Tablet devices help kids with autism speak up

Speech-generating iPads show promise in helping nonverbal children communicate

3:56pm, July 1, 2014

COMPUTER CHAT  When given speech-generating iPads as part of language and play sessions, kids with autism displayed encouraging conversational advances in a new study.

Withdrawn children with autism become surprisingly talkative after using chatty iPads as part of an experimental treatment program focused on play and language skills.

Tablet devices featuring icons that can be tapped to produce vocal comments and requests help bring largely silent kids with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, at least partly out of their shells, say education professor Connie Kasari of UCLA and her colleagues.

For six months, 5- to 8-year-olds with ASD used handheld, speech-generating tablet computers, including iPads adapted for that purpose. Up to three months after completing the treatment program, those children spoke to others more often than did kids given tablets halfway through the six months or not at all. The scientists report the findings in the June Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More Humans & Society articles