Mother uses iPod touch to entertain child with special needs

Brandy Brow and daughter Jaeli

Brandy Brow and daughter JaeliWhat do you do? I'm a parent of seven children including my youngest, a two-year-old named Jaeli (pronounced Jay-lee), who is a special needs child with a rare chromosome disorder of X and 2.

Which device do you use? A 2nd generation iPod Touch. I plan to upgrade to a Verizon iPhone 4 when my AT&T contract expires. Eventually, I want to get Jaeli an iPad.

How do you use the iPod touch? My iPod became essential the day Jaeli was born with complex medical conditions and entered a month-long NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) stay. I used Facebook and Twitter apps to update family and friends. When Jaeli went home on a grueling feed and heart medicine schedule, the clock alarms kept me on track. Four months later, during a MAG3 scan (a nuclear medicine test to measure kidney and bladder function), I tried a photo slide show set to music to calm Jaeli. The next time Jaeli needed distraction, the videos worked. They've carried her through multiple IV placements, lab draws, and other anxiety-ridden procedures both in the hospital and at home. We're now considering the larger-s creened iPad to help Jaeli develop cognitively.

What apps do you use the most? Clock alarms, Videos, Words with Friends (Free,; $2.99,, Facebook (Free,, Music, Bible (Free,, 2Do ($6.99,, Bejeweled (Free,, Dictionary (Free,, Weather Radar ($2.99,

Did the device require any special modifications? I have a case for protection against drops, especially when Jaeli handles it, and an external speaker to make hearing music easier in noisy hospital rooms.

What would you do if you didn't have it? I hesitate to imagine. When Jaeli was born, I couldn't keep a schedule to save a life. It would have been impossible to manage her seven-per-day, hour-long G-tube pump feeds, administer heart meds, including one that had to be timed precisely between feeds, wash syringes and draw up more meds. It's all I did. Worst-case scenario? Jaeli would have died. I truly thank God for my iPod touch.

Do you consider yourself an Apple fanatic? No, but I like several of their products. I do realize that after leaning on my iPod touch for the past two years, I am, to some extent, branded.

September-October 2011
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