Educators utilizing iPads to help autistic children

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Learning certain behaviors can sometimes be difficult for children with autism. According to Medical Xpress, 40 percent of autistic children are nonverbal, making it hard for them to communicate or ask for the things they want and need. However, new tablet technology aims to assist children and educators with teaching and learning.

News network KCTV 5 reported that researchers at the University of Kansas are conducting studies to work on an application which helps non-verbal preschoolers learn to communicate. The app uses images to help children with making requests. Assistant Research Professor Kathy Thiemann-Bourque said while the app helped some children learn to speak, every child involved in the research acquired skills in socially acceptable interaction.

“So it is usually just, 'I want something. You'll give it to me, and we're done,'” Thiemann-Bourque said. “Whereas with this type of system, the children can be pushing buttons back and forth, so they can have a reciprocal interaction.”

After the success of the first study, which only included six children, the university received a $1.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the study a second time. The second study will include more children, currently being selected from schools in Lawrence and Kansas City, Kan.

Medical Xpress reported that educators involved in the Stride program have also put iPads loaded with speech-generating apps in the hands of autistic children. Tina Caswell, Ithaca College's Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology faculty member, said the program is really benefiting the children involved.

“It's wonderful when children can express basic wants, but what we're seeing through this therapy goes beyond that,” Caswell said. “Children are doing more than requesting food and toys. For the first time, they are telling narratives and sharing feelings.”

Tablets which serve such an important purpose should be kept in top working order. When an iPad is damaged, services like iResQ's iPad repair can help.

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