Charlie got an iPad for his third birthday. Family and friends bought him iTunes gift cards and we were able to purchase Proloquo2Go for about twenty dollars out of pocket (thank you, friends and family!). We fooled around with it, but Charlie was disinterested, and I was a more than a little disheartened. I see the things that Caleigh was doing with the iPad immediately and I wanted THAT. The truth, however, is that Charlie is not academically inclined. He likes music and computer, but has no interest in books (sob), or answering mommy’s questions. He wants to crawl and play and explore. He likes people. He likes shopping and going out to eat. Basically, he’s me, but smaller. Lord help us.
So the iPad gathered dust for quite a while. We brought it out in September and began playing with it again. Charlie still hated the communication app, so we used the game apps, story apps (slightly more tolerable than actual books), music videos, and of course, the iPod function.
Charlie quickly mastered the music video section although he did so mostly by banging his entire hand. After seeing that, we started messing around withe iPod function while holding his hand. Before we knew it, Charlie was able to scroll through albums to pick a song. He could make selection, change his mind, and exit out of certain screen. He’s better at it than any of his grandparents.
So while not an academic by any means, Charlie is showing us that he gets things when he wants to. He’s capable of taking multiple steps to get where he wants to, and he can use pictures to make meaningful choices. These are good things. I do occasionally get him to use the communication app, and he’s always right on the money when I ask him questions. It’s clear to me that he understand a lot even though he’s not able to talk. Maybe one day he’ll want to say something bad enough that he’ll be forced to use the communication app. Who knows.
As an added bonus, he’s now very demonstrative about asking for help–even when it’s not the iPad. He’s also doing a bang-up job of getting his pointer finger out and using it although he would much prefer if you help him. These are baby steps, but I’ll take them.
Below is a video of Charlie and his Dad using the iPad–Dad holds back his fingers so he can easily point. It’s hard to tell, but all of the movements are Charlie’s except for the “big tap,” because that’s a little too strong a movement for him at this point.