While it seems I spent a lot of this week, taking my kids to camp, therapy sessions, school and back, I also managed to make some headway with the iPad. I figured I would share the information and links I found, in case it helps others.
First of all I ordered the heavy-duty protection cover. Its made by a company called Otterbox and the specific model is called the iPad 2 Defender Series Case. The price quoted on the company's site was a bit steep but I managed to find a new one for almost half price on eBay. It arrived today. It took a few minutes to figure out how to put it on, but I do feel much better about the kids handling the iPad now. I am still only letting them use it with supervision though.
I also found some great websites that have lists of special needs and other educational apps. The Friendship Circle Blog has a whole series of posts on the iPad, highlighting different categories of apps such as communication, life skills or social skills, giving information about funding for iPads as well as listing ten other great websites that offer information about apps. If you are seriously considering buying an iPad, I highly recommend checking out their site.
Beineinu, another great special needs organization run by a friend of mine, also has a list of apps as well as recommendations for other websites.
All the information can be a bit overwhelming. I decided at first to stick to apps that are free and see how Y does with them before spending even more money. There seem to be many free apps online, although many do offer an upgrade to a more comprehensive app- for a fee of course.
I will say that I had to wait somewhere with Y this week for over a half hour, and we spent the time working on letters, numbers and sight words. He had fun, it passed the time and he learned something.
I also uploaded some social stories about day to day activities- going to the supermarket, park, etc. that I am hoping to review with him as well as a behavioral reward chart that I want to use for motivational purpose and behavior modification.
The Friendship Circle blog writes how when the iPad first came out, people were speculating about all its different uses, but noone, especially not Steve Jobs, could have forseen what a boon the iPad would be to the special needs community, especially in the realm of augmentative communication. They also write how they are sure many great apps are yet to come...I will keep you posted as I become more educated.