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Toronto: iPad Helps Autistic Kids To Communicate & Learn

by on October 26th, 2011

CBCNews Canada is reporting that Apple’s iPad is playing a pivotal role in helping special needs students to communicate and learn, according to a teacher in Tornoto. Stacie Carroll who works at Toronto’s Beverly Public School says that iPad has immensely helped the teachers to connect with students, including those with autism, who often struggle to communicate. She claimed that some autistic students actually become engaged when exposed to an iPad, something they hadn’t seen with any other teaching tool before.

She told an interesting story of an autistic student who couldn’t understand he had to wait for his turn on a swing:

“With the iPad and an app called First/Then, I quickly was able to take a picture of the swing, take a picture of the playground and instantly the app put it into a First/Then format, so the student knew within seconds: first play, then swing.

“That’s something I couldn’t do without this device,” said Carroll. “Within seconds you can create a meaningful ‘right now’ communication board for students. There is a level of engagement that the children have with these devices that we hadn’t seen with other teaching tools before.”

“All of a sudden students who may or may not choose to play together gather around the device and they’re all interested, reaching out and touching it together. As a communication tool, they’re engaged, looking, watching and paying attention.

“It’s not going to engage every student in the same way but we have found most of our students have responded favourably to the devices.”

When she was asked why some students are attracted to the iPad more than other devices, Carroll said it might have something to do with the variety of apps available, the vibrancy of the colours and the ease with which they can manipulate the images on screen.

 

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