iPads Help Children Communicate

When the Parent Association offered iPads to residents at Athena Day School at Plymouth Rehabilitation and Health Care Center  (formerly Radius), the staff and families were skeptical.

“My son was never very aware of his surroundings before; he never reached for things or moved his hands in a purposeful way,” said Cindy Murray, mother of a 20-year-old who lives at the Massachusetts Pediatric Center and attends the school.

“Then I saw how he reacted to it!” The iPad captivates him, Cindy said.

“I’m there every day. I was in tears for the first few months. I could not believe it.  When the teachers even mention the iPad, he anticipates that it is coming and reaches for it.”

The association gave 16 iPad tablet computers to individuals and departments that work with students, according to Linda White, school director.  “All students have responded well to the iPads and the gains they have made are big steps forward in their ability to communicate and interact with others.”

Kim Nickerson, instructor in the adult (over 22) services, said even individuals with highly contracted hands can use the iPad because it can be programmed to adjust to the owner’s touch.  The possibilities seem so limitless, the staff organized a weekly iPad group to share exciting ways to use the tablet.

Unexpectedly, the iPads also help families stay involved with their kids.  Cindy Murray downloads music and stories to share with her son; other parents use Facetime video calling to stay in touch.

Grace Lawson, who headed up the parent association for 20 years, recommended the iPad purchase after seeing a video on how it helped boy with autism. 

For more information about Plymouth RHCC or the Athena Day School visit www.plymouthrhcc.com.