How iPads can support learning for students with autism



“Some kids struggled enormously with concentration [but] had no issue sitting with the iPad,” she said. “They were incredibly motivated and eager.”

While acknowledging the financial challenges of using iPads, Barley said her students told their parents how excited they were to use the devices for instruction, and every parent wound up purchasing an iPad for home use.

Some apps have free and paid versions, and functionality and student needs likely will determine which versions are best, Barley said.

Some of Barley’s favorite English/language arts apps for teaching students with autism include:

Kindle
iBooks
Cliffs Notes Study Guides
Shakespeare in Bits 
The Poetry App
XComics 
National Geographic
PortaPoet
Keynote
Sights Words Pro
Spellboard 
Puppet Pals 
Play Time Theater
TED 
Aurasma 
PodCast Box
Montessorium Intro to Letters

When it comes to math apps, Barley advised looking for apps that advance users to new levels or units and do more than just one thing, in order to maintain engagement and keep students interested. Some of her favorite math apps include:

100s Board
Make Shapes
Montessori 100 Board
Five Little Monkey
Elevated Math
Montessorium Intro to Numbers
Math Magic
Jungle Time
Jungle Coins
Jungle Fractions
Approach to Montessori
Slice It
Numbers League
Fractions Calculator
Motion Maths
MathBoard
Skillbuilder Numeracy

“As students achieve more success, their confidence grows, and as their confidence grows, they are much more willing to attempt new challenges,” Barley said, noting that many of her students with autism become much more socially interactive once they started using various apps and sharing tips and successes.

“I really believe we need to focus on what these children can do, rather than what they can’t do,” she said.

See also:

How tablets are changing assistive technology

Video games help teach students with autism

3D technology helps autistic kids learn to read

Laura Ascione

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