Friend “Google” Breaking the Communication Barrier for Kids with Autism? Case Study
Isaac, a young child, suffers from learning difficulties and struggles with day-to-day tasks.
However, there is one thing that the child feels at ease with; he is able to communicate well via Google street map on his iPad.
Isaac is nine years old and lives in Lanarkshire, Scotland. He is able to retrace the route back to his home, like many of his peers. His interest in Google was first seen during early summer of 2013, when he was just six years old.
His mum Miriam Gwynne says she “was amazed that a child who has no understanding of numbers or letters and barely turns when his name is called could hold such an incredible talent.”
Nevertheless, Isaac surprised his mother when he was correctly able to trace his location back to school, which is almost 14 to 15 miles away from his home, with the help of Google maps.
Miriam Gwynne said, “I put this ability down to the fact that he goes on the same journey daily. I wondered if he had the location stored.”
Isaac and his sister are twins and both are on the autism spectrum. The child uses the app and shows his mother where he wants to visit, whether it’s a park or a church.
Further, he uses Google to go to his granny’s house and to shopping malls, where he likes watching the lifts.
Miriam explained, “He has discovered he can enter a local hotel using Google street map and this has opened up new unique ways for him to communicate.”
“He goes into rooms in the hotels and finds an ensuite to communicate that he wants a bath at night. When ready for bed, he moves around the rooms until he finds a bed and points to it.”
His skills came in handy when he was not feeling well. He was able to go to the doctor all by himself and further communicated to his mother that he felt unwell.
She said, “For the first time ever, he was able to communicate that he was feeling unwell! This was incredible. I cried. It was nothing serious, thankfully, but to be able to say he communicated that he was not feeling good to a doctor was amazing.”
There was significant improvement seen in the child after he started using Google, his mother recalls.
Miriam further highlights that “He now relates places to people, feelings and emotions to places we have been, and is making much more brain connections as a result.”
“He can retrace anywhere we have been, as long as we go by car (trains are harder to retrace as street map goes by road).”
Speaking about writing the blog post, she said, “I felt sharing this would give hope to others. It was a huge breakthrough for us.”
Well done, Isaac!