He had become a zombie for the electronics. My dear sweet boy was turning into a surly techno-zombie – iPad never out of reach or turned off unless I took it away. It would be different if he was using it to communicate or playing educational games – but he refuses all of that – instead he stims while repeating 20 second sections of movie introductions or the “bumpers” – those short network identifiers between commercials “Silly Cartoon will be right back on SillyNetwork after these messages”. This wasn’t why I bought the iPad. I sat him down and talked with him like a young adult. I explained that he was using the iPad to stim and get wound up and I didn’t think it was very healthy. I suggested he think about other things he could do with his time during the weekends. I put the iPad away. At first, he asked for it quite a bit, but I kept reminding him that he could have the iPad after school Monday. Finally, he quit asking. He spent the day watching tv with me, watching the snow, playing his Nintendo DS, reading books, watching tv in his room, and helping prepare his meals.
This morning, he asked once, and I told him again that we were limiting the iPad use because he wasn’t using it responsibly. I think he nodded at me, and that’s all that was said. He asked once when he got home, and was satisfied that he gets the iPad before bed for a while, as long as he stays calm while he is watching it – no stimming, no loud mouth noises, and no jumping around.
I feel very positive about this. It just affirms for me that he does understand everything that is going on around him. Over the weekend, he played the commercial below for me 3 times.
He watches it quite a bit. He leans his head on my shoulder when the boy talks about eye contact.
People are divided on their opinions about Autism Speaks – but this video is spot on. My autistic son told me so.