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Autism, Asperger Syndrome and Apple
Autism & Asperger Syndrome For The Uninitiated
Autism is a lifelong disability that affects the development of the individual in a number of ways but in particular it affects how a person communicates with other people and relates to them.
Autism also affects how sufferers view and make sense of the world in which they live. The condition affects people in different ways but there are certain difficulties that all sufferers tend to share.
Although in some cases the Autistic individual is able to live a reasonably normal and independent life there are many for whom that is not possible. Many Autistic individuals have serious learning difficulties and require specialist support for the whole of their lives.
It should be noted that those with Autism often have significant variation in their sensitivity to touch, taste, smell, light and colour.
Asperger Syndrome is a related condition to Autism and can often affect people with a higher than average intelligence. People with Asperger Syndrome find it difficult to interpret the unspoken communication that most of us engage in. Facial expressions which, to a non Asperger Syndrome sufferer, would tell us a lot about the mood and disposition of the bearer mean nothing to an Asperger sufferer.
Asperger syndrome is, for the most part, a hidden disability. In other words, you can't tell from their outward appearance that someone has the condition. People with Asperger syndrome often have difficulties in the areas of social communication, social interaction and social imagination. However, people with Asperger syndrome tend to have fewer problems with speaking and communication and are often of above average intelligence.
Asperger Syndrome sufferers do not usually have the characteristic learning disabilities that are associated with autism, but they may still have other learning difficulties specific to the individual. Such difficulties could include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.
Given the right level of support and encouragement, many people diagnosed with Asperger syndrome go on and lead full and independent lives.
Enter The Apple
There can be few who have not noticed the difference made to the lives of those who have acquired one of Apple’s iconic tablet computers, the iPad.
Wafer thin, lightweight, (fairly), and boasting ultra clear screens and powerful processors the iPad brought about a revolution in the way that computers were designed, built and sold. However, it was none of the above qualities that gave it the tremendous edge that it has over its competitors – although they are catching up fast!
The overwhelming, transformational quality of the Apple iPad was “touch”. You don’t use a keyboard or mouse with an iPad, (although you can if you really want to), instead you touch it and it obeys!
How then is it appropriate to say that Apple has become instrumental as a learning tool for those suffering from autism and Asperger Syndrome?
The use of the apple iPad in Special Education classes has increased significantly because the iPad as an educational aid is very effective with special needs students, particularly those with autism. The iPad is well established as an education tool with children of all ages and abilities as they are motivating and engaging, due to their tactile and visual qualities.
Special needs students seem to respond to tactile feedback as well as to learning experiences that also feature sound.
Teachers who have used iPad’s in this situation report of noticeable improvements to the subject’s performance and behaviour which seem to be due to the relationship the user has with the iPad and its ability to deliver audio and visual information in an intimate and personal way.
Here are numerous reports of Autistic students improving beyond recognition when given an iPad. The same improvements were also noted when the device was given to students with health impairments and other students with intellectual disabilities
The iPad, Autism and Asperger Syndrome.
According to a recent study carried out by Concordia University, the Apple iPad can be thought of as an excellent classroom tool due to the amazing range of inexpensive downloadable apps that are available for the special education teacher.
From classroom management tools for the teacher through to apps that help students with motor skills, it is the apps that make the iPad invaluable and indispensable. Most of these apps are either free or, at the least, very inexpensive.
Although Apple equipment and iPad’s in particular, are considered to be expensive when compared to other manufacturer’s offerings, they are relatively cheap when compared to the price of other educational tools used to teach those with special needs.
iPads have been observed as improving students’ critical thinking skills and theiPad encourages students to learn about technology and devise new ways to make use of it.
Apples iPad technology is indeed a useful way to make teachers and students more intuitive as they both find new ways to use the iPad.