Thursday, August 29, 2013

iPad as a Communication Device

If your household owns and iPad, or if your child uses one in school, you probably already know how well our kiddos can manipulate and utilize this technology.  It can be used to play games, learn to trace your letters, read, count and even speak for you.   There are communication apps you can buy that have more flexibility and are less expensive than some of the more traditional communication devices.  It is even more impressive when your child uses his iPad to communicate with you when you don't have a communication app installed on your device.

Let me explain.

Full day kindergarten has been rough.  Yesterday was particularly rough and Ben had some aggressive behaviors that earned him a great deal of time out, emails to Mom from the Special Ed director, and his teacher, and a phone call from both the school secretary and finally the Principal.

He had a BAD day.

This behavior is somewhat out of character for him and generally only happens when he is on the verge of getting sick.   He also struggles with constipation at times and that can make him cranky too.  So yesterday we gave him some Miralax before he went to school.  He also had a messed up routine due to school pictures being yesterday, which probably did not help his behavior much either.

 I learned at one of the conference that I attended, that when children (and adults) are in pain or afraid, their language skills decrease by an average of 2 years.  I think this explains why when he hurts or does not feel good, he just clings to me and signs hurt and won't do much else.   He did answer yes once yesterday when I asked if he had an owie, but would not tell me more. 

He got off the bus last night and seemed pretty good.  His Miralax worked while he was at school and he looked like he was feeling fine and happily played referee in the basement with his whistle.  We also had a talk about how we don't push, hit or scratch and he lost his popsicle after school treat and TV privilege.

At 6 we had to leave to pick up brothers from Football practice.  Ben fell asleep pretty quickly once we got in the car.  When we got home I put Ben on the sofa to continue sleeping for just a bit and started getting supper for the big boys.  At 8 after trying for over a 1/2 hour we finally got Ben up for supper. 
He ate 3 grapes and drank a couple sips of apple juice.  Then he climbed on my lap and said, "Night, Night please".  He NEVER asks to go to bed. 

This morning he was up as soon as Randy turned on a light at 6 am.  After a trip to the bathroom he snuggled in with me for a bit.  Soon he was asking for the iPad.  I gave it to him and tried to catch a few more ZZZZs.  My alarm went off and I hit the snooze a few times.  Ben was playing with a flashcard game that speaks 2 words called Learn to Talk First Words .   He had been repeating one card over and over again for at least a couple minutes, and was shaking me each time he played it, but I was zoning out.  Finally he said, "Mom Potty!"knowing that would get me up (because Mom does not like accidents in her bed). So I headed toward the bathroom while he headed for the kitchen.  I said, "Ben, don't you have to go potty?"  He turned to his iPad and tapped the flash card again.  It said, "want food".

Mom finally got it.

But now I am torn.  He is perfectly capable of saying I want food, time to eat, I hungry, breakfast please, or I want pancakes, but instead chose to tell me by using the iPad.   On the one side I am so impressed that he was able to find a way to tell me what he wanted, since we don't really have a communication app on the iPad.  But on the other side, why didn't he just tell me?   Maybe he did and I was just too tired to internalize what he said.  Or maybe he does not feel good or is in pain.  He has been on a very low dose of Thyroid meds for about a month.  Maybe they are causing issues?   He has been specifically acting different since Sunday and maybe he is coming down with something?  I wish he could tell me what is going on.

But whatever the cause, that was some great problem solving skills buddy!