Yo, the ipad does not cure autism. Now, it looks like I will have to get one anyway…

You don’t have to be ‘anti-apple’ to notice that whenever the media report on the communicative benefits of portable tablets or smartphones for society in general but especially for ‘children with autism’, they are most commonly talking about great apps and possibilities available on the ipad and iphone.
While it is true, that said devices in their respective, newest versions were long on the forefront of invention and applicability, including and especially child-friendly use and even specific applications for kids with autism, I think it’s safe to say that there are now way cheaper and – this depends obviously on the specific needs of everyone – sometimes better alternatives on the market.
Yes, I prefer android devices but I am not making free advertising for ANY company at this point and I am also not “against Apple” stuff. I don’t see WHY I would be?! So while the fanboys and girls can have their petty war about who’s gadget is shinier and faster and awesomener, I just would like to put it out there :
      • There are other devices that can be used to help your child with autism, in school and at home.
      • More importantly though, please do not immediately reach for the pad, when there are still other ways to explore…
laugh-and-learnI think it’s a NO-BRAINER that children are spending WAY to much time in front of screens, this has been observed and reported since the beginning of time, or rather, since TVs became affordable for every household in the western world. But tv was simply not interesting at all times, back then. Now, there are 24 h channels with preschool programs, the internet, the home computer, tablets, and mum’s smartphone (that is, until they finally have one themselves. Say, at 8 years?).
It is actually almost surprising when kids play with toys or outside at all.  I know I personally take the internets over a walk in the park anytime. Not that i am proud about it, just honest.
They are lovely and they always mean well!
And in the end, they mostly get it right…
On Monday, we had a total meltdown / school rejection when term 4 started after 2 weeks of holidays. I walked straight into the special Unit and this week FINALLY there has been a bit of action and assistance to help me and the class teacher with the daily program in school. The special needs teacher also plopped Nemo (once he had calmed down) into the “chill out room” – with an ipad.
The two ladies who are now going to take turns to look after Nemo  – let’s call them B1 and B2 with a wink to all Australian mums – have both understood the particular problem he has with writing and have already repeatedly hinted that he might end up ‘just typing’ instead of writing. There are laptops in every classroom in my school, and Nemo’s teacher has an ipad for common use too.  Or you know, I might just have to get one.
Now, I am all for high-tech and finding alternatives for learning. BUT : no one has yet assessed professionally what exactly it is that makes hand writing so hard for Nemo. He does not seem to have a physical problem as his fine motor skills are not too bad and he has delivered some writing that is excellent. To me, after many exercises and trials at home, it seems like he needs to WANT to write..only that is hardly ever the case. What I am saying is, I would like to first see if we can encourage and improve his writing in general before giving up on it ?
This is my remark for any use of electronics in the context of Autism children. Yes, I am sure it works, but have other, more personal ways even been explored ? My fear is that there is no coming back from the use of an ipad. It’s just too smooth, too shiny. But it is also NOT A PERSON. And if anything, I do not want to discourage personal interaction and physical skills. Because that’s where Nemo, and most kids with high-functioning Autism need the most support. And I believe : by a person, not a a pad.



One thought on “Yo, the ipad does not cure autism. Now, it looks like I will have to get one anyway…

  1. Anxious Mother

    An ipad is cheaper than the cheapest teaching assistant (let alone experienced professional), cures any ‘bad’ behaviour instantly, kids on the Spectrum all prefer their own company/ are computer geniuses. What’s not to like?

    It’s very scary how apple marketeers have positioned the ipad as the latest cure for autism.


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