iPads For Kids With Special Needs: Get Your School Into Them
I recently read that 300 iPads had been doled out to 35 special ed teachers in our school district who had written grants to pilot iPads in their classes. This is the sort of news that makes you do cartwheels (well, mental ones, anyway) because it shows that educators are opening their minds to new technology.
Sadly, this does not seem to be the case in other school districts around the country. Sometimes lack of funding is an issue but sometimes, it’s a matter of closed minds. I know this because I often hear from parents who are considering getting their kids iPads with speech apps; when I ask if the speech therapists in their kids’ school are familiar with the iPad and speech apps, I’m often told “No.”
Our family lucked out: The speech department at my son’s school was all over the iPad and speech apps as soon as they came out. Within weeks, Max was trialing an iPad and the Proloquo2Go speech app—and suddenly, his world opened up.
More schools should be figuring out ways to get iPads into students hands. If there are none in your school, or therapists don’t know about them, encourage them to learn more about the iPad’s communication potential. Here’s a great recent article from USA Today on how the iPad has become education’s “equalizer.” It also helps to see kids in action; there are videos all over YouTube of children with special needs using iPads for communicating, including the first time my son tried the iPad and Proloquo2Go in our home.
Some schools are raising money for iPads through a combination of fundraising, community contributions and school board contributions.
You can also encourage educators and therapists to:
• Post a request on DonorsChoose.org, an online charity site that connects people who have money to give with classrooms in need of funding.
If a school seems resistant to iPads, you might consider roping in a special needs advocate for guidance; find one in your area at Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates.
As parents of kids with special needs, we’re used to “suggesting” (or, as the case may be, pushing for) changes that will benefit our children and improve their lives. iPads with speech apps are worth pushing for.
From my other blog:
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Tags: Augmentative communication for kids with special needs, health, iPads for kids with autism, iPads for kids with cerebral palsy, iPads for kids with special needs | Categories: Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Children With Special Needs, Disability, Down Syndrome, Must Read, SPD, Special Needs, Special Needs Parenting, To The Max