Tablets/Ipads And The Autistic Family
We are a highly technological family. Our youngest daughter at age 3 (with ODD and OCD) can navigate a tablet or Ipad efficiently. Our son who is autistic prefers the Ipad as it is tech he is used to and our oldest daughter at 10 can use either interchangeably.
Our problem arises with trying to find the best tools for our children. For example, all the Apple people I have talked to say our Ipad should long since be dead. It is an original Ipad and has been beaten around, banged and thrown more times then you could count and still works well. The tablets we have tried on the other hand have been a touch temperamental and fragile.
The ideal situation for us would be to have five 9-10 inch tablets/Ipads. The problem however has been finding a solution that actually works for us. I will break down the issues that we have encountered.
Original Ipad We are being told by everyone involved that it should never have handled the abuse it presently takes, however as a family with an autistic child, this is what we can expect. We also have an issue with the fact that the original Ipad does not handle flash (something that my children often use on webpages that are geared for them. Do we want to spend the exhorbitant cost of purchasing a new one when it does not meet our needs.
8 inch Coby power plug broke extremely quickly and we were unable to find a replacement plug at any of our standard electronic stores as the plug used is not a common plug in newer electronics (present standard is mini or micro usb chargers). The power button also quickly snapped off inside the tablet making it almost impossible to turn on and the case cracked incredibly quick as well. The only saving grace was that this particular tablet had flash. However what is the point of having flash if you can not power the tablet or even turn it on.
8 inch Polaroid again the power plug broke extremely quickly and because the plug was the same obsolete style as with the Coby we were unable to replace it. Again this tablet had no flash making it impossible for my children to access the appropriate sites. We replaced one of these very quickly as the original one would not turn on after less then a week.
This has left us with the inability to find an appropriate tablet that is strong enough to handle the kids and have flash as well.
Now we need to look at the Apps available.
From a general perspective the Ipad has a superior collection of apps. The large issue is that the more intensive apps for autism are extremely expensive and often out of reach for many families with autism. A related issue is that many of these apps are only available in English and those that are available in other languages as well are even more expensive then those only available in English.
The Android app selection is good for variety, however it is missing many of the Autism apps that are available for the Ipad which is extremely unfortunate. The largest drawback however is that there are a large number of apps on the Android side that have hidden embeded ad networks attached that randomly throw ads up on the screen. There is no way to disable the ads without deleting the app and even shutting off the particular app will still allow the ads to show. There is also a lot of apps that simply do not work at all but have not been removed from the app stores.
Both app markets need a bit of work. The Ipad market needs lower prices and a larger variety of free apps and the Android market needs to weed out the ad server apps and the unworking apps and start to develop an Android based version of the various special needs apps.
In all my preference up to this point is the Ipad because of the autism apps even though I would personally prefer to find an Android tablet that meets my needs as I do find them a better overall system.