Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Fate of Ipad #2

When your kids do dumb things, does it ever remind you of something dumb you did when you were a kid? It's easier to show grace that way. It sure reminds me. I did a ton of dumb things. That is the perspective I am choosing to take on what happened here this weekend.

A little over a year ago, I read Carly Fleischman's story, "Carly's Voice." It is the story of a girl who has autism, and she learned how to type to communicate. Her story is amazing. She was the inspiration for why we are trying to teach Lilli to type independently. Even after two and a half years, we are still going at it with faith that we are on the right track. But I've posted about that before. In this post, I wanted to point out that when I read her story, several details really stuck with me.

One was that Carly broke a bunch of laptops while they were teaching her to type.

Another was that it took a very long time to teach her to type, but they never gave up hope, and they tried hard, for years.

Even after she broke a bunch of laptops.

I feel like the number was pretty high, like six or seven laptops, but I can't remember. If you ask me, even one or two is a lot. For some parents, if a child with special needs breaks even one device from slamming it or throwing it...well, I think many would say, "That's it. My child cannot have another one. It's too expensive. This is obviously not the way to go. Let's try something else." I think some parents will not even try to teach their child to use a device, because they fear their child will just break it. Yes, it's true. They might. In fact, they probably will.

But not Carly's parents. I picture them sighing, maybe yelling, or maybe just sulking in silence about it all, and then trudging out to buy yet another laptop. Because they had to. How could they not? (By the way, Carly is now in college, taking classes. So imagine if they'd given up after she'd broken the second or third laptop.)

Carly's story really has had a lot of influence on us. This girl has given hundreds of parents (maybe thousands - you should see this girl's facebook page) of children with autism something that cannot be bought:


Because if it can happen for that girl, then maybe it can happen for my child too.

Hope that even though things are unbelievably difficult, there might be a reward one day. A reward of breaking through the silence. Of finally knowing exactly what my child is thinking and wanting to tell me, all the time. And even to think that there "might" be a chance that Lilli can learn to type all by herself, that maybe one day she "might" talk, there's a chance. No matter how small that chance may be, there is hope.

So you may be wondering why I remember specifically that Carly broke a bunch of her laptops.

It's because Lilli just broke her second ipad last night. Her second one.

Yep, plunged it into water and gave it a bath. Pulled it up and the screen was blinking. That destruction took probably all of about five seconds.

I am going to say this, even though I probably shouldn't. But I wasn't home at the time. I was gone for 25 minutes and my husband was there, running water in the tub for Lilli and getting ready to bathe her. But he was distracted... and momentarily drawn away from the bathroom by chaos in the kitchen with our other two children, a spill, and a borrowed dog.

Don't ask about the dog. So even though it was a big accident, well, I wasn't there. I was picking up my niece at the airport. I had nothing to do with it. That's all I'm saying.

So the ipad #2 is sitting on the heater vent this time. Last time, when ipad #1 was put under the faucet by Lilli (also discovered by my husband, I might add - I was home that time, but he was closer to her...I'm just saying) we did the bag of rice method for a week. And that ipad never recovered. It never came back on again. I had to drag all three of my kids to the genius bar at the local Apple Store, only to be told by the genuis (who took a special flashlight and shined it inside one of the little holes):

"This ipad has water damage."

I had just told him that my daughter put it in the sink and turned the faucet on. (She likes water.) So my experience at the "genius bar" kind of made me chuckle.

I felt like saying, "Well, DUH!" But you can't do that in an Apple store to someone who has the job title of "Genius."

I know, the rice in a bag trick has worked for many of you. Just not for us. Maybe we should have used white rice, not natural whole grain brown rice. I don't know.

We are trying the prop-it-on-its-end-on-the-heater-vent-and-pray tactic this time around.

This ipad is extremely valuable to us, in so many ways. Lilli took her first standardized test ever with this ipad. She can use it to make choices - whatever choices we program into the Proloquo speech communication program. She uses it with her ABA therapist in many of her programs. She has several favorite apps that have taught her a lot. The ipad is her number one source of self entertainment. One of her only ways to entertain herself, actually. (See my last post.) I actually cannot list all of the reasons why the ipad is so important to us, there are too many.

You now may be wondering: do we have insurance coverage on this ipad?

Hmmm. Great question. I do not know.

Last time this happened, I called the school, and the insurance plan had just run out, and they had not renewed it. They graciously forgave us and replaced it anyway.

This time...well, this time my plan is to have my husband make the phone call. I do not know how much grace this district has left to give us. We have been extremely blessed that they even gave us an ipad to use in the first place. Maybe they will get her another one. Maybe they will tell us: too bad. And we will say, "We understand. You trusted us with this device, and our daughter gave it a bath. We are so very sorry."

Either way, this will not stop us from trying to teach Lilli. She has a terrible fascination with water, and obviously no common sense about putting two of her favorite things together, the ipad and water. I wondered why she did it. I think it might be as simple as the curiousity of what it would be like to play with her ipad under water. Kind of like when I was a kid and I put the iron on the carpet, and then there was a burn mark shaped like my mother's iron in the middle of our green carpet for about ten years.

Why did I put the hot iron on the carpet? My feet were cold. Do you follow? Please don't make me explain that one in any more detail. I just told my husband the story and he laughed and said, "Well there you have it, that was equally as dumb as putting the ipad in the bathtub."

Kids do dumb things.

Maybe the ipad will dry out and survive. I'll let you know. But I forgive Lilli. It's better than an iron mark in the middle of my carpet.

My post about Carly:

Links about Carly: (you need to click on her facebook link, just to see it.) 



  1. I totally remember the iron incident so that must have been in middle school. :) Not much older than Lilli I imagine. Do they make an Otter box for an iPad? Might be worth looking into. I think some are made to be water proof. I am very impressed with your ability to make light of something that is obviously going to create a big problem for you.

    1. Ugh middle school? I was hoping I was younger. That might make it seem less dumb. Yep it had an (obviously worthless) Otterbox on it. Jasen ripped it off right away and toweled it off and put it on the heater. I have not touched it yet. Too scared. And don't be too impressed with my reaction. I flip out about plenty of other things to make up for it. Who knows, maybe the Otterbox did help a little, but before we turned it off we could see the water inside under the screen. Just like that pretty water design on the main screen that comes with the ipad. Only it was real.

  2. I personally think that it's very inspiring that you guys took the time and patience to teach a lovely girl like your daughter, Lilli, to be able to type. There’s going to be a lot you’re going to go through and maybe a lot more gadgets that would be broken, but I think you'll get there eventually. And all those money spent on the broken gadgets will definitely be worth it. :D

    Cordia Remsen @ RBSMN

    1. Thank you, Cordia. I appreciate you commenting. I totally agree that it will be worth it one day. I hope that we will look back at our list of broken/abused devices and just be so thankful that we did not give up.