Amber is three years old and has Down’s syndrome and a hearing impairment. Her mum, Maryanne, signed up for Family Fund’s digital skills training when she received an iPad through a Family Fund grant. “The iPad has had a really positive impact on our family” said Maryanne, “Amber has been learning signs on the iPad, which she’s then been using to communicate. Her communication is still quite limited, but she’s learning new signs all of the time – it’s making a big difference.”

As well as helping with communication Amber is also using the iPad in other ways. “She uses learning puzzle apps and the Jolly Phonics app which is designed to help children to learn to read and write through playing games” explained Maryanne.

Maryanne doesn’t use the iPad much herself but does have an iPhone and learned how to synchronise the two devices during the Family Fund training. “Knowing how to do this has been invaluable as it means that everyone in the family, including our nanny, can share a calendar. We all know now when Amber or one of the other children has a hospital appointment or needs to be somewhere at a certain time. It’s made organising things much easier for everyone.”

Through the digital skills training, Maryanne and her family also learned how to apply settings which mean the iPad will work effectively with Amber’s hearing aids. “The training helped us understand how to do lots of things that we wouldn’t have otherwise known about. For example, we didn’t know that there was a way of setting the iPad to stop Amber accidentally leaving the app she was using. Now we know how to do that, Amber is much happier, which makes us happy too!

Find out more about our Digital Skills Programme