Are iPads and tablets helpful for children with autism?
iPads and tablets can be a source of unnecessary guilt for many parents. Lots of children with autism use these devices a lot and may have a lot of screen time, which can sometimes be frowned upon by those who think that they know better. But should you feel guilty about your child being attached to their device? Absolutely not. Aside from our favourite motto ‘whatever works’, iPads and tablets can be incredibly helpful and a great source of comfort to children with autism. The touchscreen makes them easily accessible and the fact that they are compact means that you can take them wherever you go.
Here are some reasons why tablets and iPads are helpful for children with Autism.
They can be a great learning tool
There are so many ways that children have access to learning online using applications. A tablet may be a great option for a child who learns well from computer-based educational resources, these can be used to help hand/eye coordination, speech, mathematics, colour matching and even pincer and fine motor skills – to name just a few things! Your child might find it easier using a device to independently learn in their own time and in their own comfort and apps can help break down learning into topics.
They can aid communication
iPads and tablets have been life-changing for many autistic children and can aid with communications, especially for children who use AAC devices to communicate. There are various speech and language applications recommended by professionals that can help children to communicate. Applications can use symbols and photographs to aid speech if your child struggles with verbal communication. They can literally open your child’s world by providing them with a voice and helping them to feel less frustrated and more understood.
If you think that this might benefit your child and they don’t already have access to one of them, you should speak to their nursery/school or speech and language therapist to find out what would best suit your child’s needs.
They can provide your child with a choice
Some autistic children struggle to use the television and remote controls but can operate YouTube like a pro. Having access to this, with supervision, can help them to choose what they would like to watch and when they want to watch it.
Devices can show you what your child likes and dislikes, which can be invaluable.
They are portable.
You can pick up a tablet or iPad and take it anywhere, which makes it an invaluable reliable tool for children with autism. Within seconds, your child can have access to applications that make their life easier whether they are out and about, at home or at school. This familiarity can be comforting and help them to adjust to being in different settings.
Whilst we feel that these devices are fantastic at helping autistic children, we always recommend adult supervision and monitoring to keep your child safe.