The iPad and Autism

Ashley Harrell, reporting for SF Weekly:

Though there are other computers designed for children with autism, a growing number of experts say that the iPad is better. It’s cheaper, faster, more versatile, more user-friendly, more portable, more engaging, and infinitely cooler for young people. “I just couldn’t imagine not introducing this to a parent of a child who has autism,” says Tammy Mastropietro, a speech pathologist based outside Boston who uses the technology with numerous clients. She sees it as a game changer for those with autism, particularly those most severely affected.

The iPad wasn’t designed with autistic children in mind, but, anecdotally, the results are seemingly miraculous. My guess is that it has something to do with the lack of indirection — fingers touching screen elements directly, rather than pushing hardware buttons or manipulating an on-screen pointer using a mouse or trackpad.

Friday, 13 August 2010