Oliver and his iPad

Oliver has always had challenges with grooming. Nail clipping, ear cleaning, hair washing, teeth brushing, you name it. I’ve done a lot of de-sensitizing with him and although I do still get the occasional foot in the face he is generally a lot calmer now. The one thing he still can’t handle though is getting his haircut. I dread it. One person has to hold his hands down, another holds his head still and the haircutter does the fastest haircut you’ve seen in your life! So I have to force myself to take both boys when their hair starts getting in their eyes. Owen is a trooper, he’s not exactly a fan of the experience but as long as he gets to watch something he likes on the televisions they have there then he’s good. The main problem for him is that he’s noise sensitive – especially when it comes to the sound of other children crying. So… his brother’s screaming usually sets him off as well and then like a tennis ball I bounce between the two, ineffectually trying to calm both of them down! It’s a stressful experience for all parties. I give the hairdressers hefty tips and exit relieved that it’s done for another couple of months.

As many of you know I fundraised so I could get iPads for both boys. Due to the generosity of friends, neighbours, family, co-workers and people I’ve never met I raised the money needed and we received the iPads just recently. I expected that Owen would take a little while to warm up to it – he always takes time to acclimate to anything new. Oliver however has loved his from the get-go. One app I knew I wanted to get for him was Zoo Train. It’s on one of Shannon Rosa’s list of apps that her son Leo likes (http://www.squidalicious.com/2011/05/oodles-and-oodles-of-apps-leo-likes.html) and when I read about it I knew it would be perfect for Oliver – trains, animals and puzzles – oh yeah!! A couple of weeks ago I noticed on http://momswithapps.com/apps-for-special-needs/ that it was on sale for 99 cents so I decided to grab it.

Given that Oliver was already in love with his iPad I thought we’d take it with us to the medieval torture chamber hair salon and see if it helped to distract him a little. When we got there I could tell he was anxious, but he chose a chair and sat in it. Before the haircut started I gave him his iPad and asked if he’d like to play with Zoo Train. I was completely amazed by what unfolded before my eyes. I’ll let the picture of it speak for itself:

Happy as a clam

He was amazing. I was so proud of him. I had to hold him a little when she trimmed the hair around his ears with clippers but otherwise he was calm and relaxed the entire time. He didn’t cry or try to stop her once. Not only that but he was speaking functionally to me about what he was doing with Zoo Train – he was labelling the animals that he put on his trains, commenting on what the train was doing and telling me the colours of the different engines he chose. By the end of the haircut I was on Cloud 9. The hairdresser said that she wouldn’t have known he wasn’t neurotypical if I hadn’t warned her beforehand.

Needless to say I have left the Zoo Train developers a gushingly positive review in the iTunes store. Best 99 cents I ever spent in my entire life.

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10 Comments on “Oliver and his iPad”

  1. jnette June 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm #

    Awesome !!! Have often wondered myself if this would work with Gavin. Bravo !!! 🙂

    • OMum22 June 13, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

      It was wonderful to see him so calm. Made me so happy. 🙂

  2. Jenny June 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    A big WOOOO HOOOO and YIPPPEEEEEEE! I am amazed you didn’t cry. I would have! I have written about haircuts on my blog a couple times, and it always gets a big response. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! YAY for Oliver! I am so proud of him. And you, too. 😉

    • OMum22 June 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

      Thanks so much Jenny. It was magical. It made all that time I spent raising the money seem like no trouble at all. It’s such a gift being able to help our kids overcome their challenges. He did so well. So proud. 🙂

  3. Erin Blocksidge June 14, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    That’s amazing!! I’ve heard so much great things about those iPads, I’m starting to think I’d like to get one for Thor 🙂

    Glad it helped him get through the torture chamber 😉

    • OMum22 June 14, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks Erin! Worry about getting your service dog first, lol. 😉

  4. Aurelia June 14, 2011 at 12:28 am #

    Aren’t they amazing devices? I’d buy them for every kid with an issue if I could. Like magic I can now eat in restaurants!

    • OMum22 June 14, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      I agree. I was talking with a teacher from Beverley school the other day – UofT is doing their study there on iPads and special needs kids – they said they were amazed at what a powerful tool they are. Crazy that they don’t qualify as an assistive device – if you want those you have to pay more and get less!

  5. Karen V June 14, 2011 at 9:26 am #

    So happy to see a picture of Oliver! He is adorable. The iPad is such an amazing tool. We have had ours for over a year now and use it daily. As my son’s interests change, I find new apps to keep up with him. He has taught me more of how to use it than vice versa.

    You are much braver than I am. I just cut my own little guy’s hair last night. Again. I’ve always been too chicken to try a real hair cutter but you have inspired me to give it a try with the iPad! So glad you have them! 🙂

  6. LuvMyCrzyLife June 14, 2011 at 9:05 pm #


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