My son, Ivan, is 6 years old and diagnosed with Joubert Syndrome, Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis and Landau-Kleffner Syndrome. He’s a sweet and happy little boy who faces many challenges every day. Ivan is totally blind, non-verbal and non-ambulatory. He desperately wants to interact with the world and to play, just like any other 6 year old, but it can be so hard for him to move or communicate.
We were given an iPad about 6 months ago to test out with Ivan and it has been amazing. I know that there are kids out there using the iPad to learn their letters and numbers or even to communicate so this may sound silly, but Ivan’s iPad has taught him how to play!
With Ivan’s cognitive delays it’s been very difficult for him to learn to play a simple game. Taking turns doesn’t come naturally to him nor does the concept of cause and effect. Plus he has so little fine motor control that small toys are difficult to manipulate. But he’s found motivation in the iPad. He loves music apps or apps that make silly sounds and the screen is so responsive to his touch that he is happy to explore new ways to move his fingers around.
One of his favorite apps is iLoveFireworks where any small tap of the screen creates a *BOOM* and a firework. The bigger the tap or the more fingers you use, the bigger the fireworks! This game has taught Ivan how to use his fingers and the difference between a “big” firework and a “small” firework. He will take turns and let me do a firework then he does one and whoever has the bigger *BOOM* wins! Playing, taking turns and winning have been such difficult concepts to teach Ivan, but the iPad was just too much fun to ignore!
I’ve been so excited about the gains Ivan has made with his iPad that I decided to write about it on my website. I review all the apps that work best for Ivan in my iPad App Review section and I also wrote an article on the iPad’s accessibility options. It’s been a wonderful device for us!