Katy’s Taking Her iPad to School

October 4, 2010

Last Monday, I attended a training session with the Parkway Special School District on using the iPad and the augmentative communication application Proloquo2go. Katy’s speech therapist and her student aid attended, as well. Together, we formulated a plan to start introducing Katy’s iPad into her school day.

Now, anyone who has ever seen Katy with her beloved iPad can understand why I’m both immensely excited by this prospect and also a little apprehensive – well make that nervous – for her teachers. You see, Katy knows how to use her iPad and she does what she wants to do when she’s got it. So, after I go in and program all the restrictions in during the day so she can’t use her videos and her music and the like, I have to wonder how she’s going to react. She may just throw the thing down for all I know.

I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to customize her main screen to give her immediate access to the things she needs to communicate with her teachers throughout the day. And I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to get anything else that just might confuse her right now off the screen. Now, it’s up to her.

Now, I’m sure there are some Apple haters out there that will argue against the iPad and against Apples in general. Do it all you want. I just don’t care. The fact is this is a piece of technology with unbelievable potential for my little girl. But more than that, it’s thousands of dollars cheaper than most full-fledged communication devices. And even more than that, and maybe most importantly, it’s cool. How may times have special needs kids been able to say that about one of their pieces of equipment? I don’t know if Apple knows what they’ve stumbled upon here with both the iPod Touch and the iPad. These products, combined with the skill and creativity of the programmers stocking the App Store, have opened doors for special needs kids in ways that none of us could have imagined just a little bit ago.

And meetings like the one I attended at Parkway last week are a perfect example of that.

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