The iPad: a Useful Tool for Autism

Computers, iPads, and Autism

Computers are particularly useful for those with autism, as they facilitate communication and aid in learning. In recent months, there has been some buzz in education and autism communities about the Apple iPad.

The iPad, like other computers, is an effective tool for many on the autism spectrum. It’s flexibility and portability offer some additional advantages, though, over other laptops or PCs. The touch screen and layout makes it more accessible for some children with coordination or learning difficulties, who may find ‘sliding’ and tapping easier than either typing or writing. Moreover, the iPad can be easily carried, and thus is helpful for calming and focusing children who are on the go.

The iPad can also be used as a communication board or augmentative communication device. Because of the customization options and because the iPad is a ‘cool tech device’ that doesn’t immediately mark a child as different, many see it as a more attractive option than the more traditional ones. Some children have been captivated indeed by the iPad, finding the motivation to master quite a few new skills in a short span of time.

I definitely would stop short of using the phrase I saw in ‘the weekly’ this morning: The iPad isn’t a cure for autism — I’m not sure ‘cure’ is even an appropriate term for a complex learning difference — and there are autistic individuals whose abilities simply won’t allow them to use an iPad or any other computer. Still it looks like Apple may have done something they didn’t necessarily set out to do: provided one of the better adaptive learning technologies on the market.

On this page, I will share some research and resources for those considering using a communication and teaching tool with those on the autism spectrum.

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About the Author

David Berkowitz, Editor in Chief.
I am the aspie dad of 3 with autism, in industrial sales by day, and a run tech and autism news media organization as well. I am trying to be like and help autism too via the arts and tech. I am also on twitter, itechnewszone, facebook/technewszone, youtube/technewszone, too.