iTunes, Bad People and CDs | A Blog Artcile from Autism Project


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iTunes, Bad People and CDs - 01/06/14

My cousin Dan called me yesterday morning. I could feel his stress and frustration across the telephone lines. 

“Joanne, I just needed to call to let you know that I won’t be able to email you today from my iPad. It’s totally blocked and I just don’t know when it will be fixed. It’s just stuck. I’m stuck “

“Slow down Dan. Tell me what happened.”

“A notice on my iPad told me it was time to update. So I made an appointment with the IT man at the Public Library to show me how to do it. I put in my user name and he said I’m all set. Just hit NEXT and follow the steps. He said it was easy.  When I got home I did just that and then they asked for my iTunes PASSWORD. I’ve put in every PASSWORD I could think of and it doesn’t work. I just don’t think I’ll be using the iPad anymore and will go back to emailing from my Mail Station Account.”

A nightmare situation for many of us. A perfect storm if you are an adult with autism, like my cousin Dan, and interpret situations in a very black and white literal sense.

I asked Dan what the screen said. His response made me think his entire iPad was being reconfigured. Yikes. How do I tell Dan all the pictures he took all summer on his vacation may be gone for good?  Please let there be an iCloud angel looking over him!

“Dan, I need to tell you that your iPad may be reconfiguring and your photos may be gone.”

“All of them? Well at least I have pictures of other memories.”

“Yes you do, Dan. After we figure this out, I’ll try to figure out the Cloud thing and how you can back up all your photos and music. Let’s get back to the PASSWORD. What does it say on the screen?”

“Log in using your iTunes PASSWORD or use your Security Questions.”

“Have you tried the Security Questions?”

“No, I’ve been too busy trying every PASSWORD I could think of.”

Right.  Deep breath. I’m beginning to get cold sweats remembering my month-long saga of trying to remember my iTunes account information. Turns out I had two accounts: one from years ago when I tried to build a playlist; and, a new one I opened when I entered the world of “smart” phones and iPads.

After weeks of trying to remember my answers to the security questions, I called Apple. Turns out they can be very helpful. My Apple rep coached me along to remember my security question answers. “That’s the right content, now can you remember what letters were upper case?”

REALLY!! Luck would have it after about 10 tries I was close enough to be verified. I changed my PASSWORD and took his advice to keep all answers short and lowercase going forward. For example: First Concert, doobies instead of The Doobie Brothers.

But I digress. Back to Dan.

“Okay Dan, try the Security Question.”

“What’s your Favorite Album: The Beatles Hey Jude.”

Correct! We are in!

“Okay, for my New PASSWORD. I’ll use abc123 all lowercase.”

iTunes response “Your PASSWORD needs to be 8 characters or more.

“Why didn’t they say that in the first place?”


“Okay. I’ll use abcd1234 all lowercase.”

iTunes response “Your PASSWORD is too common and needs to have one Uppercase Letter.

“But you said to use all lowercase!”

“I know Dan. That’s a trick to help keep it simple. The iTune people want to help you to make your PASSWORD a little more complicated so no one can break into your account and steal your private information.”

“So you’re saying if there weren’t any bad people in the world we wouldn’t have to go through all of this? “

“Yes, that is what I’m saying.”

“This is so hard. It’s just like a relationship or getting married. The hard stuff is just so aggravating nothing good is worth it.”

Oh my.

“Let’s finish the security questions and get your iPad up and running again.”

“Okay. Name the city where your parents met. Well, that would be Germany. There are a lot of cities in Germany… “

“We can do another question Dan.”

“No, I’ll just have to make the assumption that it was Munich. That’s where they spent most of their time.”

If Dan can flex, don’t you think iTunes can flex on the whole upper/lower case thing?

“Great. Let’s make sure we are writing all the answers down.”

“They won’t let me write Munich all in lowercase.”

“We’ll add a note that proper nouns may require a capital letter.”

“Okay. Now I press next. Oh good! My wallpaper is my picture. My pictures must be saved.”

“That’s great Dan.”

“But all the icons look different. Why do they have to look different?”

Why indeed.

“I’ll try to figure out a way to make sure your photos and music are backed up Dan. (He doesn’t own a computer.) Maybe when you login to the WIFI there’s a way to back them up. Also, don’t get rid of your CDs when you put your music on your iTunes account in case something happens.”

“Oh I’d never get rid of my CDs. I still have every custom-made cassette tape I made over twenty years before your father convinced me to give a CD a try a few years ago.”

Fifteen years ago I had the pleasure of meeting an adult with autism while attending training in North Carolina. I remember many of Dave’s insights, one in particular. Dave said we should look to our friends and family members with autism in a way similar to the relationship between the coal miners and canaries. Coal miners relied on the canaries to be a sign that poisonous gas was filling the mines. Dave said individuals with autism will let us know when things are going too fast or getting to be too much. We should look for the signs and then step back and evaluate the situation and make changes.

Good point Dave.

Thanks for being my canary Dan.

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