Apple’s revolutionary iPad dramatically helps Illinois autistic students

Apple Online Store“On a recent Monday morning at West Prairie South Elementary in Colchester, Ill., Ray Hart, 11, used a stylus to trace a small ”t’ on an iPad screen,” Lainie Steelman reports for GateHouse News Service. “After he successfully traced the letter, the tablet computer made a cheering sound. Ray looked up at his teacher, Lori Thompson, and smiled.”

“Working on the iPad, which was released by Apple in April, has helped Hart dramatically improve his handwriting and boost his confidence,” Steelman reports. “‘The first time I showed this to one little guy –– and he is verbal –– he was able to start writing letters, and that’s carried over into his paper work,’ Thompson said.”

“Most of the students in Thompson’s special needs classroom have autism, a developmental disorder that makes communication and social interaction difficult,” Steelman reports. “‘We’re always looking for new ways to help our students come up with ways to communicate and be motivated,’ Thompson said. ‘We have another (non-verbal) student who uses an augmentative communication device that’s very heavy and bulky and hard to carry around, so we were looking for an alternative.'”

Steelman reports, “Thompson’s two iPads were received after West Prairie Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth suggested the idea. ‘There was an article in the San Francisco Chronicle that talked about iPads as a useful communication tool for children on the autism spectrum who could not otherwise communicate,’ Heerboth said. ‘I knew that Mrs. Thompson had experimented with a similar idea on her iPod touch.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “John F.” for the heads up.]

17 Comments

  1. When I hear “the iPad is just a big iPod touch”. I want to say “so what”. There were a lot of things on my touch that knew would be better if I had a larger surface to work with. However I know that it much more than a large touch or iPhone. Droid lovers can laugh about our fart apps all they want, but show me one app that is helping people with medical needs; one that brings a $3,000.00 divice to few hundred. I would like to see a Android app that people are willing to pay $180.00 for. These are the reasons the iPad is the so popular.

  2. When I hear “the iPad is just a big iPod touch”. I want to say “so what”. There were a lot of things on my touch that knew would be better if I had a larger surface to work with. However I know that it much more than a large touch or iPhone. Droid lovers can laugh about our fart apps all they want, but show me one app that is helping people with medical needs; one that brings a $3,000.00 divice to few hundred. I would like to see a Android app that people are willing to pay $180.00 for. These are the reasons the iPad is the so popular.

  3. I’m very surprised to see this article posted on MacDailyNews; after all, it is received wisdom among right wingers, and Tea Party supporters in particular, that autism is just a scam that parents use to get money from the government:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/37272_Sharron_Angle-_Autism_is_a_Politically_Correct_Special_Interest

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/07/21/2008-07-21_radio_host_michael_savage_incites_protes.html

  4. I’m very surprised to see this article posted on MacDailyNews; after all, it is received wisdom among right wingers, and Tea Party supporters in particular, that autism is just a scam that parents use to get money from the government:

    http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/37272_Sharron_Angle-_Autism_is_a_Politically_Correct_Special_Interest

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2008/07/21/2008-07-21_radio_host_michael_savage_incites_protes.html

  5. I’ve looked into several of these apps and all are amazing but very expensive. I just hope some of the occupational therapy programs that my patients go to will use these because my patients certainly can’t afford an iPad let alone this software.

  6. I’ve looked into several of these apps and all are amazing but very expensive. I just hope some of the occupational therapy programs that my patients go to will use these because my patients certainly can’t afford an iPad let alone this software.

  7. MDN: The political comments turned the once funny and interesting MDN comment section into a very primitive place. Now we have nearly reached YouTube level, with “you son of a bitch”, etc. I wouldn’t wonder if the better commenters leave. And this is caused directly by you MDN, because you couldnt resist to add political stuff into your takes. BTW most Apple users are not American and don’t care about US politics. They want to read about Apple products.

  8. MDN: The political comments turned the once funny and interesting MDN comment section into a very primitive place. Now we have nearly reached YouTube level, with “you son of a bitch”, etc. I wouldn’t wonder if the better commenters leave. And this is caused directly by you MDN, because you couldnt resist to add political stuff into your takes. BTW most Apple users are not American and don’t care about US politics. They want to read about Apple products.

  9. internet forums and comments areas – where readers can give almost immediate knee jerk feedback – are always going to include social/political/economic etc related comments. the reason is an article that one perceives as apple or mac related news, even tangentially, is perceived as something other by another. I see the article above and see nothing political about it for instance. I appreciate that it is discussing a new use for an Apple product – which helps me understand the deep impact these products have in a broad spectrum of conditions. Do I care if this was about autism in particular or whether autism is “questionable” as a medical condition? Not in the least – though it warms my heart to think that even young kids are benefiting from Apple’s incredible hard work in even the smallest way.

    @ ignobilitor – you might want to withhold judgement until you have a bit more experience in the world. Once upon a time many other diseases were heavily debated. The medical world is not perfect, but at the very least it is constantly learning and researching – you might open your mind and do the same instead of parroting useless hatred.

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