It’s common knowledge that computers and technology can greatly assist children with autism in a wide range of areas. From video modeling to computer-based learning to e-learning, there are a wide variety of technological resources for kids on the autism spectrum. Now, with last year’s release of the Apple iPad, technology and autism have been integrated even further, allowing children to benefit from countless apps and programs to better improve their cogitative and learning skills.
In a recent news story, Seth Augenstein from the NJ Star Ledger wrote:
"A video pops up demonstrating the soap-lather-rinse routine, and he [Marc] goes across the apartment to the sink and mimics it under the stream of the tap. Then, he rushes back to the screen where more chores pop up — setting the table for dinner, starting the microwave, vacuuming the floor, brushing his teeth. The basic "app" is specifically tailored by his tutor to guide him through his nightly ritual: one touch, a task, a next step, and a video reminder. For the autistic teenager, the first steps toward independence comes with some trendy new gadgets: the touch-screen accessibility of Apple’s iPod Touch, and, more recently, the iPad, according to his mother, Lisa Rader."
As the Ledger story notes, what really seems to be setting the iPad apart from other technology-based autism products is the touch screen capabilities. This dynamic allows children to fully interact with the device, all while improving fine motor skills — something children with autism often have difficulties with. And with the endless apps available to users, there is no limit to how the iPad can be used to help children with autism spectrum disorders.
Based on feedback by iPad owners, it might be a good idea for public and private schools to start investing in iPads for their special needs students. At around $500 per unit, it would be a great investment for these kids.
Just another reason to love Apple.
Here is a video that a mother put together on how the iPad has been able to help her child: