The iPad and Autism


by Christine Roach

A wonderful local charity donated an iPad to our family. My 3 kids with autism are able to utilize it in many wonderful ways:

Learning is easier and more fun since getting the iPad. Jason finds it any time it’s out, and starts playing educational games. He can scroll through all the folders and games better than anyone at our house. He’s quite the expert. His therapists have commented that he knows many more words, colors, etc., since he started using the iPad.

There are so many apps available! Since Garrett and Caiti are visual learners, their tutors have incorporated the iPad into their lessons. The kids think they are playing games and have a great time!

The iPad helps when we are out in public. We use the app, “Going Places.” It shows a story of a child in different social settings and the appropriate way to act and what to expect. I used this when I took my kids to the doctor and also when I took Garrett to the barber.

Garrett’s tutor and I put together a social story about how to act when we are at church. It was very helpful, because we could just point at the picture, and he would know what was expected of him.

The iPad is a great source of entertainment. It is always nice to see my kids enjoying doing “normal” kid things like playing video games. Garrett really likes a Spider Man game, and he’s actually better at it than I am!

You can get movies on iTunes and download them to the iPad. Whether we are at home or out in public, the kids can touch the picture of the movie they want to play. It is nice because then they are also working on making a choice.

Caiti’s favorite game is called “Rosita Counts.” Rosita jump-ropes in the game, and she wants you to jump, too. Caiti will prop the iPad on her bed and jump along with Rosita. I didn’t realize she understood the concept of the game until I walked in on her jumping along. So cute!

I love the iPad for potty training. Caiti loves the free app from Huggies Pull-Ups. When she goes in the potty, she gets a star. Each row of stars unlocks simple game for her to play.

For Garrett, who was essentially potty-trained but needed some reinforcing, I found this app called “I Earned That.” Whenever he comes home dry, he gets to place a puzzle piece. When the puzzle is completed, he will see a picture of the reward he has earned.

He earned a date with Mommy at McDonalds last week for staying dry at school 6 days in a row. Now we are working at staying dry at home. His reward will be going swimming. He loves to see the picture of the swimming pool coming together when he stays dry.

One of the best uses for the iPad is that my kids are able to connect with their Daddy while he is deployed with the Navy. I was really worried about how to explain where Daddy was. Since people with autism struggle with communication and do better with visuals, I was lucky to find an app that allowed me to do a picture explanation. This deployment has gone so much better for Garrett because he has the pictures to go with the words. He knows Daddy is on the ship in the ocean, but he will come home.

At bedtime, I use the iPad to play a video of Daddy reading a wonderful children’s book about deployment, called “Over There.” It is so sweet to see them watch their Daddy on the iPad. It’s a nightly routine that makes bedtime so much easier.

So, these are just some of the reasons I love the iPad.  It is such a help for my family.  We won’t even start on the reasons I love it for myself.  ;)


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Comments on The iPad and Autism

March 29, 2011

Jennifer @ 10:32 am #

I loved the article! So sweet, and great ideas as well.

Susie @ 4:53 pm #

What a wonderful tool for you and your kids, Christine! Your precious babies are so blessed to have you as their mother. No one can imagine what you go through on a day-to-day basis. You are truly amazing to me!

Michelle @ 10:33 pm #

I love this article and will share it with others who work with autism. :)