Apple’s iPad Helping Children with Autism

Photo by Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr

Since its release in April 2010, Apple has sold over 3 million iPads.  The iPad is a “tablet computer”, which is geared to be used for reading books, listening to music, accessing media online, playing games, and watching movies.  The product was received well critically, and obviously was a commercial success.

Over the last few months, the iPad was been finding a following in a community that the designers didn’t even consider during its creation: the autism community.

Shannon Rosa is the mother of 9-year-old Leo, a boy with autism.  She recently won an iPad in a raffle, and surprised her son with it.  Leo has since become entranced with the iPad, spending hours every day playing around with different apps that include activities such as spelling exercises, counting exercises, and picture drawing.

When developers caught wind of the impact the product was making on children with autism, they began to design various apps that would be useful for children with special needs.  Studies have commenced on how helpful the iPad could be for children with autism.

In some cases, through use of the iPad, children with autism have successfully communicated with others in ways that they never could before.  Different learning obstacles that they used to encounter regularly aren’t a problem anymore.

Rosa explains that before Leo had his iPad, traveling was impossible for their family.  The iPad keeps Leo occupied and calms him down.  Tantrums and fits of violence have been brought to a minimum.

The iPad has introduced a new way to motivate children with autism to learn.  It can also relax them, and give parents and adults insight into their thought process.

Rosa said, “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak.  But I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.”

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