October 25, 2016

CC BY-ND by Ant McNeill

iPad apps are positively changing how children socialize, learn, and communicate in the classroom.

At Rawlson Road Middle School, in Rock Hill South Carolina, teacher Stacy Hunter’s middle school class learns about positively relating to others – in this case, tolerance of other students’ intolerance with them.  Hunter’s students used their iPads, in a collaborative class project, to create a short video about autism.  By the class project’s completion, students have learned more about themselves, and one student considered the difference that he can make in the world.

Not far behind the growing iPad use in U.S. classrooms is Australia, where forty children will soon be able to use iPads, under a program called, “Autism Kids Communicate” (iPads to be used both for school and home communication).  The iPad use – and thus app use – is possible thanks to a grant of thirty thousand dollars from mainly the Lions Club organizations of Australia.  The money will be given to the Autism Community Network, and through the network, the children will be given the iPads for use.

There are many apps on the market, but certain ones are well-suited – if not specifically designed – for people with autism, to help them socialize, learn, and communicate.  Further information and all apps may be found on the Apple website.  Apps which help children to socialize include Kid In Story, Stories About Me, and Social Stories.  Kid In Story is an app both for literacy and introducing social situations.  The app covers eight topics from basic life-skills to pleasant daydream-type scenarios.  Stories About Me is more advanced, and allows you to create a picture book that also has sound-recording and playback capabilities.  Social Stories, for older children, fosters socialization-understanding by combining visual and auditory elements.

Apps that help people with autism to learn – in particular, math skills – include Friends of Ten, Keynote, and Grafio.  Friends of Ten is for young children, focusing on basic math skills from numbers zero to ten, addition and subtraction.  The app also focuses on counting, selecting, and simply recognizing objects (no counting involved).  The Keynote app is more fanciful and well-suited for older children.  This app is used for presenting mathematical graphs and charts, however, it converts the data into 3D charts.  Grafio is for young adults or adults, creating business diagrams, demonstration models, visual and auditory notes, and drawings.

Communication apps include My Choice Board, Grace, and Proloquo2Go.  My Choice Board is well suited for children, as it assists individuals with limited communication abilities, allowing them to select their communication needs.  Grace is a purely picture-based app which allows the individual to communicate by creating sentences with pictures, on their own time.  Proloquo2Go is a more advanced app with some fifty-thousand voices, which are inherently-expressed, age and character based.

As a concluding note about these apps, particularly Proloquo2Go, please give this app in particular time to work.  In a online Blog, titled iQ by Dr. Melissa Morgenlander, Phd., she discusses her first experiences with her son Quentin and the app, regarding his Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT).  The SEIT eventually used Proloquo2Go to have her son choose after-session snacks.  However, at that earlier time – some years ago, Quentin frequently pressed the home button to return to other apps.  Also, Morgenlander noticed that Quentin’s speech abilities were lessening.  Currently, she has given Proloquo2Go a new try – the Blog to be updated with the results.


Todd GutmannAbout Todd

Todd Gutmann is a freelance writer from Lake Placid, NY with a Professional Writing B.A. from SUNY Cortland and an Automotive Technology A.A.S. from SUNY Canton.  His work has been published in the Lake Placid News and he had a byline for his series on “People Around the Park” a weekly features about local townspeople and their interesting hobbies.  His two main interests  are people and technology.


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