Apps for Autism on 60 Minutes

CBS just aired an interesting segment on apps for individuals with autism and communicating with the iPad. You can watch the entire segment here:

There’s also an interesting follow-up segment interviewing teachers who feel the apps for people with autism are “overblown”:

Are you using apps with your students with ASD? If so, which ones? What do you think the value of the iPad and other tablets is to the learning needs of the autism population?

Apps for Children with Special Needs

For all you technophiles who are loving using the iPad with your students and children, this website – Apps for Children with Special Needs – is going to knock your socks off. They’re completely on top of all the new educational apps coming out. They list each one, explaining their features in detail and even provide a video of the app in use so you can decide if it’s right for you before shelling out the money. This is a GREAT site that we highly recommend!

Enter to win a free iPad from the HollyRod Foundation

The HollyRod Foundation is raising money to provide free iPads to families in need. Applications are being accepted until December 31, 2010. In trying to donate to the those in the most need, the guidelines stipulate that the child is non-verbal or minimally verbal and that the family falls below a certain income level. We applaud the HollyRod Foundation for trying to make a real difference in the lives of families in our community.

Dublin Schools Using iPad As Educational Tool

This is an interesting article about a school district in Ohio that is using Ipads with students with developmental disabilities. We were particularly struck by the way they’re using it to appeal to students by engaging all of their senses and providing reinforcement.

iPad and Autism?

As a home-based Early Intervention provider traveling to various locations throughout New York City each day, I find my iPhone to be invaluable. It is quite possibly the best “business” expense of my career. It lurks in my bag as a secret weapon of motivation and reinforcement where once a gaggle of heavy and semi-effective toys resided.

With the huge presence that technology has in our lives today it is only inevitable that some gadgets make their way into therapeutic endeavors. While there are negative effects to being plugged in all of the time, it’s hard for me to ignore those moments where technology allows a child to learn something that had been previously difficult or the amazing instances of joint attention that can be facilitated by using these apps. Without a doubt, I’m sold on the fact that the new gadgets with touch screens will continue to be an invaluable tool moving forward in my work with children. However, I can’t silence the little contradictory voice in my head telling me that teaching happens in real life, not on a screen.

Therefore, I use my iPhone in therapy sessions with children sparingly. I am the one setting limits on usage and modeling durations of time that are reasonable and appropriate. Approximately 90% of the apps I use are educational and present great opportunities for the generalization of skills taught using DTT or NET methods. I have also downloaded social skills training videos that have facilitated preparation for things like going to get a haircut. Even though that tiny voice still lurks in the back of my head, the more I read and hear, I am beginning to think that the consensus of people in this community is mainly positive.

I am most excited about programs such as Proloquo2Go, which use the iPad as a more portable and user-friendly augmentative communication device. Not unlike the endless list of apps, the uses are never-ending as well, as outlined in a great article in the SF weekly from August 11, 2010. The iPad and various apps are helping therapists and parents teach children how to draw, write, communicate, read, spell, count, and increase independence through visual schedules.

Using technology hasn’t compromised what or how much I am able to teach. It has enhanced my sessions. How do you feel about it?