I thought I'd update some on the iPad, as there is so much hype out there. I feel like it's the first big autism "cure" type trend I'm in the middle of. Of course, no-one is saying it's a cure, but it sometimes feels that way. I think that's why I resisted getting one.
So far, it's fair to middling with Janey. She loves the Starfall app. I'm sure that's because she's used it a lot at school, and so there are no surprises there. What impresses me is how well she can navigate it. I didn't realize she would be that skilled at moving from screen to screen, and getting back to where she wants to be. Mostly, she wants to see the same screen numerous times, and to do that, you have to go to the next screen and then back, or restart the program. So she's learned to do that with ease. It makes me a little hopeful about her future use of technology. She does "get" it in some ways.
However, I put lots of other apps on there (it's amazing how many great things you can get for a dollar or two) and she has little interest in them so far. I'm trying hard not to push them. I try to remind myself that she doesn't interact with things the same way I do. I'd be driven to try each one, to see what each one did, but she doesn't have that urge. And if I try to direct her, it either makes her less interested or doesn't affect her at all. I guess in some ways, that's like all kids. So I am trying to casually play with apps I think she might like, without talking or comment, to spark her interest.
It's an amazing piece of technology, but it's not the miracle devise for autism people want to think, at least for Janey. It does seem to work well with the way she likes to interact with things, and it is teaching her computer use skills. I can see her using more apps on it in the future, hopefully. I'm not sorry we got it, but in some ways, it can be depressing to try something that gets so much hype. It's the history of autism treatment, I think. It's because Janey and kids like her do have those strange, compelling moments of clarity, the splinter skills, the times when they are fleetingly so "normal". Even though I know very well otherwise, sometimes I can't help but be taken in by the wish that we will find the right key and unlock the "normal" Janey. And of course there isn't one. What there is is my own Janey, my beautiful mysterious girl.