By Valle Dwight
At first glance I wasn’t jumping up and down at the iPad, Apple’s new, much-touted electronic tablet. What’s so great about a laptop without the cover, I wondered. But then I realized that it might be perfect for my 13-year-old with Down syndrome.
Aidan does well in school — he’s in seventh grade — but he has his struggles. Reading is not coming easy, and writing is no picnic either. Obviously, these deficits could hamper his ability to live independently and participate fully in the world. As a kid who needs and wants to be at the center of things, he’s not going to settle for the corner.
But as much as he struggles with reading, Aidan’s a wizard with the iPhone. He picked up his uncle’s iPhone one day, and without anyone telling him how to do it, he found and figured out every game app on it (and there were a lot). The touch screen and the apps are intuitive to him in a way that a keyboard is not. My only gripe is that the screen is so small. So now comes the iPad, which is essentially an iPhone on steroids. In this case, steroids are good.
The iPhone has a few apps for people who struggle with reading, including Dragon Dictate, a voice-recognition program. For those who have trouble speaking, Proloquo2 has text-to-speech capabilities, communications symbols, and a vocabulary of more than 7,000 words. It’s been hailed by the autism community as a great piece of assistive technology, and I’m sure others will find it useful too. I know that Proloquo2go is already planning to migrate to the iPad, and I’m guessing most other apps will follow.
Once in Aidan’s hands, other apps could quickly become indispensible: The GPS could help him if he gets lost, he could use Speak it! if he can’t read the text on the screen, and Dictate will help him make lists. And I know he won’t stick with just those — I can imagine him using one of the restaurant apps to find every hot dog stand and pizza joint in a three-mile radius.
With new apps being developed daily, I’m going to be checking in regularly at Ability Net’s page on iPhone apps.
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.