iPads Are Not the Enemy
I didn’t really put a lot of thought into exactly what kind of parent I wanted to be. Attachment parenting? Free-range? Strict? No clue. Pretty much all I knew for sure was that I would NEVER let my children sit on an iPad/tablet/phone. I usually verbalised this sentiment to anyone who would listen, more often than not, in a restaurant or café where I had seen children doing just that. Basically, I was a judgy, clueless, a**hole. Fast-forward a few years and you can bet your last Tim-Tam that I have downloaded a plethora of “educational” apps to entertain my children and enthusiastically share any great finds with other parents.
I think the worst part about my pre-parenthood snap judgements was that I literally didn’t know anything about these parents or their children. I just assumed. I assumed the parents just wanted to shut their children up. I assumed that the children would be left on devices all the time. I also assumed that iPads were somehow VERY BAD for children.
It turns out I was very wrong on that last point, (and perhaps not so wrong about the first – but fair enough). In fact, studies have found that certain apps may actually improve children’s vocabulary and math skills. Importantly, there is also evidence that in children with cognitive delays, iPad apps can boost language capabilities and social interaction with others.
After speaking with both parents and educators of children on the autism spectrum in particular, it was unanimously concluded that iPads, used in moderation, have many benefits:
- Children who have coordination difficulties often find the touch screen much easier to use and navigate than a pen or keyboard.
- There are countless amazing apps covering a variety of topics and activities to engage your child. Children on the autism spectrum often have a very specific interest and an iPad is an amazing way to explore this further.
- Apps can be organised in a very visual, and predictable way.
- iPads create an opportunity for an autistic child to have some time to be alone, doing something fun or educational independently. This is equally important for the child and their carers.
- iPads are portable, and can easily travel with the child, meaning that whether it is used for fun, education or as a soothing tool it is always available.
The obvious downside of too much time on a device is a child not getting enough time outdoors or moving their body. So basically, like pretty much anything when it comes to this parenting gig, be it sugar, wine (for you, not them), iPads… everything in moderation.
We can officially ditch the guilt knowing that our little people actually have a big, wide world at their fingertips that we can help them explore in a way that works for them.
And if any young, childless, know-it-all gives you any grief, ask them if they’d like to babysit your little angels – no screen time allowed, of course.
To find out more about the benefits of iPads for children with a disability visit Book Now and let the team at Break Away Retreats talk you through how you can utilise this technology in your home and open up a world of opportunities for you and your kids.