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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cheerier, and no miracles

Janey got out of her last crying spell fairly quickly. I'd say it lasted a week, and by last Friday, she was very, very cheerful---not manic, but cheery, smiling, talking---great. This weekend was terrific too.

Tony and I thought and thought and discussed and discussed and finally decided to get Janey an iPad, with the only respite money we've ever gotten from the state. We got a one time $500 last summer, and I had saved it thinking I might use it for the iPad, and then had pretty much decided not to, and then with all the 60 Minutes buzz, we decided to get it. It came down to it being worth a shot---that we figured it couldn't hurt, and we didn't want that money frittered away on small things for her. So we bit the bullet and bought one. I spent a long time looking up apps that would be good. I was a little surprised that the main communication app that was shown on 60 minutes costs in the hundreds of dollars. I can't afford that. But there are quite a few free apps, or ones that cost 1 or 2 dollars. I got both autism apps and toddler apps, as Janey functions at about a toddler level in terms of computers.

There's not going to be any miracles for her with the iPad, I know. She likes it okay, and from using it at school, can find her apps on it, open them and sort of run them. But interactivity is not her thing. She likes to watch passively. I didn't put any books that get read to you or videos on, on purpose, but the main thing she's done so far is go to Starfall, which she uses at school, pick the K and have it play a kangaroo hopping over and over and over and over again. I guess there's skill there---she must know what the K is, but it has no real usefulness---I don't think she could find a K in another context. She also likes a game called Fish School, where just by touching fish they rearrange themselves into the letters. What she REALLY loves is hitting the button that makes you back to the menu, and then rapidly hitting the app button she likes, so going back and forth between the menu and the app over and over. I got the program I saw on 60 minutes, to have her touch pictures of objects to see her receptive vocabulary, and when she was motivated feeling, she did very well. She knows lots of words, like "robot", "remote control", "harp" that she would never say, at least when she has 3 pictures to pick from.

And what is missing here is the desire to really communicate. The kids on the show that used the iPad well WANTED to communicate. Janey gets by, with her few words and her actions, and I don't think she has a strong desire to interact more than she does. I might be wrong. But I think that her mind just isn't terribly set up to want interaction with others most of the time. She likes people that she likes, she is not adverse to others being around, but she isn't dying to tell us all kinds of feelings or desires. I have no idea how to change that. I have no idea how to motivate her, none at all. Her motivation is at the level of finding that "K" to see the kangaroo, but she doesn't have the curiousity that would lead her to see what would happen with the M or the R. If I showed them to her, she might like them, and try them again, but there's no push to find out more. She doesn't want to please us, not that she wants to DISplease us, she just wants to live her life the way that feels like contentment to her. It's frustrating. But how can I change it?

Anyway, it's great she's been happy. It's great to see her smile. And who I am to judge what makes her happy, just because it's not exactly moving her forward?

1 comment:

grammacello said...

You may know it but if not, a wonderful blog by a Mom with an autistic son is Squidalicious. She has done a great deal of research into iPAD apps for her son and her blog is a fount of information on the topic, plus I notice that most of the apps she recommends tend towards the 1 to 3 dollar ones. Please go to her site and let me know how you get on. She has hundreds of excellent ideas on just this issue!