Sunday, April 8, 2012
About a month ago, I got an email from a woman I have known for several years. She works with young children with a special needs, and has always been a great resource and voice of reason for me as we have navigated these special needs waters.
In her email, she told me that the only reason she was emailing was to find out our home address... that if she had it in hand already or could find it online, she wouldn't have sent the note. She just would have ordered a new iPad for Will and sent it to us. Anonymously.
I was floored. What a gift... what generosity and thoughtfulness! She said she has seen children in Will's situation really come alive with an iPad in their corner, and that her hope for Will was that this gift would allow him some freedom in communication.
Like an assistive technology fairy godmother.
The iPad just arrived. We had enough notice to order a wheelchair mount for Will. And as soon as that Apple box was delivered, we have been packing it full of well-researched apps for children with cerebral palsy and cortical vision impairment. We hooked it into the wheelchair mount and...
As with most things, Will's first reaction was 5% curiosity and 95% dislike for anything different. He kind of looked at the iPad with bewilderment and then tried to use his right arm to knock it out of his field of vision. Though we can move the iPad mount around as it best suits Will, we decided that would try to mount it most often in the middle of Will's tray at about eye height to encourage him to bring his hands to the middle to play and to keep his head up (rather than dropping it down, which is what would happen if the iPad was flat on his tray).
He definitely has some favorite apps so far - Itsy Bitsy Spider and Wheels on the Bus by Duck Duck Moose. We also loaded some auto-play books onto the iPad - several Dr. Seuss stories and The Monster at the End of This Book. As Will figures out that he needs to touch the screen to turn the pages, we will take the books off of auto-play and allow him a little more interaction.
In the mean time, Luke and Matt are jealously peering upon this new gem from their spots at Will's left and right. Every now and again, they stick a little finger onto the screen to help Will out. We've tried to make it clear that this is Will's computer - just as Luke and Matt each have their own computers - but I think they realize that Will's computer is BY FAR the coolest of the bunch.
Once Will gets more comfortable and fluid with interacting with his iPad, we'll begin loading some communication output apps on it - such as Proloquo2go. We think this is a great tool for Will as he moves forward with his development and agility.
Thanks, Anonymous, for your act of kindness and thoughtfulness. Though Will can't do it just yet, I can't wait for the day when he uses an assistive technology app on his iPad to tell you 'thank you' all by himself! You're a wonderful friend.