The Use of iPad® Devices and “Apps” for ASD Students in Special Education and Speech Therapy

The Use of iPad® Devices and “Apps” for ASD Students in Special Education and Speech Therapy

Johnny R. O'Connor Jr. (Lamar University, USA) and Keonta N. Jackson (Texas A&M University – Commerce, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0816-8.ch014
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Abstract

This chapter presents an examination of the various uses of iPads and applications (“apps”) for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in special education and speech therapy settings. Although many individuals view these technologies as less academic and as more entertainment or “busy tasks,” if appropriately vetted, and with proper training, they can serve a significant purpose in the lives of individuals with ASD. Using this technology in educational and therapeutic environments can further extend the often static approach to education and therapy treatments to a more fluid and flexible approach meeting the varied and individualized needs of students with ASD.
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Background

Although many may view technology as less academic or therapeutic and as more of a source for entertainment or as “busy work,” researchers have found that the use of emerging technologies, as well as related app software, show promise for the developmental progress of students with ASD (Ploog, Scarf, Nelson, & Brooks, 2012). Emerging technologies include iPads and other tablet devices that are considered more portable and convenient than computers. Tablet apps include software that accompany iPads and allow access to gaming and the completion of communicative and instructional tasks. If properly vetted and implemented, this technology can be used as an alternative to the more traditional approach to intervention, providing a flexible way of meeting the varied needs of students with ASD. The importance of this will become more evident as the use of technology with this population continues to steadily increase (Odom et al., 2015). This chapter will explore the various uses of technology and apps for students with ASD in special education and speech therapy settings. Although both settings are unique, many of the practices as they relate to the implementation of innovative technologies share basic concepts.

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