Tag Archives | ipad

Breaking the Autism barriers with technology, but who’s barriers are they?

There has been a lot of talk lately about iPads and, to a lesser extend, some other technology that has been vastly improving the treatment methods of autistics all around the world.

Yes, autistics are finding a way to communicate using an iPad. Thanks to the hard work of some very amazing developers, a child, teen or adult with Autism can move a finger around and select emotions, objects, words or even letters on an iPad and express themselves… even though no previous method had worked for that person before.

Most people see this as a means for autistics to “come out of their shell” or to “break through the barriers of Autism”… for me, I see it as a way for us to break through our own barriers.

Intellectual Equivalent

If you’re familiar with Autism at all, I’m sure you’re familiar with the term “intellectual equivalent.” It’s used to describe the maturity level of a person that is not at the maturity level that they should be for their age.

For example, a 30 year old man that is unable to speak, use a toilet or dress himself may be considered to have the “intellectual equivalent” of a toddler.

The problem with this is that it was generally assumed that these people had very low IQ scores to also indicate this lack of intellect.

A child, that was featured in the CBS show 60 Minutes, is actually pretty smart and actually likes classical music and opera. The thing is, no one knew it.

It wasn’t until the child was able to use an iPad that they began to realize just how much he knew… and discovered his love for music.

barrierWho’s barriers are being broken?

Is it really that child that’s breaking through his barriers? Or is he still the same child that he’s always been?

Some would say that he is, because he’s now able to communicate the things he knows and his taste in music… however, I’d argue that it’s more a case of us being able to break through our barriers.

He’s always liked opera, he’s known what a saxophone is before he used the iPad.

You see, up until now, we’ve had no way to ask the question and get a response. That’s on us, not that child. We’ve banged our heads on the wall over and over again trying to find ways to get input and output on a level that, not only could he use, but so could we.

The iPad provides that interface, not just for those autistics to communicate but for us to change the way we think.

Changing the way we think

Not only are we now able to ask in a way that many autistics can understand and get a response in a way that many autistics can make us understand… but it’s changing everything we know about “intellectual equivalent” measurements.

This child is clearly not a toddler. Not in his actual age nor in his “intellectual equivalence.” Toddlers do not know what a saxophone is.. much less view opera music as a reward. This child does.

The segment does not state what his IQ test score results would be, if they did one, but I’m fairly certain that what ever it was, is not reflective of just how much he’s able to indicate that he knows via the iPad. Do toddler level IQ scores allow a person to identify a saxophone on a screen?

Something to think about

It’s human nature to speak about a person as if they’re not even there, when it appears as though they’re not hearing what we say. Maybe not right away and certainly not intentionally, but people do it none-the-less.

The thing is, as was always suspected by some people, these children truly are taking it all in. They see it, they hear it and they feel it.

So swear words, abuse, insults, derogatory statements… all kinds of hateful and hurtful things can be taken in by these children that you may think aren’t absorbing anything at all.

Likewise, they will also be learning as you read to them, learning as you speak to them, feeling as you love them and taking in all that happens around them.

And it may be years, it may be never… but maybe, just maybe, someone will hand your child a piece of technology or an app that helps you to break through your communication barrier and your child will astound you.

So even if a doctor uses the “severe” word, even if your child scores low on an IQ test… and even if someone tells you that your child has the “intellectual equivalent” of a child or toddler… remember, those are just barriers. Once you find a way through, you may be quite surprised at what you find out.


For more on the CBS show 60 Minutes segment on Autism Apps:  http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7385686n

If you have some ideas or would like to get involved in being able to make Autism Apps: http://hackingautism.org/

Comments { 2 }

Your iPad, Your Child and Your Restrictions

Thanks to you, you wonderful person you, my family was able to get an iPad for our family recently via your donations and my boys have been in heaven ever since.

It didn’t take long to realize that there would be a few things that I’d rather my boys couldn’t do with it though so… I took to the information highway to find out how to set some restrictions, also a few handy tips on easier/faster ways to do things.

As a fellow parent of a child with Autism, if you have an iPad or are thinking about getting once, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned.


If your children are anything like mine, then “pressing” an icon sometimes results in a very long press, which on an iPad, can be disastrous. Long pressing on the icons enables the ability to move and even delete programs completely. Luckily the app store allows you to retrieve apps again without having to pay again but still, what a pain. Especially if a lot of things are removed and you are left wondering what all is now lost.

Another painful feature is the “in app purchase” feature which developers like to use so much. That’s where they give you an app that does some nice things, but to do all of the nice things, you have to make a purchase from within the app. Kids seem to find these with relative ease.

With “Restrictions”, you can stop that from happening.

If you go to the main screen, you should see an icon called “Settings”, this is where you want to go first: 

This icon will take you to a screen that looks like this.

iPad Settings

Click for full size

In the menu along the left, you need to find the “General” menu item. This holds a lot of information but also hides away the “Restriction” options that you’ll need.

There is also some other handy stuff, such as setting a “Password Lock” and “Lock Rotation” if you want it to stop flipping around when your child moves it.

The first time you press on “Restrictions”, it will ask you to enter a 4 digit passcode which is essentially a lock. This prevents little fingers from finding it and making changes to it. Some children are clever enough to find this and may wish to get around the restrictions you set. The passcode ensures that does not happen.

iPad Restrictions Passcode

Click for full size


So set a passcode, something you won’t forget… and get yourself into the restrictions area. This is an area that you’ll want to become intimately familiar. For it’s in here that you can make it so that apps can not be deleted, in app purchases can not be made and more.

iPad Restrictions

Click for full size

If you take a look at this image, you can see all of the options available but more so than that, take note of the top two options.

I’ve heard from one parent who said that their child discovered how to view Youtube videos and became obsessed with it. Their child would no longer do the apps, preferring instead to go straight to Youtube to watch their favourite videos.

Using the Restrictions page, you can now turn off Youtube so that the icon no longer appears on the screen.

** Youtube will still work though! If you truly want to prevent a child from watching Youtube videos, you will have to disable Safari as well or else they can just browse to a video, press on it and have it load from the browser.

A few tips

So you’ve locked down a few things so that your child is no longer installing, purchasing, removing or using apps that you don’t want them to. Now it’s time for you to learn a few things on the iPad that you may use yourself.

  • Quick way to get an apostrophe: That key that has an exclamation mark (!) and comma (,) under it actually also gives you an apostrophe (‘) if you press on it for a second. Press and hold that key down and the apostrophe appears.
  • Quick way to get quotation marks: The same as the apostrophe tip above, this time, press and hold the button with the question mark (?) and period (.).
  • Screen shots (picture of the screen): ever have your child do something amazing that you want to share and there’s no way to save what is on the screen? Well, now you can. Press and hold the power button at the top (don’t let go!) and then press the main button on the front of the iPad (you know, the round one with the square in it that does everything)… if you’ve done it right, the screen will flash white and you’ll hear a camera sound. Check your “Saved Pictures” album and you’ll find your screenshot!
  • How do you close programs?: That round button with the square in it has a hidden feature, if you double press it (press it two times quickly), a little hidden panel will show up at the bottom of the display which shows you all of your running programs. Press the red ‘X’ in the corner to close the program, or press on the icon to switch to it.

There’s a lot more to find and discover but these things should help you and your child to have a good learning experience with your iPad.

If you have any tips, please feel free to share them in the comments. We’re all here to help out each other and make the iPad experience as beneficial for our children as possible.

Comments { 7 }

Here is how a small donation may get you an Ipad

iPads have become the go to device, not just in every day life, but also in treating Autism. So much so that there was actually a segment on Autism in Apple’s iPad 2 launch video.

If you know all of this already, then you probably have heard of Shannon Rosa and her son Leo. If you haven’t you should start here: iHelp for Autism.

Shortly following that, Apple was in their house filming that launch video that I mentioned just a moment ago. Yes, it’s Shannon and Leo in that video.

Now they’re giving you the chance to win an iPad in a raffle just as they have… not only that but it will come preloaded with a bunch of their favourite Autism apps.

Visit Leo’s ipad Raffle at http://www.crowdrise.com/leosipadraffle and make a small donation to the Autism Science Foundation, $10 will do… or more if you’re so inclined.

Each $10 will get you a raffle ticket that goes towards your chance of winning the iPad.

Imagine, an iPad, lots of great apps and all it costs is your donation of $10 towards an Autism charity. It’s kind of a win/win/win situation.

Hurry though, the raffle ends on April 29th at 12pm PST. The draw will be at 1pm PST that same day using random.org.

For more information, visit her blog post about it: Leo’s iPad Raffle

And for more about Shannon Rosa, visit her sites Squidalicious and The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism

Comments { 1 }