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Could The iPad Be Used To Help Autistics?

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News Posted: Fri, Mar 11 2011 3:29 PM

The iPad is definitely a well-liked gadget, and now parents with autistic children have one more reason to like this handy little tablet: it may help reduce the number of violent meltdowns their children experience each day. According to experts, the iPad actually can reduce the symptoms of the disorder by helping kids deal with life's sensory overload.

The Holmquist family can tell you first-hand what the iPad has done for their autistic 3-year-old son Hudson. After a school therapist suggested the family buy an iPad, the Holmquists decided it was worth a try. Now that the family has been using the iPad for a little while, they'll tell you it is a miracle device.

Hudson was diagnosed with autism in 2010. Before the iPad, he had several violent meltdowns a day. Now, after using the iPad, he has fewer violent meltdowns. According to mother Laura Holmquist, "The iPad has given us our family back." She continued saying, "It's unlocked a new part of our son that we hadn't seen before, and given us insight into the way he connects with his world."

You may be surprised to learn that autism experts aren't surprised by this. In fact, the iPad has been gaining recognition for helping autistic children since it first came out in 2010. Certainly part of the attraction is the number of child-friendly educational apps available. Another key reason why the iPad works so well for autistic children: it lacks a keyboard and mouse. Without these peripherals, there is less distraction for the children.

Given the fact that other tablets have similar functionalities (and lack of peripherals), we have to think other tablets could help autistic children as well. Could it be that we'll see more tablets in schools and other educational environments? Time will tell.

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coolice replied on Sun, Mar 13 2011 5:03 PM

Well... essentially, all tablets should work then.

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Inspector replied on Sun, Mar 13 2011 5:16 PM

Did apple pay the family for advertisement or what? :D

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CMaybin replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 12:45 AM

just fyi the statment about tablets is CORRECT. it is the use of the device, the IPOD touch will work, the ninetendo DS , The actual interaction with the device is great. You need a application for them to use.

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CMaybin replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 12:46 AM

you can even use your phone with the angry bird app's - they eat all that interaction up

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Alexesti replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 3:35 PM

What a big @#$ing load of BS... just give him a video game itll do the same #$@!ing thing... IPAD cures autism... and what else now?

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user97143 replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 3:48 PM

So the ipad did in fact cure Hudson's autism? Odd the author failed to mention that key point. I also wasn't aware that reducing meltdowns was considered a cure to autism...a very dishonest way to get people to read your empty article

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Marystot replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 4:32 PM

Autism is a real problem not only in school but at home too. An environment of love and understanding is paramount for autism management. If Ipads can help, then why not have more. I read breatheagainmagazine and it  was helpful. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

 

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hmm I got a good laugh out of this

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GKerg replied on Mon, Mar 14 2011 7:21 PM

I didn't read the article, but I'll answer the question in the title. No. The ipad is a piece of junk, over-priced, gimmick widget, and this article is proof that Crapple has spent way too much money to hold onto the small market share they have left for their second-best but double priced products. The ipad doesn't help autism. It's just another piece of junk from the Mac crap factory.

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JWhite replied on Tue, Mar 15 2011 12:29 AM

The title of this article is incredibly misleading. Autism is a condition which has no 'cure'; its characteristics can only be ameliorated through appropriate intervention. To suggest that it can be cured with a piece of technology is to offer false hope and there is enough of that promoted by charlatans in the industy.

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realneil replied on Tue, Mar 15 2011 8:46 AM

JWhite:
The title of this article is incredibly misleading.

While the title may be a bit much, I think that if the iPad and other tablets can help with communication, then it's a great tool to use. (anything that works is in order)

Treating Autism is all about communicating with Autistic people on a level that they will, or can, embrace. It's almost like their mind is caught in another dimension that we can't access, while their bodies are here with us. There are few windows between their world and ours.

It's easier to get through to some of them than it is for others. I personally know a little boy who is only happy and secure if he has a bag full of Dominoes to play with. He arranges them in intricate patterns that all add up to the name numbers, no matter how you read them. Take one of them away from the pattern and he goes into a screaming fit and cannot be consoled. Dominoes are his iPad, so to speak.

Any given method may not work with some of them, but it will with others. There are an incredible amount of variables in the degree of affliction and types of treatment too. Working with them demands an incredible amount of patience.

The 1988 movie 'Rain Man' provides a good look into Autism.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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freeenvio replied on Tue, Mar 15 2011 3:52 PM

There is no "cure" for Autism, if i were Jennifer Johnson I would be embarrassed to have my name on such an article. Jennifer weren't you taught simple journalistic rules, in future a little understanding of Autism before launching into this "miracle cure' type article might not go amiss.

Using this kind of technology is great but has a number of drawbacks, not least being that it is reasonably complex technology and as soon as something goes wrong or works slowly due to the internet connection for example or does something unexpected expect it to go flying across the room.

Children are never cured of Autism but with help loads of patience and a keen sense of humour on the part of friends and family they do become more able to cope and less prone to "meltdowns".

See Sheldon from "Big Bang" rather than "Rain Man".

How do I know.... my son is 19 years old and a fully signed up member of the Mac generation .... iBooks, iPods and Garageband are so much part of his life... he is also high functioning autistic!

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realneil replied on Tue, Mar 15 2011 4:31 PM

freeenvio:
See Sheldon from "Big Bang" rather than "Rain Man".

It would be wonderful if my Autistic grandson was as "High Functioning" as Sheldon's TV sitcom character, freeenvio. Sadly, it manifests itself in different ways and intensities with every case and you don't always end up with a "Sheldon".

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Dave_HH replied on Wed, Mar 16 2011 10:48 PM

Folks, I will agree that the title was a bit over the top. I'll take the hit on not catching it at Editor here. I have edited the title to reflect the true message of the article.  While the original title didn't state the topic as fact, but rather posed a question, I agree it was off base to use the word "cure."

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realneil replied on Thu, Mar 17 2011 12:41 PM

Dave_HH:
Folks, I will agree that the title was a bit over the top.

No, It really wasn't. Some folks are just a little hypersensitive to this affliction. It's a hard hitting reality for many of us. (but not the end of the world) So it's a minefield to write about.

I wasn't bitching about the title. And I think that if an iPad or iPod will help with communication, it's a good thing. I went as far as to forward this article to my daughter and she bought an iPad for her nephew, my grandson. (since she can afford it) I sent him a old, but functional laptop a few years ago and he took it apart. Then he put it back together and it still worked.

This write up may end up being a direct help to someone I love.

So,....Thanks Dave.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Mar 17 2011 1:53 PM

RealNeil,

You may recall a few months back that I got yelled at by some folks for a joke I made as being insensitive. I was rather unrepentant. In that case, however, they were misreading an adjective used to convey a larger point as the actual butt of the joke.

This case is rather different. The word "cure," has a specific, unambiguous meaning. More to the point, the autism "market" has been absolutely bombarded for decades with psuedoscientific reports of cures, 'solutions', miracle diets (Jenny McCarthy herself claimed to have 'cured' her son's autism) and a very wide array of other quack treatments.

Parents of autistic children must significantly--in some cases, radically--alter their goals, milestones, expectations, and perceptions of their children. They almost always have to learn new methods of communication or address--again, all of this depends on the child, which makes it even more difficult--there's no single guidebook or development track to follow.

The difficulties often don't end when the child reaches adulthood; they may be unable to lead mostly-normal lives. For such parents, the desire for a cure is overwhelming. It's not just a matter of a misapplied word, it's a desperate desire to give a child, at any age, the ability to fully interact with a world they are, by necessity, unable to fully experience or take part in. (I am not ignoring the high-functioning autistics or kids with Aspergers--but we can't pretend they're the normative spectrum, either).

Learning to accept that there is no cure is extremely difficult. Those who wave that false flag can potentially hurt the parents who haven't yet come to terms with their child's problem and buy into it. It also underlines the need for more education, generally. Star Trek's medicine may be able to cure autism, but we on Earth aren't there yet.

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realneil replied on Thu, Mar 17 2011 2:02 PM

All of this may be so, but I choose to take it easy on you guys,......sue me! Smile

I don't blame you for changing your wording, but I realize you had no intent to baffle and BS the masses either.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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I would like to apologize to anyone I may have offended or hurt with the original title of this article. Thank you Dave, for changing it to better reflect the intentions of the piece. And thank you to those of you who understood my original intentions and voiced your support.

Although the iPad won't fully cure autism, some parents do feel it has helped provide a piece of the cure in the sense that it has helped their children. In that regard, I think it's terrific that technology can play a way in helping children with autism.

My heart goes out to all of those who are affected by autism - directly or indirectly - and I hope someday we can find ways to cure autism or improve the lives of those who have it.

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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Mar 17 2011 8:43 PM

Jennifer, No need to apologize at all. It was my job as Editor to see the nuances. You posed a question, not a fact or claim. I understood completely the message and it's my job at the end of the day to make sure that message is clear. Then again, I guess I have a biased perspective but you rock, so there. :)

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