Angela Bagby’s students in the autism classroom at Marshall Elementary School can’t verbalize the answers to a spelling test or hold a pencil for more than a few minutes at a time because of sensory issues. But they can sure operate an iPad.

The use of tablet computers is constantly expanding the boundaries and communication abilities of these dozen mostly nonverbal children with profound behavioral issues. But without grants, Bagby wouldn’t have six iPads in her classroom.

“It’s like their brains are wired for the technology more than they are for social interactions,” said Bagby, a veteran special education teacher. “I go with the philosophy that whatever I’m doing is getting in there. The more access they have to try different ways to communicate or have different ways to understand information, the better. My kids have come farther than they had in probably two years.”

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