Fifteen lucky students with autism at the John B. Dey Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Va. now have the use of an Apple iPad thanks to the Amerigroup Foundation. More and more parents, organizations, teachers and autism professionals are realizing how powerful a tool the iPad can be in the hands of an autistic child. Ever since I posted a list of 20 iPad Apps for Kids With Autism, it has remained one of my most popular posts. There are literally hundreds of apps out there (if not thousands) that can benefit a child with autism and thanks to the Amerigroup Foundation, students at this Virginia elementary school can take advantage of this new high-tech tool.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Amerigroup Foundation today announced that it has donated 15 iPads to the John B. Dey Elementary School in Virginia Beach, Va.
The popular handheld tablets were donated to be used as a teaching aid for children with autism and those who require specialized education services. Special education teachers at John B. Dey Elementary praised the functionality and usability of the device. “We are in awe at how these iPads are impacting our children,” said Lee Catwell, John B. Dey Elementary School principal. “Their faces light up when they work with the iPads. They are enthusiastic, engaged and ready to learn. We’ve never seen anything like this.”
According to special education teachers at the school, the iPad is changing the way they teach. One example is an application that allows students to use their fingers to form the letter of the alphabet, a previously frustrating and laborious task for a child with autism who could not properly grasp a pencil. Educators say the tablet has given these students newfound confidence. In another example, one application is breaking down communication barriers by translating into text what a child speaks.
“It is amazing what a little innovation can do to help facilitate learning for children with disabilities,” said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. “Every child deserves the best education possible, and we are committed to being a part of the solution here in our own backyard.”
Studies are currently underway to gauge the overall impact of the iPad as a teaching tool for children with autism. In the meantime, software developers are creating more applications specifically designed for children who require specialized education services.