Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘iPod


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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.

Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.

While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

“Think Different”, Apple, Inc. 1997

I woke up this morning, reached for the iPad, and learned in that way, with great sadness, that Steve Jobs had died.  As I drove my children to school this morning, they both pointed out the iStore as we passed by.  The iPad was the most incredible gift to our family.  I’ve even written about how the iPad helped my two kids to connect with each other.  I’m convinced that this is an essential tool for my girl that will grow with her, supporting and organizing her as she adds more of the skills she needs to succeed in life.

But Steve Job’s legacy is greater than that.  When Pudding first started at her special education preschool, there was another little boy in the class on the autism spectrum.  C was non-verbal, with self-injurious and other difficult to manage behaviours.  He didn’t do well in that classroom, and when the consult was called in assess him for the preschool autism class, that was when Pudding came to the attention of her beloved Ms. S too.  The two kids moved over to the PAC together, and remained in the same class until we moved.

Pudding had a crush on C.  She would get shy around him and cover her eyes when he looked at her, or if we mentioned his name.  Every time I went to see Pudding in her classroom, I got a glimpse of C, struggling so much harder than Pudding that it was hard to imagine they shared the same diagnosis.  He made progress in the new classroom, but he remained unable to communicate at a most basic level.  Pudding’s teacher used an iPod in her classroom, and like all the other kids, C was drawn to it.  She began the paperwork, and eventually he was granted an iPad and the communication software to go with it.

The last time I visited the school, the class had a leaving party for Pudding.  The difference in C was incredible.  He was calmly sitting at the table eating his lunch.  After he finished the food on his plate, he used the device to request more.  The entire time I was there, I saw no tears or aggression.  Ms. S told me they’d even begun toilet-training for him, something that seemed impossible a few months previously.  Finally this incredibly frustrated little boy was able to express himself in ways that weren’t harmful.  He has a way to connect himself with the rest of the world, and we have a way to understand him.

There are countless children like C and Pudding, who “think different” and now have the ability to communicate, to connect, even to escape from the longest hauliest of long-haul flights thanks to this technology.  Who knows,  perhaps they may one day be those adults who push the human race forward.  It may not have been his original intention, but Steve Jobs’ vision created the tools for these people.  The ultimate square pegs in round holes.  Staring at an empty canvas and seeing a work of art.  Sitting in silence and hearing a song that’s never been written.  This was his legacy: bridging our worlds.

I think Steve Jobs must have been crazy enough to think he could change the world, because he did.  He changed ours.


If you have anything to spare, please consider making a donation to the HollyRod Foundation to help other children benefit from this life-changing technology.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

October 6, 2011 at 4:08 am

Sensory Showing

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Last week we were visiting family in Florida, but the timing coincided with something I planned on doing one last time before leaving the country: attending a sensory showing.  Here in the US*, AMC theatres provide a monthly sensory showing of a film for those on the spectrum and their friends and families.  It. Is. Awesome.  The normal rules of the cinematic experience are suspended.  You are free to move around and talk, bring your own allergy-free snacks, and the volume is lowered and a light kept on.  Instead of the usual commercials and trailers, the film begins right away.  They even put a special price on tickets, so a family living here outside expensive Washington D.C. pays the same amount as those living in more affordable parts of the US.

The downside to the sensory showing being only once a month, and catering to the entire population (not just children) meant that the two films Pudding would most have enjoyed were not sensory showings.  We went to see The Princess and The Frog anyway at a regular showing.  We deliberately waited until it has been out for a couple of weeks, and went to a Sunday morning screening where there would be other kids.  Pudding enjoyed much of it, but the sounds was a little loud, and some scenes were scary.  She needed to make a couple of trips to the bathroom.

Towards the end she was a little overwhelmed, and I gave her my iPod (volume off) to distract her.  A woman sitting behind us quickly told us it was distracting her, and asked us to switch it off.  I wanted to tell the woman how well she was doing, that she just didn’t know what distracting was, but she’d soon find out.  But the normal rules applied there, so I did as she asked, fully expecting a meltdown.  But Pudding coped, she just asked to leave again.  Her Daddy took her for another walk and they returned for the final scene.  I was soured by the experience, and when Tangled came out and we found it was not the sensory showing that month, we decided to wait until it came out on DVD.

Finally Toy Story 3 hit the cinema and it was a sensory showing, and we had no other plans that day.  I don’t recall a time when we have felt so welcomed as a family.  There was a real sense of community, and I knew no matter what my kids did, we would be accepted and respected.  There are few times we’ve been out in public when I could say that.  Pudding really only identifies with female characters (read princesses and fairies) and Toy Story 3 became a bit overwhelming for her, so that time we took advantage of being able to wander around safe in the knowledge that we weren’t bothering anyone.  A child behind us began the film by reciting every line after it was spoken.  His parents soon urged him to stop, but it didn’t annoy me in the least; rather it cemented the fact that we were with those who understood.  Pudding had just started in her preschool autism class, and a classmate found her and cupped her face and spelled put her name.  I didn’t know she knew him (though I guessed), but marveled at how relaxed she seemed with somebody touching her.  I wonder if she was so calm because we were, because the normal rules that are so constraining for her just didn’t apply that day.

Our family already had plans the day of the sensory showing of Cars 2, but I persuaded them to join us for it.  Cars 2 definitely isn’t a Pudding kind of film, and it also went over Cubby’s head, but just being free to move around, play in the iPad, and speak is a freedom that they enjoyed, and so did we.  All the cousins got to enjoy the movie together.  Though we were away from home, it was still touching to see moviegoers hugging each other at the end.  That sense of community and belonging is a real gift.

Thank you to The Autism Society and AMC for making these accommodations and giving my children such enjoyment, and making us all feel like we belong.

*UK readers click here for information about an autism-friendly screening.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

July 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Yesterday.  Wow!  I wouldn’t like to do another of those any time soon.  I’m still exhausted, and feeling a little sick.  Forgive me if this isn’t the most peppy of posts today.

Yesterday morning was Cubby’s screening by Early Intervention.  I was worried I’d called too early.  He has a lot of language, but there is something a little off about it.  That was my main concern.  During his last assessment at Kennedy Kreiger, he showed some atypical and repetitive speech patterns that gave the researchers cause for concern about his social communication.  He passed the EI screening for language effortlessly.  There is such a broad range of abilities at this age.  They moved on to screening other areas.  No problems until we got to problem solving.  He failed both tests, and launched straight into a tantrum when he couldn’t do what was necessary.  It is pretty typical behaviour for him, but I just hadn’t perceived a problem in that area.

The good news then, is that he will now go ahead to the eligibility panel and probably to a full evaluation.

The bad news is that there could be a cognitive delay, or at least motor-planning difficulties.

The ugly was when I had to go immediately to collect Pudding from school.  Her teacher, Ms. S., greeted me, told me about Pudding’s day, then asked how Cubby was doing.  She was greeted with the ugly cry from me.  A couple of quick hugs, some consoling words, and we were on our way once again to Pudding’s speech therapy.

No premanent damage- he'll still play the piano, or guitar, or drums...

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Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 14, 2010 at 10:13 am