On this page you will find some inspiring stories from parents and professionals around the world and how they use an iPad with Children who have Special Needs. Please feel free to share your story.
My name is Virginia, V is what my friends call me. I am the mother to three children, one of whom is my special needs child. Shelby is 5 years old with an un-diagnosed developmental delay. She is still very much a two year old. I believe I had read in an article about the iPad being used with special needs kids and I just had to check it out. My husband borrowed an iPad from one of his coworkers and brought it home. I then proceeded to download a few free apps to have Shelby experiment with. What happened next brought my husband and I to tears. Up until that point Shelby had never been able to complete a puzzle unassisted. They were a struggle to say the least. Through Shape Puzzle HD, we witnessed our daughter put together one seven piece puzzle after another. The joy on her face when she succeeded lit up the room. One free app into our test drive and we knew this device was a game changer. Through apps like “Spot the Dot” we found out she knows more colors than what they’ve been able to test her on in school. Through Injini we can watch her match cards and work on fine motor skills. Through “Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends” I can watch her “read” a book. Not to mention the iPad has made the thought of going out in public a lot less scary. Shelby enjoys her iPad so much that she will sit quietly and “work” while we complete our errands. She’ll sit quietly in a doctor’s office instead of having a meltdown because she has had to wait too long. When normally she would tire and need to leave a situation, she can now give herself a break with the iPad. There are some amazing apps and uses for the iPad that I could never have dreamed of and many still that I have yet to discover. I would have never found these apps had I not found Apps 4 Children With Special Needs first. I found A4cwsn.com about a week prior to giving Shelby her iPad. Since then, her life has been changed by the iPad and mine has been changed by the friends and yes, even family that I have found on A4cwsn’s facebook page. Shelby already has her iPad but I want to see this device change everyone’s life that is affected with Special needs. Gary James has a vision. To change lives, one iPad at a time. He has a heart made out of solid gold and I have no doubt that his campaign will revolutionize the special needs community. If you are doubting the impact an iPad can make with your very special kiddo, think again. You can NOT go wrong with this device combined with this community, A4cwsn.
After getting our ipad this summer, stephen has come so far! the apps for academics, social skills, books, etc are amazing! but it has also taught him how to share, take turns, compliment and how to understand responsibility! i have gotten the best notes from his teacher this year. He’s more controlled, asks better questions, even makes better eye contact! she said i sent her ‘super stephen’ the other day & another note said ‘who is this child???’ (in a good way)! i couldn’t be more proud of him! and i don’t just think the ipad had something to do with it, i KNOW it did!
A few years ago, I started using an iPod Touch during some of my speech therapy with students with autism. Suddenly, I started seeing kids who were excited to come work with me. Before I knew it, the entire class, six students at that time, were trying to huddle around my iPod. Last fall, I was lucky enough to get an iPad. By that time I had two students using iPods for communication. I have totally integrated the iPad into my therapy and and have seen significant improvements in attention and interaction that carry over into other activities. This year, I have a new student who is just three years old and he does not yet have the ability to sit and listen or engage in activities with flashcards and lots of materials. He is able to work with me on the iPad for 20 minutes with some redirection. There are so many skills that can be gained while working with the iPad, for students of all different abilities and skills.
My daughter is an ex- 26 week prem baby, now almost 6 years old, with vision impairment and some learning difficulties (and the associated frustrations that go along with that!) . I bought an iPad hoping that it would help her stop writing all her letters backwards, as I saw a friend’s child using a letter tracing app. She had a few other learning issues such as difficulties with sequencing and also speech issues to do with scarring on her vocal cords. I had no idea that having an iPad with apps targeting these issues would be of assistance to her!!
She has progressed so much since having the iPad, her writing has improved amazingly, and it has helped with her speech as well. Jorja now knows that before school she needs to play with educational apps rather than watch TV, and that it helps “turn her brain on”. The iPad is also a fantastic reward for positive reinforcement!
Getting invaluable help with choosing the right apps, right from the start, on A4cwsn has made all the difference I feel. Seeing her coming along in leaps and bounds has inspired me to help other parents of children with special needs through helping out with A4cwsn – Australia and New Zealand. My particular passion is seeing iPads in the hands of therapists and edcuators to assist children with special needs.
I had been using iPod touches in my high school classroom for students with severe disabilities for quite some time. Last summer I worked with a young man who used it for his first high tech communication device with much success. Most students in my classroom found it difficult because of the size of the screen. So I began trying to figure out how to get an iPad for my classroom. My loving, wonderful husband bought an iPad for me for Christmas. I have been using it in my classroom since the first of January. My students LOVE it. I have many students who use it simply for positive reinforcement for completing their classwork. Little do they realize that almost every program I have on it (and I have a lot!) is educational in nature. I have seen such great success now not only with their use and control with the iPad, but also in their daily classwork whether it is our newspaper activities or vocational tasks, simply because I began using the iPad as a reward. I would love for each student to have their own iPad so that the next time my school administrator walks in, he could see beyond their disability and see their capability!
An old Chinese proverb does a much better job of explaining what my iPad2 means to my speech language students than I can.
Tell Me and I Will Forget
Children with speech language disorders do not learn well in a lecture style formats that take place in schools. They easily become over whelmed by too much auditory input and shut down.
Show Me and I Will Remember
Using visuals like schedules and social stories to assist in the explanation of language helps in the learning process.
Involve Me and I Will Understand.
Hands on projects and activities assist in embedding the learning and making it real.
There are two ways to talk about my daughter and her learning. Before ipad and after ipad. Before ipad, we had progress but, if we are honest not much…ok next to none; we had difficulty getting her interest and difficulty maintaining any interest. Melt downs happened it was sad. I purchased an iphone, not for my daughter but for me. I was sick of having crappy phones all the time and wanted something nice “for me”. I then discovered some Apps and put some “free” ones on there for Emma to use when we were in the car. I will never forget the day, when driving along I heard Emma trying to make the sound of a letter. We had only been trying to do this for over 3 years and never got so much as a grunt! But here she was trying. Needless to say I almost ran off the road in shock, suprise and pride. We have never looked back. I could go on and on but I think this says it all. It is now in all areas of learning. We still have problems yes, but we having been given, through the ipad, a method to engage my daughter which previously we didn’t have!
iPads and apps tell the children, show the children and involve the children. That is why iPads are becoming the great equalizer for students with special needs and leveling the playing field.