A Cure for Autism? Apple’s iPad has an App for That

by Matt Klassen on October 6, 2010

Well, maybe not a cure, but certainly a valuable tool for the thousands of beleaguered parents, families, and friends struggling to find solutions for people with autism. For many, including me, living with and/or supporting a family member or close friend with autism is an ongoing struggle. Not only are there still limited resources for children with autism, but there are even fewer resources for adults with autism; many of whom continually struggle to successfully integrate themselves into society at large.

Having written innumerable blogs about the latest telecom news, gadgets, or legislation, it’s a rare day when a story comes across my desk that makes me think that modern technology really is changing the world for the better. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered the latest and greatest communication and social integration tool available to people with this prevalent developmental disorder…Apple’s iPad.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no fan of the iPad, as I’ve struggled to see the enduring value of the consumer oriented tablet. Further, I’ve never been an early adopter of the latest and greatest tech gadgets, always favouring the wait-and-see approach. But if there was ever a reason to invest in Apple’s iPad, it’s what it might be able to do for my friend living with autism.

For those that don’t know, autism is a developmental disorder that primarily affects people’s ability to communicate and develop social integration skills. Throughout his/her life a person with autism may never learn how to communicate verbally, a challenge that often results in violent or disruptive behaviours as the person struggles to communicate their thoughts and feelings.

Since the iPad’s unveiling earlier this year, experts on autism immediately jumped at the chance to integrate Apple’s  popular handheld tablet device into homes and classrooms around the world; their goal, give people with autism an effective and affordable communication tool. Not only that, but seeing the educational possibilities, application developers have quickly got on board as well, creating a variety of educational, communication, and social development programs geared specifically for people with autism.

So how does it work? Currently the iPad supports several different types of applications aimed at assisting people with autism, from facial feature recognition apps to pictorial scheduling and routine creation apps and everything in between.

The result? People with autism around the world are discovering the joy of communication and learning social skills that have eluded them for their entire lives, all because of the iPad. Now don’t get me wrong, there are other devices out there designed specifically to assist people with autism communicate, learn, and grow, but considering that they cost thousands—if not tens of thousands—of dollars, they’ve long been out of reach for most families.

So you’ll have to excuse me if I seem a little excited, I’ve finally found a legitimate use for the iPad. Maybe Apple really can change the world for the better.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca >. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com > by: RSS >, Twitter >, Identi.ca >, or Friendfeed >

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Autism Blog - Wired: iPads Are Not a Miracle for Children With Autism « Left Brain/Right Brain
March 30, 2011 at 2:02 am

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Elena October 16, 2011 at 4:52 am

Thanks small little miricles like I pad for a autistic child can make a world of difference thanks for this new usful device. for my grandchild. power of learning

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