DAYTON, Ind. (WLFI) - You might not expect to hear that an iPad can help children diagnosed with autism, but Cornerstone Autism Center executive director David Ide said it's a powerful tool.
"An iPad is relatively predictable," Ide said. "There's a pattern to it. There's a comfort about it that doesn't give them surprises so to speak, so they naturally kind of gravitate to it."
For some children diagnosed with autism verbal communication may be difficult, but Ide said iPads help break through that wall.
"The most impactful are those applications specifically developed to break through those deficits of children with autism, so whether that's communication, there are number of applications that have been developed. Even augmentative communication applications like one in particular developed right here at Purdue University," Ide said.
It works by allowing children to click on items or actions they want or need.
Cornerstone Development Director and mother of two children diagnosed with autism Natalee Mace knows the benefits of using iPads to communicate first hand. Mace said within 48 hours of having an iPad her son made a major breakthrough.
"He was able to communicate for the first time his wants and needs on that," Mace said. "I was able to know what he wanted for the first time and it made a big difference in his quality of life and decreased frustrations."
For that reason Cornerstone Autism Center and the Bauer Community Center teamed up to give five iPads to children in the Head Start Program at Dayton Elementary School. Fundraisers held earlier this year allowed Cornerstone to purchase the iPads and with the help of the Bauer Community Center five children with autism will now have the opportunity to use iPads for therapy.
"The true goal, of course, is to assist children who have particular needs that they can be met more specifically and perhaps enhance their growth at a greater pace with the use of the iPad applications," Bauer Community Center Director of Early Care and Education Julia Kolouch said.
"I can't wait to hear of all the success stories of these children that will be able to use the iPad for the first time and put smiles on their faces," Mace said.
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