Thursday, 10 July 2014

Ipad learning for special needs - Autism #iPadLearningZA

With the most recent iPad Learning for Special Needs workshop, Elschen Kluge, an iPad Facilitator at Think Ahead, demonstrated three apps to use in the classroom with regards autistic learners.

Most recently I came across the YouTube videos of Carly Fleischmann, an autistic non-verbal girl whom they thought was severely mentally disabled, but she started to communicate through her computer.

It made me realise just how much innate intelligence can be unlocked through the use of apps like the following on the iPad.


Not one autistic learner is the same, but it is a neurological disorder which impacts the learner with regards communication and learning, to name but two of the learning difficulties.

The communication apps are therefore essential to establish basic communication in the learning environment.

Verbal Me
This easy-to-use AAC and choice board app was designed by special needs teachers to help nonverbal kids participate in class. Users tap a button and the iOS device speaks the button text aloud in either a boy's or girl's voice. Screen choices include yes/no, alphabet, numbers, skip counting, opposites, bullying, getting dressed, using the bathroom, seasons, emotions, BINGO, sight words, body parts, animals.

Tap on the pictures to hear the word being spoken
(Screen print)

Type your own message which is spoken by the iOS device
 in a pre-selected boy's or girl's voice

The alphabet is spoken when tapped

Tap to talk

Screen print of selections on Tap to talk

The portable, customizable communication app AAC for autism, Down syndrome, apraxia, cerebral palsy, aphasia, any non-verbal condition. All languages, all ages

Social Stories

An amazing app for easily creating and sharing educational social stories, visual schedules and beautiful memories. This is a very valuable tool for any teacher, SLP, OT, direct care staff or parent! Children with special needs often need more direct instruction of social skills. Teaching social skills to any child may be easier and less stressful when visual supports, like social stories are used. The social stories found in this app explain accurate social information and ensures that your child will know what to expect in different situations. 

Social Stories (screen print)

Social behaviour and how to is a big issue with regards autism. Learners are taught how to behave, for example sharing is not something an autistic child is keen to do. They also cannot cope with change in their routines. If there is a change, there is usually outbursts of anger and emotions.

Social Stories can be used for own children when they are struggling with something, not only autistic children.

Some of the Social Stories to choose from
(screen print)

More suggestions with regards autism:

  • The teacher or parent can make their own specific book in Book Creator.
  • Visual scheduling of different activities or daily events helps the learners who struggle with internal organizational skills. Pages on the iPad can also be used to create an interactive schedule, add pictures and text.
  • Popplet - handy for planning out the day.
  • Hundreds of AAC apps on the iTunes store.

Related posts:

- iPad learning for special needs #iPadLearningZA

- iPad in Education at Sacred Heart College #iPadLearningZA

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