The topic of the iPad for autism has emerged in every workshop that I have been doing in Australia. People are so excited about the possibilities with the equipment. And what is more important, they share some great stories about the social and communication benefits for their students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. So I guess an important question is, “Why is the iPad causing such interest?”
1. iPad for Autism is still “new”
People love new toys. Especially electronic ones. So that makes the iPad fun for both the students and their parents and teachers.
2. iPad offers an affordable option for individuals with autism
Up until now, many of the electronic options for communication and learning support for individuals with autism cost thousands and thousands of dollars. Compared to that, a few hundred dollars for an iPad feels like a very “inexpensive” option.
3. The iPad can meet a lot of different needs
The rapidly growing selection of APPS available makes going to the APP store an incredible journey. There are tools that support personal organization like scheduling and calendar options. Other APPS teach specific academic skills, provide information, create opportunities for entertainment and more. It won’t be long before it will feel like there is an APP for everything! Some are supposedly designed specifically for the special communication needs of individuals with autism, but most APPS are designed for needs of the general population. Then we discover that some of those APPS work really well to meet the special needs of autism.
4. There are many great APPS available that are free or very inexpensive
Other APPS have a hefty price tag. This creates a bit of a challenge because all APPS are not equally beneficial or useful. Or they may be useful for one child but not another. Some are creative and brilliant. Some are junk. But there are lots of people evaluating and sharing their reviews and experiences with the options. That means it is getting easier to do a little research before spending too much money.
5. The iPad and iPod are “cool”
There are lots of special education support tools that look “special ed.” Not the electronic options. I hear stories about students with special learning needs who reject visual tools that will help them because those tools don’t look like what everyone else has. Compared to that, they WANT electronics. When a student is interested in something, that makes teaching and learning much more productive.
6. People see the benefits quickly
There are some things that seem to take forever for our students to learn. Especially students with autism. But iPads are VISUAL tools. And most individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders are VISUAL learners. What a great combination. Watching students engage and learn quickly is worth every penny.
What are the best Apps?
That’s the most common question.
Here’s where to get the answers. . .
It’s an Amazon Kindle book.