NATIONAL charity Family Fund is encouraging families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people to sign up for this year’s iPad Summer School for a chance to build on their creative digital skills and have fun, and make friends, doing it.
Family Fund’s iPad Summer School is a project which has run since 2020 during the school summer holidays, and with the help of partner organisation RNIB, it will include sessions specifically designed for children and young people with a vision impairment.
The virtual school, held via Zoom, will run online for six weeks between July and August and is open to any disabled or seriously ill child or young person, as well as their siblings, who have access to an iPad and want to take part.
Topics covered by this summer’s free virtual sessions include making a movie using iMovie, making songs using Garageband and creating your own comic strip or social story using Clips. A showcase at the end of each summer school period enables children to share their work with their virtual classmates with us, and the trainer too.
Sessions are led by an Apple accredited trainer, provided via Sync Training, with a Family Fund team member also on hand, to support families in the virtual setting.
Family Fund has offered digital skills training to parents and carers of disabled children since 2015 but summer school came about following the pandemic lockdowns, when lots of children supported with grants from the charity were preparing to get back to school after a long period, without the routine and structure they had been used to. Many could not go back to school and missed out on lots of chances to learn and socialise. The idea was to help those children and young people get back into learning in a fun, creative way using their iPads, in a safe virtual setting.
Last year 81% of parents or carers reported their child or young person’s wellbeing had benefitted from the sessions. They also reported that 71% of siblings and other family members including parents had benefitted.
Family feedback on the sessions:
“Reuben’s attention is awful, he can’t sit still, so I thought it would be good to have something for us to do. If he’s on his iPad, he can focus easier.”
“After talking with Family Fund, I realised that I could do the sessions with him, or on another tablet. That meant that if he didn’t feel up to it, I could learn the skills during the session and then teach him later when he felt better.”
Alice Serne, Service Delivery Team Leader at Family Fund said:
“We wanted to launch summer school to support children and young people who had missed out on learning and socialising as a result of school closures and shielding during the pandemic.
“The joy we see from the children in the sessions is amazing, especially when they get to know each other by coming to more than one topic and starting to chat. Siblings also get so much out of it, helping and getting involved.
“We know siblings sometimes struggle to get support so we are really proud to help them and the whole family too. It’s a big part of what we do in the service delivery team at Family Fund, and we look forward to it every year because we know that children and young people will have an amazing time, and we will too.”
To find out more about Family Fund’s iPad Summer School, and register for a space, issued on a first-come basis, please visit https://www.familyfund.org.uk/ipad-summer-school.