Now Reading: All About Kyle & The Ipad…

All About Kyle & The Ipad…

(originally written & published on December 10, 2011)

Many on my Autism Daddy Facebook Page have asked about Kyle and what he does with his iPad, which apps/ games he likes, does he communicate with it, what kind of case he uses, etc,etc, etc

So here goes….

First off you should know that Kyle is quite severe. He is completely non-verbal and his receptive language isn’t great either. They usually place both at the 15-18 month level… and he’s 8…

He gets speech therapy at school. They dabbled in signs for awhile, but nothing stuck. They started with PECS but Kyle never got past 2 pictures, an object that he likes (Cheerios) and something that he dislikes.  And even with that he’d be inconsistent. Sometimes he’d only pick the one on the left, other times he’d not care if he got Cheerios or not. As usual with Kyle, it was difficult to find a consistent preferred object, a motivator, a reward to make him do his work correctly.

Also Kyle doesn’t have the strongest point. It’s kinda all over the place. Sometimes with his right hand, other times with his left…sometimes with his index finger, other times with his middle finger.  Sometimes if you asked him to point to the letter J on a book with the alphabet it seemed like he knows what your asking but points to a letter around the J (up, down, left, right).  At school last year they noted that sometimes when asked to point to something, he’d look at the object, then turn his head away and then point, and get it correct…as if his hand/eye was off….

All of this to say that we were not buying the IPad and expecting miracles. We were not expecting Kyle to become Carly Fleischmann. We were not going to go out and spend $$ on a $100+ speech app like Proloquo2Go yet… We got the IPad in April and just wanted Kyle to think of it as a fun activity, to understand and grasp the touch screen functionality, and to NOT THINK OF IT AS WORK.

So we bought lots of toddler apps (Monkey Preschool Lunch Box, Red Fish Alphabet for Kids)  and Sesame apps (Count TV and Elmo Loves ABCs).  And we bought some episodes of his favorite tv shows (Sesame Street, Dora, Jacks Big Music Show)… And we built a YouTube “Playlist” of all his favorite Sesame videos.

And so far it has done what we hoped. No miracles, but his point has gotten ALOT better.  He recognizes the icons for the apps/ games he likes and can choose them.   He knows the icons for YouTube and Videos and can choose them. And then he sees the pics of his shows/ videos and can choose what he wants to watch independently.   He can sit (or stand) for 20-25 minutes straight and be engaged with the Ipad in some way.  This is HUGE.

So he has taken to the touch screen functionality BIG TIME!  So much so, that he’s trying to touch icons on the tv.  He’s always poking at it.

We have bought a few very simple inexpensive PECS apps (ANSWERS: YES/NO, VERBAL VICTOR) and he’s doing ok with these but he still sees this as work and some of his old habits come out, like always picking the picture on the left.

But so far we are EXTREMELY happy with our purchase. We send the iPad in to school with Kyle each day and they use it as a reward during some of his one on one time and as a communication device during others…

And many have asked what kind of case I bought that was strong enough to withstand the punishment that Kyle could dish out.  Well I did a TON of research on this and after much internal debate I decided on the Griffin Survivor case. They claim that it was tested by the military  and exceeded military standards for shock/drop, wind/rain, vibration, sand/dust.  They show videos on their website of people dropping ipads off of bridges, etc.  So i figured if it’s strong enough for the military it’s strong enough for my Kyle…and so far, so good…  It is now on sale at Amazon!

I’ll leave you with a video that gives me alot of hope. This is Kyle correctly choosing the orange in the RedFish ABC game. What I love about this is (a) that he’s getting it right, (b) how good his point is, (c) how much he’s concentrating.   For some reason this slot machine type game brings out all the best in Mr Kyle….
var _gaq = _gaq || [];
_gaq.push([‘_setAccount’, ‘UA-25522671-1’]);

(function() {
var ga = document.createElement(‘script’); ga.type = ‘text/javascript’; ga.async = true;
ga.src = (‘https:’ == document.location.protocol ? ‘https://ssl’ : ‘http://www’) + ‘’;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(ga, s);


amzn_assoc_ad_type = “search_box”; amzn_assoc_tracking_id = “a050ef-20”; amzn_assoc_marketplace = “amazon”; amzn_assoc_region = “US”; amzn_assoc_width = “120”; amzn_assoc_height = “90”;

If you’re gonna shop Amazon anyway, can I ask that you enter Amazon by using the link above?  This way I can make a little money.  This blogging thing has been awesome & life changing for me… but I must admit that it’s taking up a lot more time than I ever thought… so if I can make a few bucks it’ll make it easier for me to justify….Love you all! Thanks!!


Written by

Frank Campagna

I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).

Conversation (24)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

24 People Replies to “All About Kyle & The Ipad…”

  1. Anonymous

    I have to share the communication app my son uses, Speak For Yourself. In two months he has made great progress with it. He can recognize and request over 30 words on it! He has a chromosomal disorder and autism.

  2. My son also has an Ipad but he is all over the place with touching different icons. He is almost 8 with around 2 yo mentality. He likes to watch his shows on YouTube but he is always touching the screen and ends up hitting some random link…how do you set up the playlist so that when he does get finger happy he doesn't click on something completely inappropriate? And what about all the other icons that are built in on the Ipad, how do I prevent him from clicking those? Basically I want only things for him on the Ipad so that no matter what he decides to click on it will be appropriate for him. Anybody please respond if you can help, I am not so good with computers etc.

  3. My daughter is around 3yo developmentally. Here's her favorites if anyone wants to check them out. Haven't tried any of the more expensive educational apps yet. But some of her favorites are a bit educational for speech, pointing, and alphabet.

    Talking Gina (also talking tom, talking roby, etc)
    Tesla Toy
    Photo Booth
    Daniel Tiger's Day & Night
    Smule Magic Piano
    Snoopy Coaster
    Toca Monster
    Paint Sparkle
    Endless ABC
    Writing Wizard

  4. Miranda

    Hi Autism Daddy, We use Sono Flex Lite, I was told by a speech therapist that its just as good as Proloquo2Go but a lot cheaper.

  5. You ROCK Ky!!!!! Good job! I like how he scanned the options and found the orange back to back! Such a smart boy! 🙂

  6. Yes we love the GRIFFIN survival case…Angel has slammed her IPAD so much and its still working. Also Angel likes DR PANDA's garden game but they have lots of others…and they real simple. She also loves Mr potatohead and they have an app that is like $5 but has so many backgrounds and costumes I figured it was worth it. Nikki Talk has a pecs type app…but I just took pictures of the microsoft word pecs i made for Angel and she will just goto pictures and pull them up and point to them when she wants something. So if you have your own system that works for you. Just think of a way to put that on the IPAD. Dynovox also has something like that AUtism Mate program where you take pictures of your home and then put where his favorite items are in that.

    I would love to see how FUSION/ HANDLE training would help your child. I think OT if covered by your insurance or Medicaid would cover it….but I am not sure. It has helped Angel a bunch.!fusion

  7. Hi, I have come across your blog today, you have a wonderful blog, and are an inspiration.

    I am researching blogs now as I am making my first blog.. I have taken my time but am giving in and joining the club.

    I am an app developer and create apps for children with autism to help them learn while enjoying it, and also work with schools to carry out workshops to make apps to the schools requirements.

    I look forward to your posts!

  8. Anonymous

    My 3 year old has been playing with ipad before her diagnose and i think is been helpful for her so i would let her play whanever she wants cause i remember mrs grandin would say she is totally visual so that means is ease for her to learn more and also when she was about 8 months i bought for her your baby can read and i think that has help a loooot so if u have a chance get the videos my baby loves it

  9. Anonymous

    My.son.loves his ipad! He uses.the YouTube playlist as ur son ive also added.apps.such as bubble poppong which.helps.with planning problem solving and.concentration. We as u ise it as his downtime reward we together ot helps with his patience and taking.turns overall am so very greatful for.his grandmother purchasing it for him!!!!! Thank you and your wife.for being a continual inspiration to live.on "autism.avenue" =0)

  10. Anonymous

    thanks for posting this! I think I may steal your idea about sending it to school with my son:) He loves his Kindle Fire HD especially since I bought his favorite book Fox in Socks. He loves that it reads it to him as he points to the words or auto reads it and he just turns the page .

  11. Love this! Jack's use of the iPad is similar to Kyle's. He totally got the touch screen right away. He enjoys watching his favorite videos and picture slideshows that I make for him. He's not really into games (his fine motor skills are categorized as "poor") but for music and photographs, it's been great.

    We just started with a new speech therapist outside of school to see if we can take it to the next level. Hopefully we'll find a to use it to help him communicate..

  12. Anonymous

    Glad you did this, I've been dying to ask what apps Kyle has been using. I have pet hotel on my 'iguy' and was considering asking him to be my neighbor. 😀
    Thanks! DNanny

  13. Anonymous

    Just want to wish you all a happy new year!
    I like reading your blogs so keep it up into the new year.

  14. I love using iPad and iPod with my LF non-verbal students! Not only have they learned discreet points and choosing skills, they have also learned social skills (turn taking, joint attention) and one has used his iPad skills to learn to use a regular computer. One of my higher functioning student uses his to write short paragraphs. They are such great tools

  15. Thanks for posting. I love how the iPad can be so wonderful for so many different severities of autism. My sons are not as severely affected but the iPad has been amazing for them, especially my four year old. He uses P2G to communicate and my three year old has used it to learn to read. I never in a million years would've imagined.

  16. Sandi - PDD-NOS mom

    Thanks for posting this article again since I'm new to your site. I won an iPad over the summer and my 3 yr old (hyperlexic/PDD-NOS took control). I used it to get her to potty train (and we still aren't quite there). What I discovered is that she has a crazy video memory (like photographic memory) and can recite lengthy videos I make verbatim and applies that language to everyday life appropriately. It's wild. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why she responds (or rather, recites) my words/actions via the video so accurately and when I say these things to her directly, I get no response. I use the video to supplement her weekly speech sessions and regular ABA therapy. My point, I've heard of few cases where the iPad or even computers didn't help in some way for a child with autism. We have some of the same apps loaded. She loves the Monkey Lunchbox too and even the drums.

    1. It's called "scripting" and my grandson repeats entire dialogues of Calliou and Thomas DVDs….He's 10, can read but still can't hold conversations.

  17. Hey Autism Dad,
    Rando reader, who saw a post on her friend's facebook who is an Austism Mommy. You're very inspirational.
    Much love and respect to you.

    Have a happy, save and amazing new year!

  18. Anonymous

    Thanks for your post! My son is very much like yours. Mine has a tendency to throw items randomly and spontaneously (even much preferred items.) Do you ever have a problem with Kyle throwing or dropping his ipad? I do plan on getting the case you recommended. I had never heard of it so thanks for your recommendation on that as well as thank you for your entire blog!!

  19. I love this ipad. We use the iphone for Tommy… more portable for us. Though, he WANTS the ipad, i don't want to get it because his speech therapist has it and I fear getting one, will take the value away from the one for speech. The iphone is just fine for Tommy 🙂

    Thanks for sharing that video!!! I love watching these kids. That THOUGHT PROCESS. He ALMOST chose the wrong orange.. then caught it. I LOVE THAT!!! Sweet! Great video. 😀

  20. So cool 🙂 Thanks for sharing this with us 🙂 And congratulations to Kyle for getting that orange so many times 🙂 David sadly still can't do that. He used to be great at it, but it's one of the things he lost as he's slowly losing his cognitive ability again.

  21. Anonymous

    My sons 9yrs old and again is on the same levels as Kyle. We too are looking into using an Ipad as Harry's lack of communication is now becoming an issue for him and hes getting very angry he cant communicate with us which is leading to meltdowns:(

  22. Hi Autism Daddy

    I'm an autism daddy too. My 10 year old sounds just like your kid. He's severe, non verbal and about the 12-15 month mental age as well. He also has CP and microcephaly.

    Enjoy your posts, especially this one, since we are getting an iPad for our son for Christmas. Thanks for posting the different apps that you mention here.

    We got proloquo on the iTouch now and it is of very limited use. We'll try the preschool apps you mentioned.