For too long, children with special needs lacked access to most technology, due to a high cost or a lack of disability–friendly features. But with the iPad bridging the gap, special needs children can now reap the benefits of affordable, educational apps, alongside their peers.
If you are thinking about an iPad for the special needs child in your life, here are 5 benefits to consider:
1. Built-in Accessibility Tools
iPad includes numerous built-in modifications, making it easier for children with a variety of physical needs to reap the benefits a tablet has to offer. Features include VoiceOver, which reads the screen out loud, Zoom, which magnifies the screen’s content, and Assistive Touch which allows you to adapt the touch screen prompts to the user’s unique physical needs.
2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Special Needs Apps
While there are over 20,000 educational iPad apps, and an entire Special Education app section, the good news is that special needs children don’t have to be limited to just special needs or therapeutic apps. They can benefit from essentially any iPad app designed for their mainstream peers. To keep learning fun for a special needs child, start with educational apps based on TV characters or activities they find entertaining.
3. Can Increase Communication
Before the iPad, touch-to-speak technology was financially out of reach for many people who needed it. Now, with included apps, and affordable upgraded communication apps, children with special needs have the tools to clearly express their feelings and desires to people who can solve those needs. If a child is unable to use their voice, they can use their iPad to communicate their feelings, such as hunger, and can customize apps with images that show the common needs and desires in their daily life. As a result, children and their caregivers experience less frustration while communicating throughout the day.
4. Simple to Use
For children who lack motor skills, manipulating between a keyboard, mouse, and screen can be very difficult and overwhelming. But the touch screen and all-in-one components of an iPad make it easier for special needs kids to not only use, but master the process. And while desktop computers pose numerous challenges for people with limited mobility, the iPad’s function is not compromised when used in a variety of physical positions.
5. Shared experiences with mainstream peers
It is not uncommon for children with disabilities to feel behind or left out, but the good news is that the iPad can level the playing field. Sporting the latest technology alongside their peers, helps children with special needs to feel like part of the in-crowd. And buffered with a level of privacy formerly unheard of in a classroom environment, an iPad enables special needs children to still work and advance at their own pace.
Things to keep an eye on
As the special needs child in your life experiences success with their iPad, they may be tempted to use their iPad as a crutch, using it to communicate with you in ways that they have already mastered. Keep striving to maintain a balance between the benefits of an iPad and the power of experiencing life in those personal, hands-on ways.
If you think this article can help someone you know, forward this to them!