Friday, November 9, 2012

Let's Talk iPads

Thank you Steve Jobs!  I love your products for both personal and professional use!

iPads and Autism
The use of iPads in the autism classroom are endless and incredibly beneficial.  iPads can provide students with a visual schedule, augmentative communication device, choice board, token economy system, and a teaching/learning tool.  iPads provide the opportunity for visual supports and video modeling; an intervention that is very effective for students with Autism. 

Click here for the 60 Minutes special: Apps for Autism

In my current K-1 classroom each student is fortunate to have their own indivdual iPad for the first half of the day (when I am in the building); the second half of the day, two of the iPads go with me to my PK AU classroom.  One student now has her own iPad that is used as an AAC device.  The iPad, paired with the TouchChat app, has proven to be a motivating communication tool for her. 

Another student use the iPad to complete TEACCH tasks, learn newly introduced vocabulary in an ABA format, make choices, and communicate.  The YesNoHD app is wonderful for students in the beginning stages of choice making and communication.  He uses this app to communicate choices, grettings and requests. 

Lately I feel like I have been advocating more than usual for my students.  My preschool position allows me the opportunity to have access to monetary resources that many do not have the luxury to access at the school age level.  In my preschool classroom we have two iPads (1st and 2nd Generation).  The problem I am faced with is that in a year or so my PK classroom will no longer exist.  I have begun to address the necessity of purchasing iPads for the school age Autism Units.  Possibly crossing the line, I commented that each general education classroom has multiple iPads per room; however the special education classrooms have none, unless purchased from a parent.  My comment was that I feel that our students with special needs are be discriminated against, and that they are not being given the same opportunities as our general education students in regards to technology; technology that provides the opportunity to learn and communicate.

So now I fear that I have over-stepped the boundries (did I mention that I stated this to an admin...).  So in order to avoid a professional dilemma, I am on the search for research articles regarding the efficacy of iPads and students with Autism.  If anyone has any research to share it would be greatly appreciated. 

How are you all using the iPads in your special education classrooms?