Wednesday, May 11, 2011

iPads help kids with disabilities to learn

MILFORD, Pa. — Gabe wasn't speaking until he started using an iPad, says Ann Gillerlane, director of the Center for Developmental Disabilities.

Three-year-old Gabe (the center asked not to use his last name) has been diagnosed with Williams syndrome, a rare neurodevelopmental disorder caused by an abnormality in chromosomes, according to the Williams Syndrome Foundation. This slows Gabe's development.

Before the iPad, Gabe wasn't talking. He couldn't communicate. He and his parents, were frustrated. But when one of the staff at the center started working with Gabe on her iPad, his interest was sparked.

Then one day at the center, Gabe said "Hee Haw," and pointed to a picture of a donkey on the iPad. Since then his language skills have been improving.

Gillerlane was amazed. "I'm not the type of person to go out and buy the latest technology," Gillerlane said. "But when I saw how Gabe was responding, I knew we had to have iPads."

Apple introduced the iPad in March 2010; an unforeseen benefit has been the way people with disabilities have used the table computer to overcome communication difficulties and learn new skills.

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