I am sure all of you have heard about the struggles of people with autism and developmental disabilities. I see these struggles daily. I am a speech pathologist and work closely with a teacher for a group of elementary students in a special education classroom. We co-teach groups and work with the kids throughout the day.
This classroom has seven fourth and fifth grade aged children, all of whom have autism or other severe disability.
All of them struggle with a severe communication handicap. The classroom has some access to resources such as a Smartboard and low-tech augmentative communication systems. The classroom also has one iPad. We have discovered, though, that with these children, one iPad isn't enough. One child needs this to learn to use an augmentative communication app, while other children use apps to learn basic concepts. Another child uses the iPad as a calming device, using simple cause-effect apps, and listening to music. Other children use social story apps to help learn expected behaviors both in and out of the classroom.
An iPad 2 is a game changer for autistic children. With communication apps such as Proloquo2Go, nonverbal children can have a voice. With educational apps, the children can develop early literacy and math skills. With social stories apps such as Pictello, the children can see themselves in social stories and learn how to act appropriately. A library of photographs can be stored on the iPad 2 for easy reference, and since the camera feature is there, it would be easy to continually add pictures. It would be a portable picture dictionary!
The camera feature on the iPad 2 is incredible. Items the children need to learn to request can be photographed and then imported seamlessly into the communication software. Videos of the children using appropriate behavior can easily be taken, and then shown back to them. Children can practice speaking, and get instant feedback using the camera feature. There are myriad other uses for a camera, and this feature on the iPad 2 is wonderful!
Please help give this classroom a voice.
An iPad 2 would be a wonderful tool to help these children learn to communicate, to read, to learn social skills, and develop functional skills for the future.
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