Exploring the use of iPads and mobile devices in education.
IPADS are great educational tools to use when working with children with autism. This is especially true for those children who are not yet using verbal language as their main source of communication. There are several applications that can be found on the IPAD. For example; the Tap Speak application allows the teacher or parent to create a menu for the child to choose from in order to communicate. In my current preschool classroom, we use the IPAD for circle time. The children use the Tap Speak application to greet their peers. They first select a picture of one of their peers from a basket, they must match the picture to their peer's face and walk over to say "hello." If the child is non-verbal, I will have the IPAD ready with the "Hello" symbol ready on the IPAD and the child will press this and the IPAD will simulate a voice that clearly states: "Hello." A simple activity such as this helps all of the children participate in the morning greeting. Another application that is helpful is the morning weather activity which all of the children love to use. The IPAD is loaded with pictures of suns, clouds, rain, snow, wind, cold, hot, warm, and chilly. The children simply touch the picture they think best represents the weather and the IPAD will again simulate a voice that states the weather aloud.
Another great way to use the IPAD for children with autism is to create your very own social stories. The IPAD is equipped with a camera ( in most cases) and the teacher and/or parent can take pictures of the child engaging in the desired activity as well as type in the words they would like to use for the story. The IPAD will also simulate a voice to read the social story aloud for the child.
*One other fun fact to know is that you can record your own voice or the actual voice of the child on the IPAD!! The children are fascinated with this and it really helps motivate them to pay attention to the activity!