Since the introduction of the iPad in 2010, one positive effect of the Apple tablet’s ubiquity is that it’s become an important tool as an assistive technology for kids with disabilities.
That notion was part of the reason behind a recent meetup for parents by the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas. The App Day was a way for parents of kids with Down syndrome under six to learn about iOS app
s for iPhones or iPads that can benefit them.
12 families participated and the event facilitator, Kristin Steen, said the iPad has been “A great tool and a great equalizer. It’s not a weird device that only kids with special needs use. It’s a toy that all kids like.”
According to the DSACT, many children with Down syndrome are strong visual learners, but are delayed in expressive communication and fine motor skills. Many apps can teach them to learn in non-verbal ways and to work on speech, language and motor skills.
Steen spent about nine months developing her own app called “Flashcards by Me.” She said her own son was only a few months old when the first iPad debuted and she was eventually inspired to make an app for parents to customize digital flash cards with their own pictures. Steen’s son is now 5 years old and starting to learn sight words, she said.
“Flashcards by Me” was one of about 20 apps shown off at the App Day event in areas including labeling and concepts, letter tracing, math and numbers, and speech. 50 promo codes for apps from a variety of publishers were distributed as well.
The organization is hoping to create similar events for other age groups.
Here’s the list of the apps featured at the App Day:
Speech, vocabulary, and language skills: “Sound Touch,” “Special Words,” “Speech with Milo: Verbs,” “Articulation Station.”
Labeling/concepts: Kinderarten.com apps such as “ABA Receptive Identification by Class.”
Alphabet, reading and spelling skills: “Elmo Loves ABCs,” “First Word Animals,” “Words that Go,” “Teddy’s Day,” “The Monster at the End of this Book,” “Endless ABCs,” “First Phrases,” “Phonics Fun on the Farm.”
Math and number skills: “Toddler Counting,” “Alien Buddies,” “Motion Math: Hungry Fish.”
Letter tracing: “iWriteWords.”
Working memory: “Animal Memory Match.”
Emotions: “Avokiddo Emotions,” “Nighty Night!,” “Feel Electric!”