Tuesday, September 6, 2011

iPads and Tornado Warnings

We had horrible weather today.  Torrential periods of rain, 100 percent humidity when not raining, and tornado warnings---two warnings.  At home, when there's a warning, I stay inside, keep my eye on the TV, and that's about it.  In a school with children of all ages, the teacher in charge directs large groups into small confined spaces where they 'assume the position' (huddle) for long periods of time.  The space might be a bathroom or closet.
When children have autism, it's usually impossible to make them huddle---they simply don't understand or sensory issues prevent them from doing this for 30 to 45 minutes.  The next best thing then is to keep them sitting and happy in a safe room---again not always easy.  This is where the iPad really came in handy today. When the tornado alert sounded, I bounded to the EC class, iPad in hand, to help the teachers and to keep the kids entertained in a safe way. We actually had a few iPads for about 10 kids.  

1. Kids took turn in the safe room playing simple iPad games.

2. YouTube videos on the iPad were played to keep them entertained.

3. With the iPad 2, we took a few silly pictures during our confinement, and shared them.   Most of the photos were of the kids (they loved them), but I caught a few adults ;)
One of our lovely staff members!  She's a gem!

4.  With the iPad, the teachers could monitor the weather conditions on the internet and anticipate how long the kids needed to be confined to the small space, since there were no regular announcements coming in otherwise.  The iPad alleviated anxiety all around, in many ways, during a stressful situation.

To conclude here, most of the children that I work with survived the day unscathed.  I'm sure some of them wondered why they sat on the floor for long periods of time in a different room with a lot of adults and other kids, but the teachers worked very hard to keep them happy and calm.  The iPad helped a little, but I have to give credit where credit is due. Yeah, Ephesus EC teachers and assistants!!!!!

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