Tuesday, November 30, 2010

iPad Presentation Draws a Crowd

After hearing so much lately about how an iPad can help kids with autism, my wife and I recently went to a presentation about using the iPod, iPad, and iPhone to support students with special needs. It was put on by our local special education district and the president of the organization said that they are usually happy if they get two dozen people to show up at a session. For this one, they filled an auditorium.

It was interesting to hear about and see the apps. The presenter was a special education teacher and he uses many of the apps he talked about in his classroom. He organized the apps into categories: organization, academics, communication, social, and fun.

The communication pieces were the most impressive, and they included text-to-speech apps that make it possible for non-verbal kids to “talk” without the really expensive specialized equipment that was previously necessary.

For my son, I didn’t see anything that we “had” to have. The organization pieces such as schedulers and timers are nice to have, and may be more fun than the old tech way we do things now, but they aren’t things we cannot live without.

If we were to get an iPad, it would mostly be for the fun things and we would primarily use it when we are in situations where we want to keep Kai occupied while we have to wait, such as at restaurants.

But, as kids on the spectrum really vary by ability and needs, it’s probably best for each of you to decide for yourselves if getting an iPad is right for your child. Here are some great websites that the speaker pointed us to that may help you decide:


  1. Also the HollyRod foundation allows you to submit a grant to get an iPad for your child with autism if you think it would help their communication but cannot afford one!

    One of my soccer players uses it and it's awesome!

  2. Thanks for the tip, Molly! Here are the criteria for the HollyRod Foundation giveaway:
    1. The individual you are applying for must have a diagnosis on the autism spectrum (as identified in diagnosis report).
    2. Reside in the United States of America.
    3. Be non-verbal or minimally verbal (as identified in speech pathology report).
    4. Be in financial need: Gross income not to exceed $35,000 single income family or $50,000 two-income family (as
    identified by documentation).
    5. Have access to a computer and an iTunes account (some programs must be downloaded on a computer and transferred
    to the iPad due to size).
    6. A professional on your team (i.e., speech pathologist, doctor, teacher) must be willing to take responsibility of the gift
    card that downloads the applications.

    Check out their website for more information:

  3. I think this progress is very exciting :)


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