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Therapist Introduces iPads as Educational Tool for Children with Special Needs
Date:11/6/2013

St. Louis, MO (PRWEB) November 06, 2013

“I have that app. But I don’t use it all that frequently.”

Listening to St. Louis Children's Hospital patient Emma Allison speak, the only giveaway to her age is the high-pitched voice of a little girl. According to her mom, she’s 8 – going on 18. But the fact that she's swiftly navigating advanced technology is nothing new.

“She’s had keyboarding in her IEP since she was three,” Ona Allison explains.

Emma’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) exists because of limitations that don’t affect her intellect, but, rather, her movement. Emma has cerebral palsy (CP), a life-long condition that impairs the communication between the brain and the muscles, causing a permanent state of uncoordinated movement and posturing. In Emma’s case, the disorder involves both of her legs and one arm. She uses a walker, and requires a great deal of time to write anything by hand.

According to her occupational therapist, Nicole Weckherlin, Emma’s situation is common among children with CP.

“Many times in school, they shorten assignments for these kids. They tell them that if this is hard for you, you don’t have to do all ten spelling words, you can just do five of them. It helps with timing, but these kids then lose out on part of the educational experience.”

For years, Nicole has suggested assistive technology and devices to help children with CP better integrate with the classroom. But that technology poses a number of shortcomings, namely, the equipment can be bulky, and the kids often don’t want to use anything that would set them apart from the rest of the class.

With the advent of tablet devices, though, Nicole saw an opportunity. She began suggesting families purchase iPads about three
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