The iPad – a controversial subject in the Autism World! Some professionals believe it’s the root of all evil (ok I over exaggerated a bit but you get what I mean!) Some parents only allow their child a certain amount of time on it. Me? I might raise some eyebrows here, but I can’t thank it enough. It’s no secret that most children with ASD love the iPad, I was very scared that it was affecting my son’s ability to speak. But then I started realising how much it was benefiting him.

Firstly, I made sure that the apps I downloaded were either educational or TV programmes he watched. Secondly whenever he watched YouTube I would combine his favourite interests with numbers and letters, so I would search ‘Number Train’ or ‘Alphabet Train’ as my son loves transport. He became fixated with these, and once his echolalia kicked in he would repeat the train off by heart – but what was even better was the fact that when some speech came he started recognising numbers and letters without prompt and could soon spell out his name! (I should add that during diagnosis day, I was told to prepare myself for the fact that my son may never speak!)

I then downloaded an app called ‘FW Sampler’ with a picture of a cat on the face of the app and the spelling of ‘cat’. This app allowed my boy to drag letters to the correct spaces in words, and even if it isn’t the correct space the app automatically places the letters correctly, but the key thing about this app is that it speaks back to you. My son learned to spell words such as ‘Train’ and ‘Car’ and will now point at a vehicle and spell the word! I could not fault this app and recommend it to anyone trying to enhance their child’s speech!
Technology might not be big for some families, but it’s made a whole load of difference in mine!

Fay is an autism parent to son Bowie, 4 years old. She is an avid campaigner/activist for autism awareness and has her own foundation 'Awareness For Autism' which raises awareness to the general public and gives support to families living with the disorder. Through her campaigning and awareness Fay was nominated for 'Most Inspirational Volunteer of The Year' award at The NAS's 2016 'Autism Professional Awards'.

You can also find out more about our Digital Skills Programme, supporting families to get the most from their devices.