iPad May Help Communication for Autistic Children

Parents of children suffering from autism are turning to the iPad to help their kids. Experts don’t know what causes autism, but parents of autistic children know too well how hard it is to reach through the disease and communicate with them. Help in making contact has come in an unexpected form: the Apple iPad (s aapl).

Blogger Shannon Rosa handed an iPad won in a raffle to her 9-year old autistic son and was amazed to watch him interact with the device with little training. He immediately became one with the iPad and spent lots of time with educational programs — spelling, counting and other learning tools.

Rosa writes for BlogHer, and immediately wrote about the amazing progress her son has shown since the iPad hit his hands. This touched off an interest in communities of parents with autistic children, and experts are now using the iPad with many such kids.

The situation with Rosa’s child is not unusual, it turns out. Many kids are instantly taking to the iPad, spending lots of time using the tablet to focus on the task at hand. It is hard to get the attention of many autistic children, and parents are impressed with how well their kids can focus while using the iPad.

Rosa’s reaction to the introduction of the iPad to help her son says it best — “I don’t usually dabble in miracle-speak,” she says, “but I may erect a tiny altar to Steve Jobs in the corner of our living room.”

It is wonderful when technology can make a big difference in difficult situations like these parents face every day. It points out that surfing the web on the iPad is not really all that important. That $5 raffle ticket may be the best investment Rosa ever made.

Examples like these put technology into the proper perspective. I asked a deaf friend of mine which technology has impacted her world and without hesitation she told me that text messaging on cell phones has improved her life immensely. She and her husband are deaf, while their children are not, and text messaging has made it possible to communicate with the kids easily, when they are not in the same place. It’s great when technology unexpectedly makes a major impact on folks.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Can Anyone Compete With the iPad?