Emma received an iPad through a Family Fund grant for her son Toby, who has Down’s syndrome. “Toby has just had his fourth birthday and the iPad has been amazing, both for him and for me. He likes to watch Mr Tumble and so it keeps him occupied when I need to do other things, like take a shower or attend to my other child. We only have one TV in the house and so the iPad means that Toby can watch Mr Tumble on the iPad and my other child can watch TV programmes he enjoys. The iPad has really helped in our house.”

When she ordered the iPad, Emma ticked the box to show she was interested in training. She was then sent a short survey to complete which enrolled her on the Family Fund’s Digital Skills Programme. Emma was selected for training and the Apple Education Trainer came to her home to deliver a one-to-one training session. “The training was great,” says Emma, “the trainer, Ray, was really helpful and spent around four hours at our house. We covered loads of stuff, but the thing that really sticks in my mind is guided access, which means the iPad stays locked on a single app. This helps Toby stay focused and helps me keep control over what he does on the iPad.

“At the moment, I’m helping Toby to use a learning app called Special Words, which I’m hoping will help him to develop his speech. Special Words was developed for children with specific needs, including Down’s syndrome, and was designed to help improve language and communication skills. The app involves matching pictures to pictures, and words to pictures amongst other things. It’s really good because you can personalise the app with photos and so we can upload pictures of people and things that Toby is familiar with.”

Emma found the training useful in enhancing her own digital skills too. “As I’m really busy, I don’t get much chance to spend time on the iPad myself. I’d like to spend a few hours trying out all of the things I learnt during the training, but there’s competition for the iPad as Toby’s likes using it so much!”

Find out more about our Digital Skills Programme