Benefits of iPad for Autism Spectrum Disorder


My family was introduced to the iPad about a year ago by my son’s speech therapist.  At that time she talked to us about how research indicated that the iPad was beneficial for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  She also explained that numerous developers were creating iPad apps specifically designed for the needs of individuals with ASD.  During my son’s speech session, she demonstrated how effective this tool was by testing out a few apps on him.

First Time Experience?  A Success!

My son already had an affinity for electronic devices so it was no surprise how well he took to the iPad.  However, it was a surprise to see him answer so many questions correctly his first time using the device.  Especially, since he had previously had so much trouble answering the same rudimentary questions when interacting with humans.



The first app that she showed him required him to assign color attributes to various items.  He zipped through the app with profound accuracy and speed.  The prior week when he was in his sensory therapy session the occupational therapist repeatedly asked him to name the color of the mats as he jumped on them.  She had to ask about three or four times to get him to respond.  However, he was correctly identifying and labeling colors the first time he used this app without any prompting or assistance from anyone.  We were sold from that moment!

Great For Tactile-Kinesthetic Learners

Soon after we purchased him an iPad.  Since then we have realized the many benefits of this device firsthand.  Our son is a tactile-kinesthetic learner so the touch screen functionality of this device is a true blessing.  The ability to tap the screen makes it easier for him to use the iPad.  The interactive nature of the apps attracts and holds his attention, which helps to improve his ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.



Flashcard Apps Are Engaging

Some of flashcard apps that we us help to build his vocabulary at a much faster rate than traditional flashcards.  He often goes through the flashcards on his own throughout the day because he likes to play the various games associated with the vocabulary lessons.  He is now mastering about 25-30 new vocabulary words per week; whereas he was only mastering about 10 a week when we used manual cards.  This is probably because he was not too fond of the process so he never took the initiative to review on his own.



There’s An App For That:  Speech, Vocabulary, Social Skills

The device has also helped to enhance his speech as he learns to enunciate more accurately through the use of vocabulary, assistive communication, and other speech-related apps.  I have also noticed that his interests are expanding as he uses more apps for puzzles, categorizing, handwriting, visual perception, and social skills.  These are things that he took little to no interest in before using the iPad.  Now, he readily engages with them without being prompted to do so.



Undoubtedly, the iPad has so many wonderful uses for learners with ASD and other special needs.  It is a phenomenal learning tool that is only slated to get better as more app designers take advantage its streamlined functionality.  I look forward to seeing others ways in which the iPad and similar devices will enhance the lives of individuals on the spectrum.

A huge thanks goes out to guest writer, Teri T., for sharing her experiences with the iPad!  Teri is a homeschool mom of two kids on the spectrum, and daily iPad user.  

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  1. […] This parent was introduced to the iPad by her autistic son’s speech therapist who indicated that the iPad is beneficial for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her therapist was so right!  […]

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Who’s Behind Autism Plugged In?

Who’s Behind Autism Plugged In?

My name is Jack Kieffer and I'm a blogger sharing my love of technology at blogs like Cool Gizmo Toys, Greenamajigger, and here at Autism Plugged In where I'm trying to make a difference in the lives of children with autism.

Several years ago, I began volunteering with special needs kids, who gave me much joy and an appreciation for life. This blog is my way of giving back. Any proceeds from this effort are used to support my friends with autism. Read more about Jack or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.