iPad featured in role as an assistive technology

Apple’s iPad has recently received attention for its disability-friendly features.

Disability Scoop recently featured Apple’s iPad, and the increasing mainstream popularity of other mobile devices with potential as assistive technologies, as one of it’s five top disability stories of 2010.

The device, launched in April, contains many applications that have become affordable replacements for machines that previously cost thousands of dollars.

Many of these applications are used to assist individuals with communication limitations. For example, the text-to-speech applications allow individuals to point to pictures and have the iPad speak back. Basic features such as the touch screen have allowed some children to independently do activities for the first time, such as watch videos. Applications have also been made providing tutorials to assist autistic children, such as showing them how to brush their teeth and improve basic communication kills.

“It’s portable and something he can carry, and yet it’s large enough to be accessible,” said Shannon Rosa, an advocate and writer whose nine-year-old son, Leo, has autism and uses an iPad, in a Wall Street Journal article. “There’s no cursor analogy he has to work through; it’s a direct connection.”

In October, Apple also create a “Special Education” section on it’s Apple Store, which includes 72 applications for the iPhone and 13 for the iPad for categories “ranging from communication to emotional development and life skills,” according to an article in Disability Scoop.

Researchers have said that the iPad’s popularity has also reduced some of the stigma associated with many assistive technologies.