"It's interesting to note that new touch-screen products are being released that are similar to consumer tablets like the iPad."
Apple's engineers may not have foreseen it when they first developed the product, but the iPad is being used as a communications tool for children with speech and communication problems.
An article that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 13, 2010, reported that children with special needs are learning and communicating with software programs like Proloquo2Go developed by a company called AssistiveWare BV. It is only one of many apps for Apple's gadgets designed to help people with speech difficulties.
In some instances, these apps use images that users press to make the sound of a word.
Other apps use stories to teach basic speech patterns.
And in many cases, children who had little or no communication prior to using an iPad are now responding, asking questions and demonstrating their ability to understand.
The problem, of course, is that these gadgets and their applications are expensive.
With little potential for economies of scale in this marketplace, users are faced with high price tags.
The article stated that "specialized speech devices from companies like DynaVox Inc. and Prentke Romich Co. range from about $2,500 on the low end to $15,000 for a device that uses the eye movements of people who are paralyzed to allow them to select words on a screen." The price also includes service and software.
It's interesting to note that new touch-screen products are being released that are similar to consumer tablets like the iPad. And while some of these speech programs are available on traditional computers, the tablets provide portability and accessibility that are especially useful for kids with special needs.
Reprinted with permission - www.scioto.com
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