Random, assorted specification lists can’t prepare for possibilities like this. A family in California is finding that their son with severe autism may be benefiting from interactions with an iPad.
So when Leo took it in his small hands as if it were an old friend, and, with almost no training, whizzed through its apps like a technology virtuoso, his mother gasped in amazement.
Scientific studies are still new but promising.
So far, only one study is looking at the newer iPad. “Touch Technologies in the Classroom” is under way at Beverly Junior Public School in Toronto. Rhonda McEwen, an assistant professor at the iSchool at the University of Toronto who is running the study, introduced iPods and iPads into six classrooms of autistic students at the school in February.
McEwen is still gathering data, but she says the feedback from a initial round of teacher interviews has been largely positive. One teacher said students’ attention spans seemed to be lengthening. Another had tears in her eyes when she explained that she had been working with a boy for two years, unsure of whether he understood language. “With the iPod, for the first time, he was able to demonstrate that he did understand,” McEwen says.