Have you seen the YouTube video of a 10-month-old baby playing with a magazine? She touched the page, squeezed her fingers together, pointed and swiped at the page, but nothing happened.
When her mother replaced the magazine with an iPad, the baby achieved results. The experience became interactive, and the little girl completed the same fine motor, finger and hand movements. Plus, she learned a valuable lesson about cause and effect play.
There is no doubt that recent technologies, like the iPad, provide opportunities for learning. For children with disabilities, the iPad can enable a child to achieve higher levels of function and independence.
An iPad can help a child:
- Develop early learning skills (numbers, letters, shapes, etc.)
- Improve visual perceptual/visual motor skills
- Improve eye-hand coordination
- Develop fine motor skills
- Improve reading and writing abilities
How can an iPad help in these ways? iPads run “apps.” An app (short for application) is a piece of software that can run on the Internet, your computer, phone or other electronic device.
A few of my favorite apps that have real “applications” for learning are:
- Interactive Alphabet (by Piikea St. LLC) is great for young children who are working on letter recognition, phonics and the concept of cause and effect.
- Typ-O HD – Writing for Everybody (by Second Guess Apps) provides typing with word prediction. It also has text-to-speech capabilities, so a person can play back what they have typed. Completed work can be saved, emailed or printed.
- Dexteria – Fine Motor Development (by BinaryLabs) is comprised of three sections: Tap it – finger sequencing and isolation movement. Pinch it – fine motor manipulation and control. Write it –finger control and stroke sequencing to write letters and numbers.
- Read2Go (by Benetech) provides access to a Bookshare account, which allows you to search and download books into your iPod, iPhone or iPad. If you choose, it also provides audio and visual support as the books can be read to you. Bookshare is an online library that provides free memberships to U.S. schools and to students with visual and physical disabilities. To learn more about Bookshare, visit www.bookshare.org .
- myHomework (by Rodrigo Neri) provides a daily visual schedule, calendar, homework assignments and reminders. This app is helpful for students who struggle with short term memory deficits and/or decreased organizational skills.
- Hoppy’s vision training 1 (by JoyVision) helps train eye movements and improves eye hand coordination. The app has adjustable settings and records measurable data.Choice Board Creator (by Techno Chipmunk) allows you to create your own board, up to six choices per page. I use this app to create questions from a short story I have read with a child. With the iPad camera, I can take photos of the story pages, then import those pictures into my own boards, creating an activity related to the story.
You can download iPhone apps from the Apple App Store .
The Good Shepherd Pediatric Assistive Technology Program provides state-of-the-art technology interventions to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities. Learn more