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iPad and tech for special needs kids?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

 

I don't know about you guys, but I've been reading a lot on how people have been using the iPad as an educational platform for their children (the one in this instance was an autistic child).

I wanted to get an idea about how you guys feel about this and in what instances do you think that the iPad could be really beneficial for special needs learning?
post #2 of 26

My son's speech therapist has one.  She gets all kinds of apps to use when working with him.  I would love to get one for my son and follow her lead.  I'm sure there are tons of other uses for it as well. 

post #3 of 26

We use the iPad and the iPhone all the time with my SN kid. We belong to  http://www.nacd.org and they have a whole sub site on good apps for SN kids. http://apps.nacd.org.

 

What we use most is picture flash cards to increase dd's receptive language. We have an app that lets you take pics of people and things in your environment and then name and record them in your voice. We have math cards app and a lot of apps for my older NT child that he loves. We also take videos of things in our environment and play them back for her. Like my older child doing things we are looking for her to do. It works great. Really, I was skeptical, but something about focusing on the smaller screen really seems to connect with my SN kid. 

post #4 of 26

We got DD an iPod Touch (latest gen, with camera). We outfitted it with a protective skin and screen shield and a clip-on holster and it travels with her to preschool and daycare. 

 

DD is 3.5 years old with a severe communication disorder stemming from damage to the language areas of her brain. We use an app called iCommunicate - you can take pictures on the fly of real stuff in your child's life and record audio to go with it. She has already mastered how to use her finger to scroll through the pictures to look at/hear the ones she likes. Since it's small and lightweight, she can handle it easily.  

 

This app has helped A LOT with her receptive language and with her ability to make the cognitive connection that things and actions have names. For instance, I took a picture of her when I could tell she was pooping in her diaper, recorded audio ("DD is going poo-poo") and played it back to her right then. She made the connection between what was happening with her body and that it is called "going poo-poo." Now she will sometimes say "I poo-poo" after she's pooped. Maybe that's TMI but I think it's a good example of how this app has helped with my DD's language problems. (Now, getting her to put her poop in the potty... that's a different story!)

 

She's also doing a lot more mimicking of sounds since we've started using this. And she's showing an interest in recording audio for some of the pictures using her own voice. Tonight, we put in a picture of her schoolbus (taken from our front door, so the picture looks exactly like what she sees in the morning). She used her own voice to record "buh" (bus)! So I think in time it will inspire growth and development of her expressive language skills. At the very least, I'm hoping she'll use it to "tell" us what she wants.

 

NOTE: Make sure you change the settings on your iPod/iPad so that apps cannot be deleted without entering a password. DD deleted the whole app! We didn't have to pay again to re-install it, but we did lose all the pictures and audio that was stored in the app. 

post #5 of 26

We love out Ipad/Iphones!  They are technically mine, but the kids use them all the time.  We use starfall a lot as well as counting games.  I like that I can pull out the Ipad and have tons of different pictures on there--of animals, people doing certain things, etc that really help with his language building.  We also use it for fine motor skills, especially using that index finger. 

post #6 of 26

I am so glad I checked this board today :)  I have been considering getting my 4.5 year old an ipod touch, and I am thrilled to hear all about these awesome apps.  Our SLP mentioned using some technology for DD so that she could communicate better in Kindergarten next year, and so, we are in the beginning process of trying to get said tech. provided for her, but I don't think it would come home with us....I have no idea how it works when the school covers the cost of things like ipods/ipads/etc...we will be going to an outside organization that matches the appropriate technology with the student (well anyone for tht matter), and we have not started this evaluation process, so we may end up with a giant computer thing in the classroom, but in my mind an ipod would be much more appropriate for her...and if thats the case than I would just buy her one anyway ;)    Thanks for starting this thread, subbing for more info and communication ideas. 

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by askew View Post

We use the iPad and the iPhone all the time with my SN kid. We belong to  http://www.nacd.org and they have a whole sub site on good apps for SN kids. http://apps.nacd.org.

 

What we use most is picture flash cards to increase dd's receptive language. We have an app that lets you take pics of people and things in your environment and then name and record them in your voice. We have math cards app and a lot of apps for my older NT child that he loves. We also take videos of things in our environment and play them back for her. Like my older child doing things we are looking for her to do. It works great. Really, I was skeptical, but something about focusing on the smaller screen really seems to connect with my SN kid. 



Thanks, b/c I'm going to check out the links you shared.  I'm about to buy my DS an ipod touch within the next few weeks, and I'd love to find apps that would help him communicate (and learn, and ones that he just plain enjoys besides the netflix app he uses on my iphone now). 

post #8 of 26

I think my non-verbal son would benefit from them.  Question is, how do you keep the child from destroying the iPad/iTouch?

post #9 of 26

I love this idea! I'm going to talk to my daughters teacher about this.

post #10 of 26

Supervise them!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post

I think my non-verbal son would benefit from them.  Question is, how do you keep the child from destroying the iPad/iTouch?

post #11 of 26

I think that there are some rugged products made for children through other educational organizations.  The local one that we plan on visiting is this one here:

V.O.I.C.E. 

and they had ones that were not as sleek looking (although I believe they do have ipods/ipads too), but ones with protective covers. I bet they make protective covers for ipods too. 

post #12 of 26
post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

This company makes amazing cases, you can practically drive your car over them http://www.otterbox.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-otterbox_us-Site?cid=MSOTT10&utm_source=msn&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=otterbox-branded 



Yes, I was also going to suggest an otterbox case.  I have one for my iphone, and it's pretty solid.  I bet I could spill coffee all over it and my phone would be dry inside. 

post #14 of 26

Forum crashing—I saw this in the Recent Discussions list—to say that a blog I read has done an excellent series of posts about iPads and autism. Here's a big link roundup that includes posts by this blogger as well as outside articles and resources. I thought some of you might find it interesting or useful!

 

http://www.squidalicious.com/p/on-ipads.html

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 34me View Post

This company makes amazing cases, you can practically drive your car over them http://www.otterbox.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-otterbox_us-Site?cid=MSOTT10&utm_source=msn&utm_medium=ppc&utm_campaign=otterbox-branded 


Thanks, we'll look into it.  It seems promising.  I like how they come in all different color combos--each member of the family can have a different one for their iPad (when we can afford them).

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwan*Yin View Post

Supervise them!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post

I think my non-verbal son would benefit from them.  Question is, how do you keep the child from destroying the iPad/iTouch?


 

As for "supervise them", the iPad/iPod touch would be his "voice" and he'd have it with him literally all the time unless he was asleep and it was charging.  I was thinking about him throwing it on the school bus or something...or another kid getting hold of it.
 

But, our insurance won't cover them because they are not a "dedicated" device--but will pay for a $5000 specialized assistive communication device.  It may pay for the apps, but I don't know.

post #16 of 26

We're using the iPad for our son with autism.  It's fantastic.

 

The verbal program we're using is ProLoQue2Go...it's expensive, but it's really thorough and can be arranged for each kid's needs.  It's basically like a dynavox on the ipad, but more adjustable and easier to use.  It's a total PECS communication system, and it speaks the words out loud as ds presses on the PECS.  You can adjust the voice, add in new words, use your own photos, make new PECS, put in a visual schedule....

 

We also use apps for him...basic colors, picture ids, animal sounds, letter ID, numbers, sing-a-longs, stories....it's endless.

 

Protection?  Otterbox.  It makes the thing heavier, but it's very well protected.

 

If you're planning on getting an iPad soon, I'd wait for the next version.  Rumor is it will be lighter and have a built-in camera, not to mention an SD port and a few other goodies. :)

 

Askew~ which picture flash card apps do you use? The one that you can take your own pictures and record your own voice?  That would be great.

post #17 of 26

for insurance against drops, etc., google Square Trade. :)

post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kwan*Yin View Post

Supervise them!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2lilsweetfoxes View Post

I think my non-verbal son would benefit from them.  Question is, how do you keep the child from destroying the iPad/iTouch?




lol.gif You'd be shocked how many things my son has broken with me sitting right next to him. Unfortunately, I am not a mind reader and he has major impulse control issues, so "supervise them!" is not really an answer in this case.
post #19 of 26

I have an iPod touch, latest version, which I originally bought for *me*, lol, but there are more educational apps on that thing than anything else, so my kids have sort of usurped it.

 

I use it daily with my 6 yo DD (who has an as-yet undiagnosed learning disability, possibly dyslexia) to practice sight words and sound out phonemes. The two apps I found are great: they're called Learn Sight Words and The Read Machine. She also traces letters, writes words, and does math with Teach Me 1st Grade.

 

In addition, I have several preschool-aged apps that Sophie, who has Down Syndrome, and my toddler, Duncan, adore. They are interactive versions of kids' songs, where you tap on the screen to move things or have the pictures do some kind of animated response. There are multiple pages to scroll through in most of them. They're all made by Duck, Duck, Moose. We have Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, and Wheels on the Bus.

 

However, while my 17 month old has no trouble pushing the right spots on the small screen, Sophie, at almost 5, has considerably more difficulty, which isn't surprising, since fine motor is her weakest area, hands down. She couldn't isolate her index finger to point until she was almost 4. I distinctly remember cheering ecstatically when she picked her nose for the first time, lol. Ah, the things we get jazzed about, huh? orngtongue.gif

 

Anyway, she will be starting K next year, and I really think when we start teaching her things like how to form letters, etc in earnest, we will invest in an iPad for the extra screen room. The larger format would be perfect for her fine motor limitations, AND easier for her to see, too (she has visual issues, severe strabismus and far-sightedness.) My dad has an iPad, and I plan to test her out on it this summer.

 

One thing I have already noticed, though, when searching for apps, is that there are many more educational/SN-oriented apps for the iPod/IPhone than for the iPad at this point. And all apps for the iPad cost more, as well. Since it's new, I'm sure that will continue to change and more and more will be available on both platforms, but it's another reason I'm willing to hold off for now and let them come out with a new version and more apps before I purchase. Mostly, though, I think it's an incredible resource and am awed that we live in an age where this kind of stuff is available for the average family. It's deeply, deeply cool!

 

Guin

post #20 of 26
Just get a good case and buy the replacement insurance on the item. I've found Apple products to be highly durable though, I've washed an iPhone on extended rinse cycle and it still worked. We don't have to protect the gadgets fro the kids, we protect them from me... thus I've become the gadget case pro in our house, lol. I spend more money (in the long run) on cases than I do on the gadgets themselves. Just get something that protects the corners for sure because that is where most of your drop damage is. I always go for something with a hard case with rubberized corners to absorb shock. The folios I found were mostly crap, they left the corners exposed. Instead get something that will protect the edges for sure and help minimize damage if it gets stepped on, then slip it into a neoprene sleeve meant for small netbooks. And get a GOOD screen protector installed on it. I had BestBuy install mine because then it has a warranty against bubbles and damage to the protector.

For software, I've heard great things about Proloquo2go which is available for the iPad/iPod/iPhone its spendier but cheaper than devices meant specifically for communication. At least with the iPad (etc) you can use it for a variety of things.
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