When People Judge Me Because My Child With Special Needs Uses an iPad Chair
To the people who judge my use of technology,
You don’t know me, but you have already convicted me of a heinous crime.
It started out innocently. A question was posted about a device and opinions were asked for. The results were like matches to paper. Tempers flared, and the manufacturer of the device was compared to Satan.
What device is so evil that caused such a stir? My daughter’s iPad chair.
I had been thinking about getting one for a while. I wanted this device for my daughter badly. I had reasons for wanting this particular tool. First of all, my daughter uses her iPad daily. You see, for my daughter, the iPad is more than just a toy. It’s a tool.
My daughter, Cary Lynn, has cortical vision impairment. The iPad has changed so many things for her, including working on her vision skills. For Cary Lynn, learning to use her vision is important.
Cary Lynn also has cerebral palsy and is nonverbal. The iPad gives her a voice. She uses several programs on there to “talk” to me. Instead of screaming for hours because she is hungry, cold or bored, she can tell me what she needs. The iPad has opened up worlds for my child.
Finally, the iPad sits at a great angle in her chair. Her little arms that cerebral palsy has made tight and her little hands that remain clenched slowly loosen and she reaches for it. Eyes that need daily work to learn to see can swing in the right direction.
So when I tried to voice my support for the iPad chair on an early childhood Facebook page, the backlash was heavy. I was told some pretty hateful and hurtful things. The people were quick to pile on judgment and not listen to the reason.
But technology isn’t evil. Technology kept a 24-week-old child alive in the NICU. It also put her picture on adoption sites and led her home to our family. It keeps me connected to therapies, doctors and things to help my child. It also has given my child something powerful — a voice. Without the use of technology in my home, my child would have no way to communicate her needs. To say my favorite word: Mama.
The same people who hate technology so much sure spend enough time on it vocalizing their hatred. I would think if they hated it enough, they would lead by example, shut it down and not use it. I’ve invited these people to come talk with me. To walk a mile in my shoes. To this date my invitations have been ignored.
There will always be someone who hates what you do and isolates you, insisting they know how best to raise your child. But they don’t. I’m Mom, and I’m not going to let them tell me what works best for my child. My child has needs, and I’m not here to win popularity contests. Right now as I’m typing this, my daughter happily plays in her chair with her iPad babbling with her speech app. And I’m OK with that.
An iPad Mother
The Mighty is asking the following: Write a letter to anyone you wish had a better understanding of your experience with disability and/or disease. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Share Your Story page for more about our submission guidelines.