Hands-Free Solutions for iPad? Yes, Please!

The iPad is a WONDERFUL tool! For play, for learning, for therapy, for communication, you name it!  But is anyone else thinking what I'm thinking sometimes? "Oh great! Another THING to  literally JUGGLE with all of the other THINGS in my therapy session/classroom activity/daily routine! Sure, it's light, it's small, but I need to be an octopus to balance the kid, the visual supports for behavior, the toy, the tactile prompting, and the iPad all at once!  And how about the issue of joint attention and focus?  I want my kids looking at me, in my direction, and interacting with me- not turning this way and that doing a juggling act of their own.  so I was thinking the other day, why can't I just stick the iPad to my chest, that wY, I can have both of my hands free and increase focus to my direction rather than the table top.  I was pretty sure this could be accomplished DIY style with a simple cooking apron and some Velcro.  But I thought I would check out some ready-made solutions just to see what was out there.  What I found made me chuckle, but it also revealed some potentially feasible products to address this "hands-free" concept.

Defender by Assero Industries is a carrying case and hands-free, no-table-needed chest harness that is designed to hang (as shown in picture) so that you can use the iPad facing towards you, in horizontal mode, and laying flat.  This might be appropriate for children (and adults) who are ambulatory and use the iPad on the go as a communication device.  It isn't clear from the website if this would adjust to fit small kids, but it certainly has potential.  I also wonder if you could use it in conjunction with a stand that sets the iPad upright.  If so, a therapist, educator, or parent could wear the harness with the iPad on the stand and facing outward so that the child could access it on the facilitator and the iPad could also be accessed from behind by the facilitator.  Far fetched idea, right? But it might work :) Check out a review of Defender on GeekwithLaptop

iPad Jacket by Alphynin is a polar tech jacket with a secret iPad pocket in the front that zips up to store the iPad and then unzips and lowers as a platform to use the iPad hands free (as pictured above). It works similar to the Defender (above) and might have similar potential uses for AAC users on the go who are ambulatory, and for facilitators (given the right stand to position the iPad upright).  I liked this option (hypothetically, of course :) because you can stow the iPad when you aren't using it.  It might be a bit too toasty for using indoors though, and I can't see fleece being functional (or bearable!) in warm climates.   Check out a review of iPad Jacket on Geekosystem.
GoPad from GoPad is a more simplistic version of the two above. I don't think this one would work for a facilitator.  Check out a review of GoPad on Gizmag

iPad Style Shirt by Style Shirt is my favorite potential solution fir the problem outlined at the beginning of this post.  It is a simple t-shirt with a clear pocket in the front that still allows you to interact with the touch screen.  I imagine you could buy one big enough to simply slip over what you're wearing, but not too big that it affects the placement of the iPad on your body.  I may have to get one of these to try for myself. :) Check out a review of iPad Style Shirt on enGadget

And don't forget the DIY Way! :)
Get a cooking apron or communication apron, attach some heavy duty Velcro to the apron and the opposite side to the back of the iPad, and just stick it on!

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