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iPads, iPhones and other tech devices are gaining popularity for assisting people on the autism spectrum. There are lots of positives going for technology: people on the spectrum often enjoy using technology, there is some autonomy, it takes the pencil out of the process to demonstrate learning, there are 1000’s of apps to teach a myriad of skills, and their use can be both motivating and rewarding. Nonverbal individuals have another way to express themselves. These tech devices are also becoming more affordable all the time. But is there a down side?
Daniel Donahoo wrote an interesting blog about the iPad and autism for Wired magazine last March that brought up some important points. He stated in his blog, “the potential of the iPad is not achieved by the iPad alone, nor by simply placing it in the hands of a child with autism. The potential of the device is realized by the way professionals like speech pathologists, educators, occupational therapists and early childhood development professionals apply their skills and knowledge to use the iPad to effectively support the development of children. The potential is realized by engaged parents working with those professionals to explore how the device best meets the individual needs of their child.”