Since I know how many of you feel about the IEP process, and since we're trying to keep it clean around here (!), we're not going to talk about that today.
Instead, let me tell you about the latest, and hopefully greatest, thing we're about to embark on in the Rush home.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you..... the Electronics Intervention Plan, or EIP.
I know. I know. You like how I flipped the letters around. I'm clever that way. But enough about me.
So, here's the thing about the EIP.
For a while now, I've been thinking that while I'm a big, big, big fan of the iPad, it's just not been exactly what I want it to be.
Through no fault of the iPad, Lily just has so quickly learned to work it to her advantage that the device is not accomplishing what I was hoping.
Follow along with me:
- We introduce Lily to the iPad.
- We show her that it plays Backyardigans movies.
- She contentedly watches videos for a week or so.
- Then we introduce a few apps, showing her how to touch the screen to work the games.
- She happily plays with apps for a week or so, only watching videos when we turn them on for her.
- Then one day, as she is switching apps, she notices the youtube icon.
- She remembers this is the button Mom and Dad use to play her videos.
- Now she can switch between apps and youtube all by herself.
- Then she gets braver and starts working the music icon, selecting songs from our iTunes library.
- So now she can do apps, youtube, and music all by herself.
- Then she figures out that all the icons do something so within 24 hours, she has learned how to change wallpaper, delete downloaded videos, access iPhoto and browse through pictures, view Ryan's calendar at work and make a few small changes, and send tweets on his behalf.
Needless to say, she can't be left alone with the iPad or she will send blurbs of the Backyardigans dancing to the Black Eyed Peas singing in German to all of Ryan's Twitter followers who will then be scratching their heads, trying to figure out why this was sent to them and if they're missing something.
True story. I can't make up stuff this good.
Now that Lily knows everything the iPad is capable of doing, and how easily it can do it all, it's like she simply must work it. She is no longer content to just play an app or watch a video. She must fast forward and reverse her way through movies. She must select a new family photo for the home page. She must attempt to log in to Netflix. She must play one app for ten seconds to appease Mom and then try to crack the passcode that blocks youtube. She must check out what people are saying on Facebook. She must play the phrase of one song over and over again and then switch to another song to do the same thing.
Get the picture?
While it's impressive that a 5 year old knows how to do more on the iPad than any of the rest of us in the family, it's frustrating to me. I think it's got to be bad for her attention span and focus if she's constantly jumping from one activity to the next without really finishing anything.
And I really want to see her do more apps because that's about the only way I can get an idea of what all she knows since she can't just tell me.
Here's where the EIP comes in.
Despite the fact that most everyone in the world is moving towards one simple device that does everything except cook supper and wash the car, we at the Rush house are moving in the opposite direction.
We are going for more devices that function in a single purpose manner.
So, Lily has:
- a portable DVD player just for watching movies.
- an Mp3 player just for listening to music.
- an iPad just for playing apps.
- an iPod Touch just for Proloquo2go, her communication app, for talking.
Four devices. Ridiculous, I know.
But each of them does only one thing.
And Lily can only have one device at a time.
Now, you may be wondering how I'm able to accomplish having an iPad that just does apps and nothing else.
First, I had two conversations with Apple Support, throwing out my idea of a "gaming tablet", something that looks and works like an iPad but only supports apps and nothing else.
While they were both very nice, even telling me that what I was suggesting made perfect sense for my goals with Lily, apparently I'm the only one who really wants something like that.
I laughingly asked if maybe there was a way to simply "grab" an iPad off the assembly line after it gets loaded with app capability and before it gets all that other stuff on it.
That's when they hung up on the crazy lady.
No, they didn't hang up but I think I may have lost a little credibility.
Any-who, I did the next best thing to getting something invented just for the Bird.
I called my friend's techno-genius husband. It's good to know smart people.
After much discussion and thought (mostly on his part because I was no longer certain he was speaking English - he pretty much lost me after, "Well, we could try....."), he is "jailbreaking" the iPad.
Meaning pretty much every single icon that typically shows up on the iPad will no longer show up. The only icons will be ones I choose.
And those will be icons for apps.
And only a few apps at a time. Probably no more than five or six choices or I think she might just flip from game to game.
I'm fully aware that once the iPad is jailbroken, it no longer has warranty. It's pretty much no longer considered an Apple product. But we don't have any warranty on it anymore anyway so we're willing to take the chance.
And my techno-genius friend can "un-jailbreak" it, too. Told you he was smart.
Of course, it remains to be seen if Lily Bird is as smart as he is.
If she figures this out, I'm done with electronics.
We'll move to a cave and go back to hieroglyphics.