I’ve worked as a Service Delivery Officer at Family Fund for almost three years, and a big part of my role has been setting up the free iPad workshops that we run for parent/carers to learn how to make the most of their device. I go along to those sessions to greet parents, as well as being on hand to support them.

iPads are one of our most popular grants, as they can provide a variety of benefits to a disabled or seriously ill child or young person. The technology supports their learning, communication and development needs.

We know that a lot of our parents receive their new iPad and are concerned that their children already know how to use the iPad. They too, are wary about screen time and what their child might be accessing. As I’ve learnt during my time here, the capabilities of the iPad in supporting different learning needs are huge – particularly with things like accessibility. For example, there are a range of voice control, display and voiceover settings which could support with visual impairments or dyslexia. However, it’s likely that most parents don’t know half of the features that are available without someone pointing them in the right direction. 

We have very skilled Apple accredited trainers who deliver our workshops, and it’s great to see how they are able to use their experience to adapt to the needs of every parent; whether they turn up with an iPad which has never been taken out of the box, or are fairly proficient technology users who have specific questions about settings or which apps to try. The workshops provide an introductory two hour session where parents can learn the basics about iPads, as well as ask any specific questions.

Many parents don’t feel confident using an iPad when they first arrive at the training session, particularly if they have not used a tablet before or if they have spent years using another operating system such as Windows – the iPads work quite differently. Some of the most popular topics that people ask are usually related to how to restrict what their children are looking at on the iPad, how to apply time limits, and how to download useful apps for their children’s learning (or stop their child from downloading the less useful ones!) A lot of people are surprised to learn that they can start applying basic parental controls and restrictions on the iPad with a few taps of a button, giving them the confidence to let their child start using the iPad independently. It’s great when I see people share stories and frustrations about their child’s technology use and realise they’re not alone, plus gradually pluck up the courage to begin asking more and more questions as the session goes on. 

Every workshop attracts positive feedback and nearly everyone says they’ve learnt something significant at the end of the session. The main thing that people normally ask for in the session feedback is to give them more training – which can only be a good thing! 

Here’s what some parents told us after attending a workshop: 

“The trainer was excellent at providing jumping off points for further exploration - I am certain I’ll find a lot of useful apps and information specific to our family’s needs.”

 “It was thorough and very informative.”

 “Everything was perfect.”

Find out more about the iPad support we offer or sign up for a training session that suits your needs.

Watch our series of short videos giving some iPad top tips