How Digital Technology Helps Autism in Our Family

Digital Technology is front and center in our home. It’s a valuable tool for our family and our kids are barely in elementary school. We introduced our oldest son, Sebby, to technology, or specifically, an handful of apps on my iPhone when he was about 2 1/2. I know what people say about screen time. I get it. But trust me, it’s different for our family.

What started as a few minutes of peace during doctors appointments turned into a key factor in communication and expression. See, Sebby has Autism. And while he’s verbal and high functioning, having his own technology has helped him grow leaps and bounds.

Sebby is a smart kid. He tests boundaries and  figures things out quickly. Practicing digital safety around him is incredibly important. Right now it’s about limited access to apps, movies and websites on his iPad. He’s a smart one though, he knows how to search for educational apps related to the ones he already plays with. His requests for new apps almost always lead to discussions about spending money online, well as much as a 6 and a half year old can process. We try and make smart choices about the apps we buy for him – sometimes things sneak through the parental controls 🙂

The way Sebby uses his iPad, I’m really glad he doesn’t know about social media yet. But it also means I think about what I share about him and his siblings on Facebook. In order for my kids to learn about being safe when it comes to digital technology, I need to lead by example.

National PTA has partnered with LifeLock to share awesome ways families can create an open, evolving conversation about positive, safe decisions when using digital tools. I love sharing the awesome of Sebby and his siblings, but I need to do it safely.

Today’s families use digital technology in every aspect of life – from learning and socializing, to gaming and shopping! Broad access and use of technology is awesome – and opens so many new opportunities for so many students. But like any aspect of life, there are things you need to know to make positive, safe decisions.

For you, your family, your friends, and the whole world – everyone benefits when you #ShareAwesome!

The #ShareAwesome campaign seeks to build an understanding among parents and students that no matter the device, the app or the networking site – the skills we need to be safe and positive online are similar to what you need offline.

Snap a photo of an awesome moment in your day and share it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the #ShareAwesome hashtag!

Students who enter the #ShareAwesome contest between September 15 – November 30, 2014 will have a chance to win fantastic prizes, including tablets and a $2,500 scholarship!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

About Kerri Jablonski

Kerri Jablonski AKA The Maven lives in Seattle,WA with her 3 kids (2008, 2010, 2013), husband, cats and backyard chickens. Two of her children have special needs. Kerri enjoys cooking, travel, movies and spending time with her family.

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