Sunday, March 10, 2013

iPads and Students with Communication Disorders

Autism, iPad, & Ean

This video is about a young boy who uses an iPad to help communicate vocabulary he is learning and working on. In this video we see as Ean looks at a picture of an item and is them directed to type the name of the picture on his iPad. While verbal and physical assistance is provided to get Ean to complete this fast he is able to correctly type, on the iPad, each picture he is shown. It is remarkable that while it is evident that Ean is non-verbal he still understands what the picture is and can use his fingers to type the name onto a text-to-speech software to use his voice. This video only shows the use of an iPad to communicate singular words but you can see how helpful this can be in communicating just simple demands and needs. 

Jake, 7-yr-old Autistic Boy, Uses iPad App iWriteWords

The application that Jake is using is a writing assistance application that helps the child learn and practice how to write a letter by using their finger to trace on the iPad. In addition to tracing letters, the individual letters lead up to creating words. This application recites each letter after the child traces it and recites the words once all letters are traced. This is a great app for a child to use independently to enhance their skills in writing and recognizing the different letters. While this may not directly help with holding a pencil and writing on paper it is important for the child to know what strokes to make and when to write a letter. 

App Gives Autistic Children A Voice

This is a news story about a young boy who was finally able to communicate through the use of an iPad application. His mother described her feelings not knowing if her son would understand the questions she would ask him and was amazed at what she saw. Katie Linendoll, a Tech Expert, discusses the dramatic changes that have been seen since the introduction of the iPad in the world of communication for those with communication disorders. She specifically shares the app, Proloquo2Go, that with over 14,000 images and symbols in its built-in library it can aid in the communication of these children and other individuals in their surroundings. Children can either use one image or symbol to express a feeling or need, or they can string together multiple images/symbols to create complete sentences. This is said to be a very user friendly application that has been proven to make a difference as we saw in the little boy from the beginnings life. 

The Conversation: iPad Gives Voice to The Autistic

 Proloquo2Go, in laying meaning "speak out loud" describes exactly what this app accomplishes. In this video the co-creater of the application discusses how to use the application, why he chose to create this application, and what changes have been made for non-verbal children since the creation of the application. He shares that the driving point for creating this application was knowing how expensive communication devices can be and want this to be easily accessible to children around the world. He knows how important it is to communicate and wants everyone, children involved, to be able to share their wants and needs. 

Studying Autism and iPads

In this 60 Minute Interview Rhonda McEwen, a Canadian Professor, discusses her studies on the use of iPads by children with autism. McEwen shares that the progress may take time but learning to "play with language" is the first step to communicating and using the different applications provided for the iPad. 

After watching the different videos and interviews I have gained a much better understanding of the use and success of using iPads with individuals who have communication disorders. Watching the interaction of the children while using the iPad and what improvements have been seen, some more drastic than others, is astounding. It was interesting however to hear what Rhonda McEwen had to say in the 60 Minute interview. I had never taken the time to consider the period of time in which a child receives the iPad and when they start communicating. I guess I figured this happened automatically? That children would start with minimal communications and build up over time? It was fascinating to hear about this period of time in which the children are "playing with language" and adjusting to using the device. At first, after watching a few of the videos, I thought how many videos can a person watch on iPads and Communication disorders. But I soon realized that each video has a different message, a different learning point, another opportunity to grow and learn. 

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