Study reveals that iPads help improve verbal skills of children with ASD

CC BY-ND by Ant McNeill

CC BY-ND by Ant McNeill

Los Angeles – A recent study indicates that iPads help to improve the oral communication skills of children on the spectrum.

Researchers at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behaviour have revealed that use of the device by primary school-aged children improves the efficacy of traditional therapy.

Those conducting the study followed participants for a period of three years using a control group comprised of children who did not have access to iPads in order to compare results.

They found that more than 80% of the primary groups’ participants showed a 25% improvement in verbal communication ability. Conversely, researchers noted that the children who were provided with the iPad following 3 months of stagnant progression did not improve to the same degree as those who had been given one from the outset. Thus, as with all therapies related to ASD, early intervention plays a key role in the overall prognosis of a child who has the disorder.

Researchers warn that the iPad must be used in addition to an established program and should not replace it. Dr. Ruth Milanaik, a New York physician asserts that the iPad is “simply a tool” and that it was “an adjunct” to other treatment.

Further studies are being planned.

The original study was published last month in Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.  Autism Daily Newscast reported on similar findings in a story published in January this year.