iPod touch (6th generation)

Enhancing my autonomy and providing brilliant value.

Added on Sunday 07 August 16

I’ve never owned two identical gadgets before, however I do own pair of the iPod Touches. I got one from the BBC for work and I liked it so much I traded my iPad mini in for one of my own. After my iPhone I probably spend more time with an iPod touch than any other gadget.

I use my work issued iPod like a smaller iPhone, so I won’t discuss if much here other than to say it’s very helpful.

For this review I want to give an overview of how my personal iPod touch helps me to be autistically happy.

I use my iPod for communication, for managing my routines and for helping me to sleep.

Communication.

I can’t speak most of the time and rely on technology to communicate. I normally use an iOS app called proloquo4text. For ages, I just had my iPhone and an iPad mini. The iPad was too big and clunky (and slow!) to use for speech and my iPhone was always running out of battery.

When you have no other way to communicate or call for help, a flat battery on your phone is a major major issue.

The iPod touch is perfect for running my speech apps. It’s a keyboard I know well, it has great battery life and it’s easy to stick it in a pocket. Moreover, if I loose it I can pop into any Argos or electronics shop and replace it the same day.

Routines.

I benefit from following routines. They bring structure and sameness into my life which is important for helping me to predict the future and to feel calm and safe. I have three major routines in my life, my evening routine, my overnight routine and my morning routine.

evening routine.

For my evening routine I am at my flat with Carrie (aka the babysitter) looking after me. I communicate with her via iMessages from the iPod. I am too shy to leave my room so iMessages means we can swap messages easily.

Good communication with the person looking after me is essential to me feeling at all safe. Being trapped in my room without anyway to communicate with the other person in the flat is very scary. However, with decent communication and some trust, I can start to relax and feel comfortable.

Overnight.

When I go to bed I have my overnight routine. From the moment I set my clock, I am not allowed to access the Internet. I asked my friend to use the restrictions to block access to web on my iPod touch. This was a really useful thing to do. It stops me from getting distracted / obsessing on stuff.

The iPod touch is the only device I use in bed. I normally use it to play an audiobook, podcast or music. I then listen to it for as long as I am awake (often all night). This audio distraction really helps me to relax. The iPod has a decent external speaker and the ability to automatically stop playing after an hour is useful.

Finally, my bedroom has smart lights and the iPod touch can control them. I can change the lighting in my room from my bed which is super handy when I am super tired and getting out of bed is a challenge.

I much prefer the iPod to the large iPad in bed. The iPad mini etc is just too heavy for me to hold for a long time and to big for me to have in my bed without it getting in the way.

Morning Routine

Unlike my evening routine and overnight routine where someone is helping me, my morning routine I mostly follow alone. To help me, I have built little iOS apps of my own which show a slide show if images to remind me of the steps in my routine.

These apps all live on my iPod touch. The visual prompt of what to do next etc is incredibly useful. The apps also match up with visual prompts / routines around my flat too. They work really well as a complete system.

Sleep.

The last use of my iPod is to help me sleep. It does this directly and indirectly. Alongside using it for audiobooks I also use it for a nightlight. I have a few different apps to help me sleep.

My favourite is an app by fox and sheep called nighty night circus I run through it in bed when I am finding it hard to sleep. The app is so full of visual detail it can be enjoyable to just stare at the scenes and look for the clever little details.

Indirectly it helps me sleep because it makes me feel safer. I feel safer with control of the lights, but I also feel safer with access to my routines and entertainment. Sometimes I just need a good distraction and that’s something the iPod can easily provide.

Final words.

I think the iPod touch is a great device. Its cheap, fast, easy to use and well made. It’s got many of the upsides of an iPad or iPhone but at a tiny fractions of the cost and with more portability. If I lost my iPod today I would replace it before bedtime!

By helping me to have more control of my life and my environment the iPod touch enhances my autonomy and for £159 every 2-3 years that’s a bargain!

Image supplied by Apple PR

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Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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