iPad Destruction and Salvation

Can you tell what this picture is? It is a *sob* broken iPad screen. Completely shattered. Ruined. With tiny flecks of glass scattered across it, as if to expressly dash any hopes of Leo using it despite the damage.

How it happened is no mystery. Leo took his iPad outside on our back porch; it fell out of his hands, and the corner of the iPad hit a concrete paver. CRACK.

This shouldn't have happened. But things are kind of physically and emotionally messy for Leo right now -- and messy is when things go wrong.

Summer is hard for him -- especially right now when he's in between school sessions, and even though he's enjoying our excursions to Muir Woods, and dinners out with friends new and old, and going to the movies, and swimming swimming swimming. To add to our boy's discombobulation, I've had two trips in June, he spent a week at camp, his sisters are out of school too, and his dad has been working very hard, very long hours. Everything is different, and different is bad, so Leo is out of sorts -- and an out of sorts boy is less likely to maintain his grip on his very favorite device in the whole world.

I should also have realized that, in his current state of stims so constant and overwhelming that it takes him three minutes and series of physical prompts to put on Crocs or take his pants off to use the toilet, Leo was unlikely to be able to hold onto his iPad with his usual tender death grip of love. (We're phasing out his Zoloft -- the last dose is today, and if the Zoloft is indeed behind these stims, then we should see symptom improvement in three or four days, and you'd better believe I am as close to prayer as I'm ever likely to be.)

After confirming that the iPad was definitely mangled, I very calmly and internally freaked the hell out -- I wanted to avoid distressing Leo, his sisters, or any of the guests at the impromptu swim party we were having. Then I did some research to see what our iPad screen replacement options were, and talked with kind friends who had also experienced smashed iPad screens. The results seemed promising: The Apple Geniuses should be able to replace the screen for less than the price of a new device.

Leo, Iz and I showed up at the local Genius bar looking hopeful. Iz wandered off to score some app time while Leo and I waited our turn. When it came, a calm Genius took Leo's cracked iPad, ran a diagnostic on it -- and informed us that we needed to get an all-new device.

Reader, I lost my shit completely.

I broke down and started sobbing against the wall of the store (while still holding Leo's hand tightly as he stimmed away, so that he wouldn't accidentally poke one of the customers) because there is no space in our family's budget for a new 64GB 3G iPad. The Genius remained stoic, took the iPad, and said she'd go see what she could do.

I remained turned away from the mass of Genius Bar prairie dogs and tried to collect myself because for fuck's sake I am a 41 year old woman who should have a little bit more composure (but who in the interest of full disclosure was also told point blank by a very helpful medical team less than two weeks ago that I need to take care of my anxiety and stress stat).

The Genius returned again. I braced myself. And then she said that ... they could grant us a one-time exception and replace the iPad completely. As a courtesy. Without cost. For free.

Reader, I lost my shit again, this time out of gratitude.

Thankfully the Genius needed to go exchange the devices (after confirming that I had backed up our iPad recently), so I was given another breather, and another chance to comport myself like an adult. Though my eyes did mist over when she handed us the new iPad 2, as I both thanked her and apologized for making a scene.

I don't know why we were given an all-new iPad, because our Genius said it wasn't policy, not even for AppleCare members like ourselves. Maybe the Geniuses are given a certain amount of discretion when it comes to out-of-control customers who stammer between sobs that their damaged iPad means everything to their obviously autistic child. I don't know. I'm just grateful that Apple made things right for our boy, made it so he was without his life-changing device for less than 24 hours.

And, everyone who bugged me about Apple getting Leo a free iPad? Yeah.


  1. holy sheis! I feel your anxiety. When we got Warren his ipad, we also bought a kraken "case". It doesn't add any weight to the device and has a nice silicone grip on the outside. We had the cover on when we gave it to him so I'm not sure if Leo would accept his ipad looking differently now that he is used to it. Warren is 4 and has dropped his ipad and although the kraken isn't intended to prevent total destruction, I know it has saved us some terror-stricken suffering.
    I shared your melt-down pain, sister, this past weekend when while prepping my house to sell, Warren forced closed a door that had a door jamb locked in the open position and ripped it entrely off the house, siding, framing, and all. I sat on the porch drinking a beer and bawling as the neighbors walked by looking very nervous. Sending calming vibes your way!

  2. Love the happy ending!

  3. I am so glad to hear that there was a happy ending to this story!

  4. Okay, now I am weepy, not about Apple -- although heythat'sprettyexcellent -- but how you and Leo must have felt through every phase of this story.

  5. Jen K.7:01 AM

    Yeah for Apple! You might consider a Square Trade warranty, if you can fit it in your budget. I found out about them after my son took his iTouch into the shower and had to replace it. There is no deductible for iPads, and they cover drops, spills, and water immersion. (Your blog is a large part of the reason we bought my son an iPad -- he love it!).

  6. Oh my. That's so wonderful.

    And they have done themselves a favor. I've been hemming and hawing about whether to treat myself to an iPad with some "found" cash for weeks now, and this makes up my mind. I'm buying one.

  7. SOB!
    so awesome! Hurray for Apple Geniuses who have a heart and hurray for Leo. Hope you see improvements in the next few days.

  8. Man, oh, man. I cried FOR you when I saw this photo yesterday. I think I would have lost my shit entirely, too. SO, SO glad it worked out well.

    I hope the weaning process is over soon and Leo is back on an even keel. We're experiencing similar heartache with Nik's weaning from Abilify. Migraines and DT's last night. :-( Here's to both our boys being themselves again ASAP!

  9. Anonymous8:57 AM

    Love to you, my friend... I'm so glad this has a happy ending. And so sorry for your stress and yes, please, please, please, take care of yourself.

  10. Anonymous8:58 AM

    Love to you, my friend... I'm so glad this has a happy ending. And so sorry for your stress and yes, please, please, please, take care of yourself.

  11. You guys are lucky! I know you (and Leo) are grateful for all of this. It was a good move on Apple's part. The iPad replacement is well-deserved after all the efforts you have made towards all that you do for the community. I'm sure Apple appreciates you, too.

  12. Anonymous10:42 AM

    When I saw that picture, I felt sick for you! I'm so glad they replaced it and he didn't have to too long without it. I hope the other issues get better soon.

  13. Anonymous1:45 PM

    Awesome news! Our son loves his IPAD, almost a little to much.

  14. Oh, that makes me very happy! It's not like Leo is a frat boy who spilled beer on his ipad, or dropped it in a pond while trying to impress a girl. This is a little boy who NEEDS this device. This is a family who needs Leo to have his iPad.

    One of my soccer kids uses an iPad as her means of communication. I shutter to think what her life would be like without it. Her communication would be GONE. Her self injury, which she does out of frustration, would wildly increase.

    Yay apple!

  15. @Sandy, I'd get the Kraken just based on its name. The case was part of the issue, I'll write that up soon.

    @KAL Oh god me too!

    @Kim/Tippytoes you may have felt the cold wind blow across the canyon when Leo dropped the device and I realized what had happened. No more iPads over concrete surfaces.

    @Julie, it were indeed a rollercoaster. Gaah.

    @Jen K that's an idea, I'll look into Square Trade. Readers:

    @Grace - well hey, enjoy. Our whole family certainly loves our iPad.

    @Mary - agreed!

    @Laura Scarborough - thanks, the next three days will be telling. I will lose my shit again if we don't see some improvement, as Leo's stims are legitimately disabling at this point.

    @Kristen on it, and <3 back. Appt Tuesday.

    @LinZ thanks, we do our best to remain mindful of our good luck!

    @BSOTCChristy, oh Lord me too. For Leo's sake. He doesn't seem upset by how hard things are for him right now, but that might be the Zoloft in action.

    @Brandy, I think I know what you mean.

    @Molly I was preemptively shuddering for Leo, thankfully it's all good. Leo doesn't use his for communication, but I can imagine what a difference the iPad would make to a girl who did.

  16. Yay! I'd freak out if something happened to Max's ipad for sure.

  17. Boo only has an ipod touch at this stage. We are trying to get funding for an ipad.

    But I want to talk about your stress and looking after yourself. You KNOW that Leo and Boo are like peas in a pod. And girl, I didn't take charge of my stress and I am now recovering from my SECOND stroke. And I am only 40.

    Look after yourself. Trust me.

  18. Great story! Thanks for sharing and good for apple for doing the right thing! Love your blog!

  19. Happy to hear something work out well just for once!!!! It's the good karma you deserve.

  20. Kelly - TF? I'm on it. And glad you're still here.

    Jenny, Allie, Colleen - we're so relieved. And grateful -- for the iPad, and for folks like you who understand how important it is to our boy.

  21. We haven't managed to drop my son's new iPad yet, but I have it in a Gumdrop Drop Series iPad 2 Case because I'm pretty sure it's inevitable. http://www.gumdropcases.com/

    It makes it a fair bit heavier, but it hasn't been a problem so far and it incorporates a screen cover.

  22. I have a cousin who is 3 yrs old. She is diagnosed with autism for awhile now, and even goes to a special school 5 days a week but half days. Anyways, my question is this, what age do you think she should start with an ipad? She loves electronics, like phones and cameras, etc. My aunt has already talked about getting her one for christmas. Also, if she is to get her one now, where is the best place to go? or does it not matter? Is there a certain GB that is best for the apps that are helpful with autism. She doesnt talk at all yet either. So we are hoping to help her communicate with it. Anyways, just the basic, where, when, what, how ?'s I guess. My aunt first talked about just getting her a cheap tablet, but I told her an IPad would be better because of the Apps geared toward autism and stuff. So I want to give he all the right info, so she isnt wasting money. Thank you for any help!!

  23. My son Liam is 3 and he has an ipad and it's great, we did a family and friend fundraiser to raise the money. Does anyone know a case that we can put it in? We already have one crack but we did get the warranty from Best Buy so they will cover it.

  24. They just did the same well do one time exception for us last week, and I have heard the same story from several others. You might want to took at getting an otter box case for the iPad. They are expensive but worth it. I felt rather special but apparently they do this which is awesome...


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