How Fund It Forward Helped My Autistic Son Get the Nexus 7 Tablet He Needed
My son is autistic. Big time. Not "a little odd" autistic. Autistic like can't put his shoes on the correct feet, Autistic. He puts his pants on backwards, shirt inside out on a good day. On a bad day, he might strip down and try to run around the neighborhood. Oh, and he is going to be 10, so it isn't like "hey look at the baby" cute.
I have to be frank, and try to laugh about this, because if I think of all the opportunities he won't get, all the things he might never do, I may break down. I hope you can laugh or smile with me.
Parents with autistic kids, you understand where I am coming from.
We first started learning the motivational power of a tablet at occupational therapy. Devin started playing Monkey Preschool lunchbox on an iPad. He loved every minute. Devin would work for "iPad time." And work hard!
The monkey laughed, Devin smiled(this is big!) and actually did the activities and learned quite a bit. His focus was amazing on that tablet. After a few weeks, we knew this was something that we needed to implement at home.
We imagined we could use the tablet to both calm Devin down when he was upset, as well as educate him.
Our life was about to change much more than that.
This was the app that started it all for Devin.
So we got a tablet...
We were finally able to save up and purchase a tablet. Not an iPad, as even a new 1st generation iPad is over $200. We purchased a Google Nexus 7 tablet for $199. It also came with some credit at Google Play, which allowed us to purchase the apps Devin was using at therapy.
Devin really loved those apps. They kept him calm, and busy, instead of tearing another 2 foot hole in our bathroom wall, or tearing up all the carpet in his room, revealing Terrazzo floor from the 1960s.
His focus on the Nexus 7 was amazing. Devin paid very close attention to what was going on that screen. Devin gets distracted while trying to Velcro his shoes, so any sort of attention to what is going on is really good for him.
The tablet was teaching him how to react to events occurring in real time. It was teaching him to count, to make decisions, colors, shapes. Monkey math was teaching addition and subtraction. Devin was even learning to read sight words.
Devin was now able to sit quietly, tapping on his tablet. We dared trying to go "out."
Our first time at out went really well!
Our first attempt was church. The tablet alternated between Jake, Connor, and Devin. We brought small snacks that they loved. We brought coloring books.
Between these three things, we were able to keep the 3 kids (relatively) quiet. Devin wasn't yelling or screaming.
We could go out to restaurants. Not McDonald's or Steak n Shake. Sit-down restaurants, with real silverware and glasses. Cloth Napkins!
For once, we weren't the family everyone looked at disgustingly. "Why can't they keep those kids quiet?"
Devin's tablet was charging, while connected to a USB port on the computer. He was seated on a chair, tablet in hand, playing Monkey Math. His little brother, Jacob, ran between the computer and the chair he was seated. He didn't see the cord. The tablet was thrown to the ground.
The screen was shattered. The tablet would turn on, but the touch capabilities no longer functioned. Worse, broken glass could injure Devin, or someone else in the family.
Repairing the Nexus 7 would cost almost as much as a new one, and we just don't have the funds.
Fund it Forward Saves the Day!
I was provided information during Devin's therapy sessions about getting assistance in funding for assistance devices. I looked over the list, checked out a few sites. Most of them were confusing.
Kristin Hasley from FiF contacted me by phone. I felt great after talking to her, and I know we can work together and help Devin and help FiF provide for more children.
Fund it Forward is a volunteer run non-profit organization that specializes in funding things for children. If your child needs an iPad, they can help. If your child needs an above ground pool, wheelchair accessible van, specialized safety bed, or bicycle, Fund it Forward can help.
Contact information for Fund it Forward
FUND IT FORWARD
P.O. Box 457
Wexford, PA 15090
Phone: 303 - 619 - 3514
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This is the Nexus tablet we had. There is a 32 GB version as well, but 16 was enough for us.
These are similar to iPads, but much less expensive. I've seen Devin using both iPads and Nexus 7 tablets. Nexus 7 worked just as well as iPad, and was much less expensive.
You can find other tablets even less expensive, but I haven't used them, so I don't feel comfortable recommending them.