The Apple iPad has come out a winner as one of the best gadget to help children with autism in order to express themselves, communicate and improve their concentration and attention span. It is a savior for these children who have to depend on others for play, entertainment or learning skills. One of the best benefits of an iPad, apart from its portability, is your child will exhibit visible signs of improvement in fine motor skills, as the iPad necessitates use of fingers to operate it. There will be a marked improvement in hand-eye co-ordination, sensory & cognitive skills, social skills, stress reduction, communication and language skills.
iPad opens out a whole new world for children with autism as they are now able to release themselves from a world they have locked themselves into and express their emotions through a wide range of programs and applications built in iPad.
For children who relied on paper and pen to write what they wanted, iPad has turned into their voice through which they are able to express their needs better. iPad has images, pictures, videos, symbols and special language applications that have wide functionality. For children with severe development issues and inability to speak, iPad has become a means to help them improve their social skills and lead normal lives.
iPad interface is user friendly with touch screen facility and no mouse required. The keyboard is on the screen on account of which your child will not require to move his eyes from the screen to the keyboard constantly.
If your child is hyperactive, self obsessed or food obsessed, an iPad will pull them out from behind the closed doors of their world and offer them a way out to be a part of the outside world. There will be reduced meltdowns and frustrations at being unable to express their feelings and desires.
iPads are expensive and may not be affordable to all but there are alternatives like writing into IEP, school district, insurance or online community like GiveForward.org & ChipIn.com,(free) Crowdrise.com (commission), A4CWSN.com (donation charity org).
iPad has many useful apps for parents as well as children with autism and some of the most popular ones are:
AutismExpress – This application explains basic facial expressions in a fun way, making it easy for children having difficulty in understanding feelings or emotions.
iConverse – as the name suggests, helps uncommunicative children and adults to communicate with others through PECS (Picture Exchange Communication system).
Proloquo2Go – This app is highly popular with young and old people of autism and other development disorders as it offers alternative communication solutions through colorful pictures, vocabulary, automatic conjugations and symbols.
Grace - This is a wonderful application that lets your child communicate by linking pictures and symbols to form a complete sentence.
iCommunicate - Your child can make flashcards, storyboards, pictures and routines, choice boards etc and customize the program to suit your child’s needs.
TaptoTalk- An excellent application for non-verbal children of autism.
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