"Scott Forstall, then Apple’s iOS chief, stood onstage at the WWDC keynote last June and showed the audience a series of slides illustrating the many uses to which an iPad could be put. The one that resonated with me appeared for just a moment: It showed a boy with autism using an iPad,"
writes Steven Aquino
in his article Re-Enabled
, speaking of the profound impact iOS has on those with special needs.
That particular slide touched a chord in Steven for he works with children with disabilities and using an iPad in class is a daily routine for him. But we are inclined to think it’s a marketing point and not realise the world of difference iOS makes to these children especially the accessible technology built into it like Voice Over and Guided Access.
Children with Special Needs
Steven is a classroom aide for children with varying degrees of disabilities. These children need customised activities; so he hands each of them an iPad to which they take to like a pro, operating with no external assistance whatsoever.
He also makes his students ask for an iPad when they need one. This has given rise to a win-win situation. Students ask for it and learn to frame words while he as an instructor gains an insight into their social and emotional development as they speak.
He put the iPad in his class room to other uses too. When Steven works with speech and language pathologists (SLPs) every week, they form a large group and his students sing while the SLPs lead through song and storytelling. They use the iPad here for music. They also use the iPad to show concepts related to the day’s class, which is later followed by a session.
The gadgets are so engaging that students like to work on them for long and rarely get distracted.
iPad Impacts Educator’s Perspective Too
Steven says the iPad has changed his perspective too. For example he and his colleagues initially used flash cards and puzzles to help students identify color, shape and alphabets. Now they use the iPad. Though the old tools are still retained, they wonder for how long.
His colleagues use apps like Notability and Drop box for taking and storing assessment notes. Suffice to say that the iPad is the hot favorite among both students and educators.
The staff at his workplace constantly discuss apps and use the ones best suited for their students. Parental feedback also helps. Often parents walk up to him and his colleagues to ask how best they can utilise the iPad. Their childrens’ progress encourages them as well.
Steven personally feels the device has helped him a lot. He says he was born three months early and hence visually impaired. He needs large print to read. Back in the 80’s, large print meant large books, today; it’s just pinch and zoom.
These gadgets have such a profound impact on children with special needs that Steven says,
"iOS devices are a lifeline. They’re a bionic enhancement — a pocket full of superpowers. The difference that they make to the life of a blind person is truly profound. They’re tools of independence and of participation.”
That says it all!
Shaila is a blogger at Mobicip - the most popular internet filter for iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, iPad mini, Android-based tablets and smartphones, Kindle Fire, and Windows laptops. Shaila loves to write about mobile learning and the impact of technology and the internet on family, school and business.