15 year-old Jennifer Uses iPad to increase Her Independence

Jen's trips to Starbucks are much more successful!

Jennifer is 15-years-old and has moderate autism. Her language is repetitive and she often has difficulty making her needs known. Her mother tries to encourage independence and suggests that Jen order her own drink at Starbucks.

assistive technology for autism, autism tablet

At first, Jen’s mom carried pictures around with her and had Jen point at the coffee or the chocolate picture, and then the cold or the hot picture. Jennifer’s mother realized that this process was a challenge for Jennifer, and wasn’t maximizing her potential for independence in making these decisions. Jennifer’s mom decided to use an iPad to help with Jennifer’s communication skills. She purchased an app that allows Jen to make menu choices right on the screen.

Now, Jen can go into Starbucks with her iPad and place her order using the options she sees on the device. She can use this program to make menu decisions at other shops as well. Jennifer is thrilled that she is now able to get the drink she wants, all on her own. In speaking with Jennifer’s mother about this new process, she explained that there was a time when she would have answered for Jennifer, and may or may not have ordered what Jennifer wanted.

In the past, this had been a cause for outbursts. But ever since she purchased her iPad, Jennifer can now use the device to communicate her wants, and outings such as trips to Starbucks are much more successful. 

Download our Assistive Technology for Communication Roadmap and follow the steps to learn how to get started using assistive technology devices to expand communication and social interaction, like Jennifer. 

Autism Speaks does not provide medical or legal advice or services. Rather, Autism Speaks provides general information about autism as a service to the community. The information provided on our website is not a recommendation, referral or endorsement of any resource, therapeutic method, or service provider and does not replace the advice of medical, legal or educational professionals. Autism Speaks has not validated and is not responsible for any information, events, or services provided by third parties. The views and opinions expressed in blogs on our website do not necessarily reflect the views of Autism Speaks.