A few days ago, a colleague forwarded me a story about children with autism using the new iPad to communicate. For those of you not familiar with the DynaVox picture-to-speech device, it’s insanely expensive, and most people can’t get one because their insurance doesn’t cover it. Lo and behold, I found that a lot of parents with autistic children are interested in the iPad. Please see the articles here, here and here. You’ll notice a lot of references to the Picture Exchange Communication System– that’s the therapy that has been recommended to us for home use. I’ve linked the Wikipedia article for your perusal.
My son is 3 now, and he has a lot of work ahead of him. His communication impairments are severe, and it takes constant vigilance on our part to help him learn to speak. As of this moment, he mostly echoes what is said to him in the hopes that we will give him whatever he wants. If we are lax in our teaching methods at all, it starts a cycle of immediate regression. You can imagine how it feels to see him just locked in his own world, unable to respond to most external stimuli, and how I would do anything to help him adapt to our world.
A lot of you have asked how my son is doing ever since my post shortly before episode 27. I just want you all to know he’s improving, and we’re starting to get a handle on the scope of his disability. There isn’t a lot of hard data on autism, even though it’s one of the fastest-growing diagnoses in the world. That means that there are a lot of quacks out there who are more than willing to make a buck at the expense of your child’s health. Originally, I just dismissed this iPad thing as a fad.
Then I gave my kid a DS to play with.
It was incredible. He held the pen like a pro! You can see the gears turning, and I hope the possibilities are present in your mind. To you, he may just look like a normal three-year-old… but I guess that’s the point, isn’t it? Just like a normal boy. I wanted to cry.
There aren’t a lot of accessibility apps for the DS, as you can imagine. With its giant hinge, it’s not exactly made for toddlers. To make matters worse, his therapy, the only therapy that has worked so far… comes out to $24k per year, with no insurance coverage.
I never meant to ask you all for help. I wanted to make a product I could sell you instead. But here I am, asking if you will ChipIn to help us get an iPad for my beautiful son. I promise to post videos of his brilliance.