The mum of two youngsters with development disabilities has told how their lives changed dramatically for the better - thanks to iPads.
Now Kim Garland, mum to Jack (7) and Claire (6), from Kirkintilloch, is asking local people and businesses to donate their old mobile phones to a charity to help other families.
Jack suffers from autism, which affects social interaction and verbal and non-verbal communication, while his sister Claire (6) has learning difficulties.
Kim decided to collect disused mobile phones and exchange them for an iPad from Hearts and Minds autism charity, which sends the phones to China for recycling and uses the funds to purchase the tablets and iPads.
Kim said: “Jack was struggling in school. It got to the point where he was saying to the teacher ‘I’ve told you the answer why should I write it down?’ Now he has his iPad it’s helping with his school work and his language. He really loves it.”
Kim was so impressed with the results she bought an iPad for Claire.
She said: “Claire could hardly speak. Now she copies songs I download for her and it’s really brought her speech along. She can play some games and can FaceTime her nana. It’s amazing,”
Dr Sue Fletcher-Watson, from the University of Edinburgh, who specialises in the use of technology to help people with autism, said devices like iPads have been “revolutionary”. She explained: “Normally children are rewarded by smiles and encouragement by family and friends but autistic children don’t necessarily pick up on social cues like these. Autistic people are often talented at using technology, working on an iPad or similar device can give them a sense of achievement and confidence, as well as the chance to be independent learners.
“This makes a difference, especially where children have struggled to take part in a traditional classroom.”
Kim said: “This type of technology can help kids so much, but iPads are expensive. If a firm is replacing old phones or someone has an old phone lying around, they could help by donating them.”
For info, call Ian McGrath of Hearts and Minds on 07540 558788.