I probably sound like a broken record, but I can hardly believe it's been so long since I've posted an update on our use of the communication software for iPod and iPad Proloquo2Go. I posted a response a while ago on this blogpost by Sam Flatow.
I wanted to elaborate here. Instead of responding to his (not entirely invalid) criticism on spending a arguably very large sum of money on iPads for kids, I wanted to tell more about how this has changed our live. And has it ever.
First off, we knew that the iPad was going to treated less than gently, so we invested in an Otterbox. It adds considerable bulk and some weight to the iPad, but it creates a rubber bumper around it and most importantly it's screen, and the iPad has survived all the very real challenges it faced, as listed in my comment on Sam Flatow's piece. I probably even forget some of the horrible abuse this intricate technological device has suffered over the months. In my response I forgot to add that I also got a film to cover the screen to protect it, it does not interfere with the otterbox, and so far, not a scratch.
But aside from it's surprising physical sturdiness, it has opened up a world of communication for my son he can take wherever he goes, and it's been an inspiration, and a source of hope. No exaggerations.
I wasn't kidding when I stated in my response that F2 had figured out how to work the iPad in 5 minutes. Granted, he's always been fairly visually driven, and his speech therapists have been working very hard with him to communicate with pictures for years. But still. He looked at it. Turned it around a few times, tried to take a bite off the edge, curiously touched one of the pictures on the screen, and off he went. Because we figure there always needed to be a functional iPad around, we got 2, and named them "Mork" and "Mindy."
About 3 weeks later we had gone to lunch with him, and he'd been playing around with Mork and Mindy without us knowing exactly what he was doing. When lunch arrived I tried to take it away, so he could eat, and suddenly Mork says "Why did you do that? I want Blue's Clues please." It was jarring to say the least. Needless to say I immediately gave Mork back, and retreated to my side of the boot.
When F1-3 was ill a while ago, and throwing up, he came over several times to say "Brush my teeth." He asks for "drink, flavored water," "Blue's Clues," "Face," (a character on Nickolodeon, "use the computer," "something to eat, breakfast, cereal." I mean, it's awesome. He's communicated 10 times more in the past 6 months, than he has his entire life before that. I can go on and on, but we learn new things every day, and we're not even trying very hard. For us, the iPad's been a lifesaver. It has greatly enhanced the quality of his life. It's fun, it encourages learning, and it's very intuitive. And even though he may be a special case, because of his communication issues, but I think the reason it works for him, applies to most kids.
Edit: Not quite the same arguments as mine, but there is at least one other person who thinks iPads are great for kids.