Thursday, July 8, 2010

iLove the iPhone

The iPhone and iPad have revolutionized the world of assisted technology for those with autism.  Non-verbal autistics can now communicate using iPhone/Pad applications.  So rather than paying up to $10,000 for an augmentative communication device, they can now get similar functionality with an iPhone and an app like proloquo2go (pictured) for a total cost of around $400. 

In addition to assisted communication, there are iPhone apps to support ABA therapy, writing your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), and even one for those on a gluten-free diet that catalogs the menus of all major restaurant chains (I can save you the $3.99 for this app...the roast chicken with vegetables is the only GF thing on the menu).

The iPhone has certainly revolutionized my autistic daughter's life, but not because we've purchased any of the above apps.  No, we haven't purchased anything nearly that constructive, because we haven't made it past the games.  For those of you who don't know, children with autism have a difficult time waiting...in line at a store checkout, for the food to come in a restaurant, in traffic to get to their destination.  That's where the iPhone comes in and why the games are far and away the most useful "autism" apps there are.  For just $.99 per game, I get complete peace of mind.  I no longer have to scan the checkout lines looking for the least stupid cashier and making sure that I don't get behind a senior citizen with a checkbook in hand.  Get a debit card already grandma!

The first game that I purchased for Audrey was a cupcake-making game.  First you pick out your cupcake liner, choose the batter, put it in the oven, set the timer, and then shake your iPhone to get them out of the tin.  Pretty cute.  Then you pick out your toppings and decorate.  Here's an example of a yummy one with candy shamrocks, chocolate bunnies, gummy bears, candy hearts, peppermints, gum drops, circus peanuts, kiwi, and bacon.
Then we discovered a pizza-making app...with the exact same topping selection. 
And toast...now with foil-covered soccer balls and gold coins! 
If  I count the candy shamrocks as a vegetable, all food groups are represented.  So besides getting us through great-grandma's 89th birthday dinner, Audrey is also learning all about good nutrition.  The obvious downside to these games is that you cannot eat your creation once it's done.  You can, however, email it.  Which has had the unfortunate consequence of Audrey thinking that she can now email any inanimate object and her saying things like "I want to email my bed to Lauren."  Still so worth it.

24 comments:

  1. Nothing clever to say in response to your great post except that I want an IPhone. However, husband works for a competing non-AT&T mobile phone carrier, so the odds of that are not looking good.

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  2. TOTALLY hear you on the ease of handing your kid the phone while at lines and stuff
    R still loves flash cards
    The thing he really loves though is the little vidoes I take of him with the Iphone video camera

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  3. I love my iPod and wouldn't mind an iPhone. And what wonderful pieces of technology they are. Kids need to be in control of something and if they can "control" the functions on an iPod or any hand held device, then it's great!

    I hear ya on the waiting in a restaurant or in traffic! I used to get nervous and uptight in those situations. I used to bring books and crayons which helped a lot. Wish they had iPods and things like that when my boys were younger!

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  4. I love my I-phone. It has been amazing with my daughter's autism therapy. Well, actually, it helps me pass the time while she's getting her speech therapy! LOL!

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  5. K reminded me about the videos...yes!! Another thing that Audrey is endlessly entertained by...pictures, and especially videos of herself. I still have her ballet recital videos on my iPhone(http://www.autismarmymom.com/2010/05/dancing-to-different-drummer.html) and she has not tired of watching herself make like Audrelina Ballerina.

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  6. Also as Cheryl mentioned, a great distraction for Mommy in therapy waiting rooms.

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  7. Great post! I have a friend who is planning on using some applications (PECS type) with her Down Syndrome son. I really like the idea, and all that is available. Unfortunately for us, my son is very hard on items...I believe that an Iphone, Itouch, or the like would not hold up for him. A shame really because I think it could be of great benefit for him at a relatively inexpensive cost.

    What is so cool is the fact that people are creating these applications for our kiddos...about time that something that does not cost an arm and a leg.

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  8. My now 13 yr old Boy 1 loves cooking. Yes, we have to work our way around some *ahem* sensory issues, but it has broadened his tastes considerably.
    Am thinking cooking lessons for him and Big Boy may be the way to go...

    Came from Blog Gems.

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  9. Ugh. Really? Pursuant to Blog Gems Law and under the Geneva Convention, I am required to comment on this post. But I cannot. My hatred of Apple and all things Jobsian prohibit me from even reading past the second sentence. So I will just say this:

    Cute! Adorable!

    Go ahead, jencull, arrest me. I don't care.

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  10. I got both my boys iPod touches for their christmas, and for Max (on the spectrum) in particular it has been a HUGE help with getting him to wait happily. Not only that, but if I distract him before the point of no return with the ipod, he calms down almost instantly. It's a godsend! x

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  11. Oh I remember this post :)

    And btw, I was jipped last time too ;)

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  12. Wow. I totally remember this post, but apparently I didn't comment on it the last time around. Whoops!

    Oh, and BDA hates apple? Or he hates eating apples. What if they're deep fried? Yeah, thought so.

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  13. I am a big fan of my iPhone, especially since my husband worked on it, but Moe's fine motor skills make it tough to work sometimes. That's why I'm hoping for an iPad for my birthday.

    Big Daddy Autism - if you can't deal with Apple, maybe you should get a Palm Pre and a new HP Touch Pad (this summer). Those are my husband's newest products, so consider it a donation to the wantapeanut fund :)

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  14. Please, we don't go anywhere without Katie's itouch, and I am currently trying to talk Kai into getting an ipad, b/c why not? It has been a freaking savior. The kid can't wait for a nano second without a freak out, so this is a necessity.

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  15. As a teacher I so would have loved to have a set of iPod touches (no need to tempt the little creatures to call 911 - my niece did that to me with a cell phone at the cute age of 18 months) to whip out for my kiddos who had difficulties with transitions and waiting. It would have saved a lot of tears, a lot of hair pulling, a lot of children melting to puddles of goo on the floor, and a lot of my sanity!!

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  16. I still want a freaking iPhone. I bought an Android G2 to replace my dead Blackberry and I am not happy. And my friend hated proloquo, weird, huh? She loves iCommunicate instead.

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  17. I want one so bad, but my phone history makes my husband say no.

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  18. This was a cool post, I remember it from the first time around. And, hey, I only got ONE measly comment from this Blog Gems so far... do I have to threaten folks to get them to come show me some bloggy love? Really? OK people, don't make me do that!

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  19. I was stiffed on my last Blog Gems post, too, so here I am commenting on yours today. I don't have an iPhone, but I do have an iPad and I love it. We are slowly downloading apps on it for my daughter who is disabled. She is responding to it -- I think the thing might really be a bit magical.

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  20. Shamrocks are a food group! I also always wind up in the line with the person writing a check..and then the check doesn't go through..after trying fifty or sixty times..by that time all the frozen pizza-which is the base of my kids food pyramid.(well who am I kidding it is their entire pyramid)..has melted which is when the check writer pulls out their debit card...

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  21. I don't know how many hours I've spent copying, pasting, printing, cutting, laminating, cutting, and velcro-ing those icons, so I am beyond thrilled to see them all right there and so readily available!!! And I am lusting after your iphone. I can't even text on mine. Really.

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  22. I planned to comment here just to ask you to give Jen another chance - in a fortnight. But I can see that you have been well-rewarded this time - probably due to an excellent post! So true, so true - the itechnology is near-revolutionary for children with communication issues and learning disabilities. BD, I recommend you get over your blasphemous rigidity opposing the god of new-tongue for children.

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  23. This reminds me we haven't heard much of Audrey's texting lately...has she messaged any of those awkward contacts lately or have you deleted them? :)

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  24. @Mindi: She is off of texting at the moment. I guess the novelty wore off. She still does it occasionally, but not to any unsavory contact (which have NOT been deleted yet!)

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