Sunday, October 2, 2011


I started this post at 4 this morning after yet another sleepless night. For some reason, the magic cocktail that had Sam sleeping for the majority of the night stopped working a couple of days ago. But that is the subject of another post.

When I saw that Sam was number 19 on a list of 20 at the Mission Ipossible site, I really thought it would be a year or more before enough funds were raised to purchase his ipad. What has happened over the past few months has been amazing to watch.

I got an email from Ken, one of the people in charge of Mission Ipossible, earlier in the week letting me know that Sam's ipad was on the way. Since I am a teacher, I was home for the Jewish New Year and I was able to watch for the mail. Friday at 11, this box was on my front step. My mailman was a little lax with the signature required issue (although to be be fair he could probably hear the dog going nuts and me yelling at her so he knew I was home).

Is that the most neatly wrapped box you have ever seen?

I started to open it up while Sam was with one of his home therapists. I had to move from place to place as I opened because I knew Maya would go bananas when she realized what was inside. To my surprise, as I pulled apart the layers of bubble wrap, I found a bag of little toys and this little guy. That's a Dream Date Gonzo in case you can't tell (What are you trying to say, Ken? ).

Then I pulled out this:

Seriously, the wrapping job was amazing. Neat tape, perfect corners, no wrinkles. I distracted Sam when therapy was over by leaving the shipping box out. This is Sam balancing it on the edge of the table. He is gearing up to watch it drop again and again and again and again. . . . .

I left the bubble wrap on the floor to see how long it would take the kids to discover it.

30 seconds.

WHile they popped bubbles I took a look at this. I didn't try to get Sam to unwrap it. He CAN rip paper but he doesn't understand the meaning of a present and won't attend to the task.Over the course of the afternoon I set up the ipad with simple apps. One of Sam's home therapists has her own and so I already knew a few things that were worth getting. Maya ended up being the first to play with it because there was a crazy 3 kids yelling at me all at once moment and it gave her something to do for a while.

Sam didn't really "get" it when I showed him that we have our own ipad now. I felt a tiny twinge of jealousy each time I read an "i" post detailing a kid's enthusiasm over the new device. For us this is going to be a way to try to focus his attention and, hopefully, communicate. I would LOVE it if Sam could develop some recreation skills but I think it is unlikely. WHen I sit him down, Sam can do simple shape puzzles and discrete trial programs. We are working up to investing in the big guns - Proloquo2go. What is amazing is that the kid who had to be taught to point with his pointer finger in early intervention understood the concept of the touch screen right away.

Is this an instant game changer for Sam? No. But I see a lot of possibilities (Ipossibilities? Too corny?) The ipad is an amazing teaching tool that will allow us to work where ever we are without lugging tons of supplies. Hopefully, once we get speech software and Sam is able to hear the ipad speak for him he will find that motivating and appreciate it even more.

I am trying not to drip my wet hair on the ipad.

Here is Sam doing a shape puzzle ( no pieces to throw or eat!!!):

Here he is doing a discrete trial program for color identification (bonus-no flashcards for Sam to fold and chew):

My deep heartfelt thanks to the people at Mission Ipossible and the community of donors without whom this gift would not have been posisble.


Stranded said...


I think the ipad also has a bubble wrap popping app :D

Our ipad was a generous gift too - from my dad.

Justine said...

Awesome! Thanks for sharing! My son wasn't excited either, but I think the other kids and I made up for his lack of enthusiasm and he will still get the benefit.

Amy said...

Isn't it just freaking awesome!! Nick really did not know what to do with ours at first either, but now, holy cow he can really WORK that thing! It's implications are endless....
We have used it for picture schedules, puzzles, counting, writing, pointing, and it is also a HUGE reinforcer for his ABA. He discovered the photobooth app and loves to look at the pictures of himself!


Orenda Aiken said...

Friend of Rachael Trussell here, migrating from blogspot to blogspot. I read what you wrote about your son clicking immediately with navigating with his finger on the touch screen. I have read similar reports on this "phenomenon." Children must be wired somewhere to communicate with their hands before they communicate with speech. I have a friend with two children, one on the spectrum, one not. Her oldest could locate and download apps on his mother's iPhone at age two and a half. The youngest followed suit very quickly. Autism or not, I think there will be great developments made in early education via touch screen computers in the near future. Good luck to you and your son as you utilize this new tool/ toy towards his development.