iPad: A therapeutic marvel

From the NY Times
Published: October 29, 2010

OWEN CAIN depends on a respirator and struggles to make even the slightest movements — he has had a debilitating motor-neuron disease since infancy.

Owen, 7, does not have the strength to maneuver a computer mouse, but when a nurse propped her boyfriend’s iPad within reach in June, he did something his mother had never seen before.

He aimed his left pointer finger at an icon on the screen, touched it — just barely — and opened the application Gravitarium, which plays music as users create landscapes of stars on the screen. Over the years, Owen’s parents had tried several computerized communications contraptions to give him an escape from his disability, but the iPad was the first that worked on the first try.

Click here to read the whole story (NB: non-person first language used in this article such as quadriplegic and autistic)


3 thoughts on “iPad: A therapeutic marvel

  1. It is amazing to me to see how much technology has evoloved. Being an Occupational Therapy Student has opened my eyes to many forms of technology that I wouldn't think of. The apps on the iphone and ipad are awesome, but to see one that allows a child to interact is amazing. I have seen a device for one man who had MS, where everything in his room was operated by a touch screen device (doors open, shades down, tv on). it was fascinating to me that this piece of technology was enabling him to be as independant as possible. It would be great if the Apple company could collaborate more with the health industry to make apps to enable independance and further their use for therapy.

  2. I love the fact that technology is out there, especially to help the disabled. As an OT student at Utica College, I often have mixed feelings regarding technology. Often I think technology is abused and actually leads to bigger problems. For instance, I know that many children with autism use a communication device for language. This turns me off because in therapy these children will be working on communication skills, but continue using their assistive device, not allowing them to generalize what they have learned in real life situations. Communication involves, eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and the language itself. Using simply technology takes away a lot of that personal one-on-one time and experiences. I think to make technology devices successful, they need to be individualized to each person, and be able to be adapted especially for a person that begins to improve. These people should attempt to move away from their devices. Some people have disabilities that are progressive, and these are the people who can benefit from technology. I just feel often that technology is used as an “easy way out.” What are your feelings on communication devices for children that may have the potential to increase their skills?

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