The Apple iPad is a technological device many people view as a type of new plaything, although for many people with disabilities it represents a functional tool with the potential to assist them. Students who experience forms of learning disabilities may develop and enhance their learning skills, develop social skills, and learn how to adapt to different situations using the iPad. In fact, there are a great many applications available to assist students with learning disabilities.
An article titled, “40 Amazing iPad Apps for the Learning Disabled,” presents an impressive listing of applications for people with disabilities to use on the Apple iPad. Just a sampling of the applications available through this article include the following:
ArtikPix: Children with speech issues can use ArtikPix to practice sounds and words at home.
Aurify: Aurify is a challenging and rewarding audio game for students, especially those with learning disabilities.
AutismXpress: Autism Xpress makes it easy for people with autism to recognize and express their emotions.
Behavior Assessment Pro: BAP identifies factors related to problem behaviors for autistic kids.
Everyday Skills: Use this app to find self-directed learning for students with autism and learning disabilities.
iEarnedThat: This tool can help parents track and reward good behavior.
iWriteWords: Encourage fine motor skills using IWriteWords for practicing writing letters, numbers, and words.
Model Me Going Places: This visual teaching tool can help your child navigate challenging locations with appropriate behavior.
According to Ricky Buchanan, there are an incredible number of stories available through mainstream news and blog sources concerning the Apple iPad and the incredible positive effects it is having on people who experience various forms of disabilities. Children who experience autism are the subject of a number of the stories, yet there are apparently plenty of news stories and blogs about other people with disabilities who are gaining wonderful results from their use of iPads as well. Ricky hasn't been able to keep up with every story, although Ricky's page presents many of them. Visit Ricky's page titled, “Stories: iPad Users With Disabilities,” for the wrap-up.
Not everyone has found the iPad to be suitable to their particular uses, and wheelchair user Paul Natsch is one such person. Paul acknowledges the success of the iPad, stating that he has read a great deal about the product, watched many YouTube demonstrations presenting various applications for the iPad, and has actually used one while at an Apple store on more than one occasion. He states that the iPad is indeed an incredible device.
Paul also says that the touchscreen and accelerometer goodness is great, although in a number of ways the iPad is making things less accessible for some people with physical disabilities, to include himself, than the one's they have become accustomed to over the last couple of decades. Paul has been using an Ipod Touch for nearly two years and loves it. He says it is ironic that the iPod has given him a solid understanding of why the iPad is so versatile and useful, yet also far too inaccessible for him specifically. His biggest issue with the iPad is it's very size; there simply isn't a place for him to mount it on his powerchair where he would be able to use it sufficiently. Paul's article is title, “Why The iPad Isn’t For Me,” and is well worth reading.
Eric Sailer, a speech pathologist and assistive technology specialist working in a San Diego school district, says the iPad has been touted as being, 'magical and revolutionary.' He also states that where people with disabilities are concerned – this may not be an exaggeration. The iPad, according to Eric, is a device that has been described as something between a computer and a smartphone, although whether it is a product for you or not is something for you to decide.
As a person who experiences weakness in his hands, Eric finds the weight of the iPad to be too much for him to hold. He says the iPad needs to remain flat on a table, or propped on a pillow if he is using it while in bed. Eric says the size of the iPad is around the same as a large notepad, and he suggests that people purchase the optional case for the device that folds either horizontally or vertically so the iPad can be held at an angle that makes it easier to use for typing or viewing. Eric's article is titled, “The iPad: A Disability Friendly Device?” and is one that provides some very useful information.
Below are some links to further reading, information and applications you can use in relation to the Apple iPad.
“The arrival of OS X Lion ushers in a new era of accessibility for students of all abilities. Every Mac comes equipped with dozens of assistive technologies — many of which you won’t find in other operating systems at any price. And with the development of universal access features for iPhone, iPad, and iPod, Apple is taking these technologies to a new level.”
“iPad includes an amazing screen reader along with other innovative accessibility features that make it easier to use for those who are blind or have impaired vision.”