Reading through the Family Fund blogs, Miriam’s blog, Six unique ways to use a tablet to help your child with autism, really stood out. She explains how she uses features like the camera and maps to reassure her children in times of transition or anxiety which prompted me to tell you about a great iPad app we’ve been using with a number of families for similar purposes called Book Creator.

Book Creator allows you to produce turning page books that can be stored, opened and read in iBooks. Importantly, books can contain and play a range of multimedia objects: photos, video, sound files, weblinks, in addition to text. This means we can create texts that live on the iPad and can be updated easily. The texts contain all the elements Miriam identifies as helping her twins cope with new situations: soothing videos recorded by parents, interviews with unfamiliar adults such as new teachers, pictures that play familiar sounds when pressed, and text that is read out automatically.

As an example, let’s say that we want to prepare ‘Jane’ for her first day in a new school. We can visit the school ahead of time to capture photos and videos of any elements of the day like new teachers, the route to school, the grounds and playground equipment or we can find them by searching the internet and saving them to the device. We can take photos of equipment and resources Jane might use and record sounds she will encounter: automatic doors, traffic, teachers introducing themselves.

When we open Book Creator we will see a very simple, uncluttered welcome screen with the familiar “add”, “inspect” and “share” buttons, it’s very similar to most iOS apps. We can edit an existing book by tapping it or start a new book by pressing “+” and then choosing one of three possible templates (or a comic book panel!)

It really is as simple as that to create Jane’s book, however, the impact of that book on Jane will depend on how we choose to use these simple tools. For example, there is an option to make a sound file invisible in iBooks. If we turn this on, when Jane reads the book, the sound file will be there but she will not see a button to press. Instead, we can resize the speaker button and put a picture underneath it; in the finished book Jane will be able to press the picture and hear the sound. We are constantly thrilled by the ways parents apply the tools of Book Creator: family members whose pictures speak to the child when pressed, objects that read out key facts about themselves or safety advice, maps that say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when you tap a direction, photos that explain the emotion they are expressing.


Additionally, we can add video and images we have made in other apps. The iPad is capable of providing a wide range of unexpected support for our families; all we really need is an idea of what we want it can do for us.


These are the kinds of tools that I show parents during digital skills training offered through Family Fund; find out more about our Digital Skills Programme.


Download Book Creator in iTunes