Sunday, February 19, 2012

IPads, Apps and Autism....a divergent post.

Recently I attended a workshop that focused on Apps for the IPad to use with students that have autism.
If a child is diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder they can be high or low functioning, may be verbal or non verbal and have challenges when it comes to learning basic skills and attending school. They do not learn in the same way that the mainstream students learn and need specialized programs and support to be integrated into the school system.

IPads and their specialized Apps are giving families with autistic children new hope.
The technology is affordable and easy to use.
These tools are changing and revolutionizing lives....



60 minutes did a segment which illustrates exactly what we were learning about in our workshop
it's about 13 minutes long and I feel that you'll have a far greater understanding and appreciation for the impact of this technology after viewing this clip.



I have an IPhone and have downloaded some of the free Apps to test them.
One autistic student in my class has been hooked from the first swipe and his eyes light up when he uses it!
An IPAD is on my Wish List now.
Steve Jobs and his creative and talented team have made an amazing product.
I don't think they thought about or focused on this aspect of society when they were designing the IPAD.
The IPAD is giving new hope and a voice to the autistic community.
Parents of autistic children are moved to tears when they see what a difference this tool makes to their children.
It's pretty humbling...


I understand why so many people felt compelled to bring flowers to the Apple stores when Steve Jobs passed away.
Our lives have been forever changed by this visionary.


Beyond the ASD students we are using it with our other special needs students. Two of our Down's syndrome students have their PECS systems on the IPAD. PECS is a communication tool where the student and teacher, assistant or parent engage in dialogue using symbols. This tool has reduced and virtually eliminated frustrating behaviours that result from an inability to communicate wants and needs.

I am passionate about this field and although this is not a usual Hostess post I felt that I would share some of this news in hope that you might better understand what our special needs members of society are excited about.

If you have a special needs relative and the family has an IPAD a great gift would be an ITUNES card. There are hundreds of fabulous Apps out there, some of which are free. I would suggest that you do some research before buying by visiting sites that review and critique these products because there is an overwhelming amount of apps out there!

For reviews and suggestions of apps check out Dr. Gary Brown's site
another site that might be of interest is I Educational Apps Review.

I hope that you have followed me this far in the post and have learned something new...
my next post will be something more fluffy I promise!



It's our son's birthday today
he's 31.

Love and Hugs
XO

28 comments:

  1. I have a new Iphone and marvel at it's capabilities. An Ipad can't be far behind! Happy Birthday to your son. My son turned 27 on Saturday the 18th!

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    1. The IPhone is amazing! Happy Birthday wishes to your son.

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  2. As a teacher I found your post interesting and informative. Thank you for sharing the links. As a pre-school teacher, I am usually the first to acknowledge the red flags of autism or other needs. I continually try to keep seeking knowledge on the subject. Thank you! Bonnie

    p.s. Enjoy you son's birthday!

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    1. Early intervention and diagnosis is key so we rely on people like yourself for their expertise.
      Thank you!
      We had a lovely dinner out celebrating our son's birthday.

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  3. It's with great interest that I read your post today, for my son who is 11 has high functioning autism. I'm so glad to see that the tech world has offered so much products to help facilitate different learning styles. For my son his autim affects his social skills, his acdemics are sound because he is a voracious reader. Since my son has been diagnosed with this disoder we have found that an EA coupled with an understanding of what triggers outbursts and how to deflate them and with technology that my son can handle has allowed him to flourish in mainstream school. We have been very lucky to work with schools both elementary and middle that allowed my son to learn at his own pace and style :))

    Happy Birthday to your son. My little guy turns 12 on the 22 of this month :)

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    1. Leanne,
      It's great to hear that your son has had the right support in school.
      The social story apps might be of interest to you.
      We saw videos of groups of students crowded around the ASD student playing games on their IPads together laughing and interacting.
      There are quite a few February boys celebrating their birthdays.

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  4. So encouraging, that they are figuring out approaches that help.

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    1. It's a feel good solution to a challenging situation.

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  5. Excellent post "Hostess!". I saw the 60 minute piece. I wonder if the connection is the visual component. I hope you treat yourself. I love mine . . . totally! Hubby has one too.

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    1. The visuals are a huge part of it. Mr. Hb is getting the IPad 3 and plans to give me his when the IPad 4 comes out :)

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  6. My comments to you have been locking up and booting me off. Success today for the first time in a week or so!

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  7. Thanks for this informative post Hostess. I left special needs education two years ago and am not up with the latest technological advances used for students with autism. I certainly hope these tools are being integrated into the Aust system.
    As for Ipads my husband recently purchased one and is hooked and so of course I want one too! Before I bought my laptop last year our son was trying to convince me to consider the Ipad and now I wish I had given it serious consideration.
    Happy Birthday to your beloved son.
    xx

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    1. I have a laptop too and I don't think the IPad would completely replace the laptop but I am not a tech!
      My son is and your very well might be!

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  8. Friends of ours have a son who is affected by Cerebral Palsy. He uses something like a PDA to type what he is trying to say when someone can't understand him. Reading your ipad story reminds me of working with Bliss Boards back when I was a teenaged volunteer.

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    1. In high school we had a group of volunteers that went to work with disabled children.
      Those were the days before integration in a hospital clinic setting.
      It was an eye opener for me as a teen and one that I have appreciated to this day.
      Has your experience changed the way that you feel about special needs children?

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  9. My mother worked with Cerebral Palsy patients when I was young. I was lucky enough to be able to go to work with her sometimes and spend some time with them. One of the things I learned was that people with disabilities are not stupid, but the difficulties they have communicating can be frustrating. How wonderful that new technologies today can change so many lives for the better.

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    1. Your mother gave you a great gift by taking you with her when she worked with those CP patients.
      Fortunately today public schools have integrated special needs children and the younger generation have a better understanding and acceptance towards their peers.

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  10. Very interesting , I remember when the big red switches were all the rage and the touch screens. Things have come along way. I have spent many years in the field myself and am always intrigued by new ways to teach and new ways to learn.Hope your weekend was good and you ate lots of cake too. Donna

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    1. No cake for me!
      Yes Smart boards are a fun and engaging teaching tool that we are playing with in the classroom.

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  11. I read something about this in the paper - the wonders and change we're seeing!

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  12. I just looove my Ipad, when my husband accidentally ran over it with the landcruiser last weekend as we were leaving for a trip away, I only had thoughts of how quickly I could get it replaced. We'd had our old dog put to sleep that day and there were more important emotions to deal with!! everything broken could so easily be replaced! I had a new one in my hands by 9.30am the next morning.

    I use mine in the classroom all the time, I can quickly copy and paste then email links to students of the pages I want them to access on their computers. Here in Oz all Year 9(15 year olds) are given a laptop to use. Some private schools have the Ipad on the list of equipment to purchase along with the textbooks. My students are certainly not privilidged and I love to share my ipad with them in the library during breaks. But I keep a mean eye on it! My own children have them as I can see the benefits and I am a firm believer that the children must keep up with this sort of technology or they might fall behind too far in knowing how to use it!
    It has to become second nature to them for them to be competitive in the future.
    When you get your's you won't believe how wonderful it is and how you have missed out for so long.

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    1. Oh I am sorry to hear about your dog. Losing a pet is dreadful.
      I hope that you had insurance on your IPad and that you had an enjoyable trip.

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  13. I admire your work with autistic children so much, Hostess. Takes so much love and patience. I'm so glad that the IPad has something that seems to help make a difference. When is the version 4 coming out?
    I have one, and love it.

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    1. Oh I heard sometime in the fall that the 4 is due out, the IPad 3 is rumored to be out in March.

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  14. My husband has an iPad and he adores it. He compelled his father to purchase one; my FIL is 80 and has Stage 3 lung cancer, so everyday things are not easy to do. He is able to look up items on the internet and send quick emails - even watch television - and not have to walk up and down the stairs in his home.

    I think tablet computing will continue to evolve and become lower in price (look at Samsung and Kindle). What a wonderful technological tool that is helping millions of people who were out of reach to conventional communication methods.

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  15. I do have an ipad, in fact we have three in our home. I probably don't use it even a tiny fraction of how it could be utilized. It's so wonderful to hear that there are apps that are helpful with teaching autistic children. What a great tool and gives so much hope. I admire your work with autisitc children, so challenging, but so rewarding.
    xo
    annie

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  16. Really interesting post Hostess - thank you. I will tell my sister about these apps as her son has a very mild form of autism - it could be wonderful for him. x

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  17. Just wonderful! And so gratifying to you to see this resource coming into your school. (Though the apps are cheap the iPad is not, and can be damaged fairly easily. They are not repaired, but only replaced.) Still, the investment is worth it for these children and their families.

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