPad and spent lots of time with educational programs — spelling, counting and other learning tools.

Rosa writes for BlogHer, and immediately wrote about the amazing progress her son has shown since the iPad hit his hands. This touched off an interest in communities of parents with autistic children, and experts are now using the iPad with many such kids.

The situation with Rosa’s child is not unusual, it turns out. Many kids are instantly taking to the iPad, spending lots of time using the tablet to focus on the task at hand. It is hard to get the attention of many autistic children, and parents are impressed with how well their kids can focus while using the iPad.

Rosa’s reaction to the introduction of the iPad to help her son says it best — “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” she says, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.”

It is wonderful when technology can make a big difference in difficult situations like these parents face every day. It points out that surfing the web on the iPad is not really all that important. That $5 raffle ticket may be the best investment Rosa ever made.

Examples like these put technology into the proper perspective. I asked a deaf friend of mine which technology has impacted her world and without hesitation she told me that text messaging on cell phones has improved her life immensely. She and her husband are deaf, while their children are not, and text messaging has made it possible to communicate with the kids easily, when they are not in the same place. It’s great when technology unexpectedly makes a major impact on folks.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Vanessa
    how wonderful your story is!!. i found you thru loudmommy. My little guy Charlie has autism & ADHD. we found out when he was 3.5. & wow what a ride it has been. He is nearly 5 now & I am so proud to be his mum. We live in Australia & are very lucky to have a lot of services & help for Charlie. I look forward to your future posts.....I`m hearing you in regards to the hard weeks!! bit like that on this side of the world at the moment
    all the best...Ally

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  2. Ally!
    Great to meet you, and thank you for reading! Charlie sounds like a sweetheart, and I am so glad you are receiving lots of services and help for him!!! :)

    Yes, the recent weeks have been hard, but I am feeling a bit better, and hoping it continues!!

    Again, thank you for reading and keep me updated on your little guy too! :)

    Vanessa

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