Caroline is mum to six year old twins Oscar and Ava. Oscar was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2009 when he was two years old. Oscar’s diagnosis affected every aspect of family life, from Caroline giving up work to care for him – resulting in the loss of one wage – to the structure that is in place to make sure Oscar remains as calm and secure as possible.

Caroline, who lives in Northern Ireland, was signposted to Family Fund in 2010 by her Health Visitor and applied for an iPad. “Oscar was completely non-verbal so we had been using a combination of Makaton sign language and PECS communication system,” says Caroline. “The iPad allowed us to introduce more fun ways to interact with Oscar to get him to communicate. We began to upload photos of everyday things that would provide visual clues to the day resulting in less frustration and meltdowns – a picture of granddad let him know it was time for a visit and a picture of the car showed that it was time to go out”.

Oscar soon mastered the use of apps and was soon forming sentences on the iPad such as “I want juice” and reinforcing his schoolwork through a carefully selected app.

Oscars first full spoken sentence wasn’t “I love you mummy” as Caroline had hoped, but rather “Where’s my iPad mummy?” Caroline still celebrated this breakthrough as “I love you mummy” followed quickly and he hasn’t stopped saying it since!