Thursday, March 8, 2012

iLiam 2: Electric Boogaloo

Well now that Ken is finished giving us all a good scare I suppose now is as good a time as any to jump in with my first post. Before I do that though, I first want to make sure that you all remember there is still a little less than 12 hours to enter the Mission 3 iPad Giveaway. Simply head over to this post to read the rules and leave a comment to enter. Just go do it, you know you want to.

Okay. Now that that’s taken care of. . .

Hi. I’m Eric and I’m the newest member of Mission iPossible.

The handsome gent in the photo? That’s my son Liam. He’s watching his favorite program on his ipad. His ipad which he received in the first ipad giveaway put on by Mission iPossible.  Mission one. Yep, Liam is one of “The Twenty”.  

I was planning on a big post outlining how I came to be mixed up with the likes of Ken and Heather but it’s a pretty simple story and Ken outlined it pretty well a few posts ago. So instead I'll give you all an update on how the ipad itself has helped Liam and how we have integrated this wonderful tool into all of our lives so far.

When I sent in my email to enter that other contest I didn’t really have high hopes of being selected. With the severity of some of Liam’s special needs (both physical and developmental) I was sure that there would be plenty of more, … let's say “qualified” candidates that would then be able to use this technology quicker, or more effectively. I knew that I wanted to try working with Liam and this technology as early as I could but I didn’t really think I’d get the chance.

Low muscle tone, global delay, vision impairment, each one a reason to need and experiment with touch screens but what if the sum of those parts were just too much to overcome? What if like almost all toys, books and even TV screens we had tried it was too much for Liam to grasp? 

What a bunch of nonsense.

A few months after receiving Liam’s ipad I was emailing back and forth with Ken about this and that when he asked me how we were getting along with our ipad. Was Liam using it to communicate? How were we getting through any of Liam’s physical limitations? Was the iPad able to help Liam interact with us? All great questions, so I’ll just tell all of you exactly what I told him.

As far as the iPad and Liam, let me say this. While we are far, far away from him using it to interact with US. He is interacting with IT. And right now that's more than I could have hoped for.

Low-muscle tone. Global delays. Compromised vision. All of these obstacles.

I'd never seen Liam PLAY with a toy in any meaningful way. Toys are heavy for Liam. Toys are complicated for Liam. I'd never seen Liam REACH for something in a meaningful way. My face maybe at times, but not something inanimate that HE had to manipulate. I'd seen him stare at the TV before but I'd never seen him REACT to the TV before.

It's all changed now. Smiling at fireworks displays. shouting oohs and aahs as he realizes that it's HIS hand making notes when he touches that digital piano. Cartoons and netflix videos are much more engaging when we can place the ipad right into the "sweet spot" of his vision (18-24 inches away).

So to answer your question again. Using the ipad to interact with Karin and I? No. Not yet.

Using the ipad to interact? Yep. That in spades.

So there you have it. My first post here is in the books. It may not be a new mission announcement but I think it's appropriate use of the space. I hope you'll all follow Liam's trip through learning and play using this wonderful technology. Maybe I can get a few more of you to add your stories. I'd love to hear how it's helping you.


Victoria said...

Thanks for sharing, Liam looks like he really enjoys his iPad. That's great

stephanie said...

Beautiful first post!!!
Beautiful Liam!!

Thanks! Nice to meet you:)

Lisa said...

This is awesome !! I'm teary reading about how Liam is interacting with his world through the ipad.

I know as a mom of a child with multiple diagnoses, sometimes I wonder how far my son will be able to interact with others and the things in his environment. When a plateau comes, and they do from time to time, I have a period in which I get a bit anxious, wondering if this is going to be the limit of his abilities. I fret over it for a short time, but only for a very short time, because my son will in turn do something that we didn't know he was able to do. I think I'm the one with limited abilities. Limited by my thoughts and my anxiety.

Reading others stories of how the iPad and other technology have given us a glimpse into their world, and the ability for our worlds to mesh and interact.

Thank you for your post.

I too, would love to hear more stories about how others who have received an iPad are doing with them.

Our story will always start with a boy who continues to amaze me with his spirit and unconditional love and a family who tries everyday, to do the best we can, for a boy who depends on us to do just that !!

With love in my heart, and tears on my keyboard (hmmm, new song title possibly), I will sign off ;)

Anonymous said...

Welcome Eric! Great first post! I also loved hearing about how Liam is using his iPad. They (iPads) really can be a breakthrough for kids.

Anna said...

Eric, such a cutie patootie you have!! How do you ever get anything done with such cuteness around?! I am just thrilled to see what doors have been opened for Liam. It really puts a lump in this ole softies throat. Imagine what things will look like in a year.( I know, sometimes thats hard.) But really...... go ahead and multiply what youve seen. wink.

wendy said...

What a great post. Liam looks like he is really enjoying his ipad. It amazes me how fast children pick tehnology up