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

years ago, under the direction of Dr. Jan Brunstrom-Hernandez. She started identifying applications that would help children with certain limitations, apps that would make them more productive, and apps that could help them sharpen their hand-eye coordination. And it didn’t take long for schools to start seeing the benefit.

To date, Nicole has presented to multiple schools on the uses and benefits of the iPad in special education, and frequently corresponds with many more. In December 2011, she began distributing a monthly iPad newsletter, which now boasts an audience of 500 contacts, including patients, parents, teachers, therapists, and health care professionals.

“Now we have kids where we’ve made the recommendation for an iPad, and they’ve actually gone out, used it at school, and come back. We’re getting a lot of feedback that it’s a game changer in school. Kids like Emma are able to keep up with their peers and their lessons and their assignments,” Nicole says.

Emma’s parents agree.

“In the past, if she was really tired, you wouldn’t be able to read her handwriting, so you’d have to erase everything she’s written, and she’d have to redo it or we’d have to write it for her,” Ona says. “I’m not going to follow her to college and scribe all of her notes for her. We want her to do the work and gain the skills to be independent. The iPad is allowing that.”

And kids are willing to use the devices when they’re with their peers.

“She likes doing what everyone else is doing,” Ona says of Emma.

Far different from the larger medical devices, other children are familiar with iPads, and use them as well. Ona works as the director of technology in Emma’s school district, and in the last few years has led an effort to make iPads accessib
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