ipads friendly and helpful to people with disabilities!

To read from Source click here: Mashable.com

4 Ways iPads Are Changing the Lives of People With Disabilities

Noah Rahman has moderate Cerebral Palsy affecting his communication, cognition and upper and lower body movement. When he turned two, his language, cognitive abilitity and fine motor skills were diagnosed by a developmental specialist as being at least 12 months behind. Then Noah got an iPad.

Four months later, his language and cognition were on par with his age level. His fine motor skills had made significant leaps.

Today, the three-year-old (pictured at right with his father) spends an hour or two on his iPad each day. He switches his apps between reading and writing in English, Arabic and Spanish. In the fall, he’ll enter a classroom of five-year-olds. “The iPad unlocked his motivation and his desire because it’s fun,” says his dad Sami Rahman, co-founder of SNApps4Kids, a community of parents, therapists and educators sharing their experiences using the iPad, iPod touch, iPhone and Android to help children with special needs.

SNApps4Kids taps into a burgeoning trend for people with disabilities. Touch devices — most notably the iPad — are revolutionizing the lives of children, adults and seniors with special needs. Rahman estimates some 40,000 apps have been developed for this demographic.

“Touch has made it exceptionally accessible — everyone has an iPad, everyone has an iPod,” says Michelle Diament, cofounder of Disability Scoop, a source for news relating to developmental disabilities. “If you’re someone with a disability, having something that other people are using makes you feel like part of the in-crowd.”

For people lacking motor skills, touch screens are more intuitive devices. There is no mouse, keyboard or pen intercepting their communication with the screen. Larger platforms, like iPads, are preferred over smaller iOSand Android devices for ease-of-use and, of course, the cool factor.

Here are four ways that touch devices are changing the lives of people with disabilities:

1. As a Communicator

Before the iPad and other similar devices, using touch-to-speak technology was incredibly expensive, costing around $8,000. Now, it only costs $499 for an iPad and $189.99 for a thorough touch-to-speak app likeProloquo2Go.

That relative affordability has made the technology more available for children and adults that can’t use their voice. With the simple touch of an iPad, a hungry non-verbal person can communicate exactly what he or she would like to eat. Those apps can then be customized with photos or features to suit an individual’s life and needs.

Another option is Assistive Chat, which predicts several sentence completion options. For the most severely disabled people, Yes|No is a simple app that allows individuals to voice their preference in yes-or-no responses.

“It gives dignity back to people who are more disabled,” says Vicki Windham, a special education teacher in the Clarkstown Central School District who trains people of all ages to make the most of their iPads. Windhamreviews apps for people with a variety of special needs.

For hard-of-hearing iPad users, soundAmp R amplifies sound in a variety of situations. Users can also record lectures or presentations they want to listen to again later.

2. As a Therapeutic Device

SNApps4Kids co-founder Cristen Reat’s son Vincent was born with Down syndrome, which can also lead to low-muscle mass. While he can walk, Reat describes his son as a Buddha that prefers to sit still most of the time. Throughout his life, Vincent’s therapists and parents have tried to help him be more active. It was not until his physical therapist placed an iPad on a treadmill that Vincent was motivated to walk. He now stays on for nine and a half minutes, interacting with his iPad while he’s in motion.

In addition to increasing his gross motor ability to walk, Vincent’s iPad has helped his fine motor skills. For Vincent, computers and older technology required visual shifting — between a mouse or keyboard and the screen. On an iPad, Vincent can watch as one of his fingers writes directly on the screen to make selections.

Similarly, Noah Rahman has shown motor improvement. After playing the Elmo Loves ABCs app on his iPad, he can write the entire alphabet, requiring sophisticated finger isolation. As a three-year-old, this puts him well above his grade level. “First it was ‘do it for me,’ then it was ‘do it with me,’ now he does it by himself,” says Noah’s father.

3. As an Educational Tool

Years ago, one of Jeremy Brown’s autistic elementary school students picked up his iPhone off his desk and began navigating the iOS with ease. “It’s like a fish to water,” says Brown, a teacher for autistic elementary school students, of his students’ interactions with touch technology.

Brown is immersed in online discussions of technology and special education, moderating the Facebook groupiTeach Special Education, collaborating on the podcast EdCeptional and coauthoring the blog Teaching All Students. While use of the iPad in classrooms is not yet approved in his school district, he believes the iPad is a great supplemental method of instruction, estimating 80% to 90% of his students with autism see great results when using iOS devices. Brown hopes his school district and others across the country will approve iPads in the classroom.

While no one advocates replacing traditional instruction, a number of apps do address academic subjects from math to language to reading and writing. In October 2010, Apple even featured an “Apps for Special Education” section in the App Store.

Brown encourages parents to separate their children’s recreational uses of the iPad from those in the classroom. Some students may watch YouTube videos on the school bus but while they’re at school they know Mr. Brown’s iPads are only for education.

4. As a Behavior Monitor

Behavior Tracker Pro is a popular app for parents, therapists and teachers to quantify the behavioral progress of children with special needs. In addition to taking notes, good and bad behaviors can be video recorded and later reviewed. The app automatically turns that input into visual graphs and charts.

High school teacher Vicki Windman notes that the iPad can also be a great way to strengthen and reinforce memory for seniors with Alzheimer’s or memory loss. Still, she warns that touch technology is not a miracle drug: “You’re not curing Alzheimer’s. Parents challenge me all the time — they want a cure. It’s no cure.”

That doesn’t mean it can’t help. Apps like Medication Reminder tell users when it’s time to take medication.Memory Practice, a memory strengthening app, was created for the developer’s mother shortly after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Windman’s father uses an app called Nudge, which gives him a persistent reminder every fifteen minutes to accomplish lapsed tasks on his to-do list.

Long-Roads Ahead

Despite these successes, SNApps4Kids cofounder Cristen Reat recommends a measured approach. “Just because you buy a device doesn’t mean it’s going to change anything,” she says.

Rahman agrees. He says that viewing the iPad as the solution is the backwards approach. “We are big advocates that the user needs to understand the objectives first before you pick the technology,” Rahman says. “We’re not just putting [our son] in front of an iPad and walking away. That’s the real key.”

The original article is available at http://mashable.com/2011/07/25/ipads-disabilities/

Sensitive to the senses?

Dear Friends,

Ms. Sowmya Surendranathan, who is the Director, Therapy Services, FiVE: Centre for Child Development, Chennai, India has written this beautiful article on the need and importance of Early Intervention for children with SPD (sensory processing disorder).

Respecting the copyrights, I am only sharing the article in part while giving you the direct link to the Hindu magazine where you can read the complete article.

Here you go:

Unlike most of us, three-year-old Rohit never cries or flinches when he gets an injection or hurts himself. Rohit feels no pain. On the other hand, five-year-old Parmesh, an active and intelligent child, loves going to school, enjoys playing with other kids and eagerly participates in class activities. But when music is played, Parmesh covers his ears with his hands. Neither his parents nor his teachers understood why.

Similarly, some children are averse to being touched. Some may even be averse to certain colours, light or certain objects. A child may, for instance, be averse to clothes with collars or may become tense when entering a colorfully lit room. Some children are extremely averse to fragrant smells.

These children, who are otherwise very intelligent, are unusually sensitive to the sense of touch, smell, sound, taste or even sight. Such children are possibly affected by a sensory disorder. This means the child may be having difficulty understanding and responding to information from one or more of their senses (eyes, ears, nose, touch, and even their sense of balance, movement and physical pressure).

When we touch, smell, see, hear or taste something, the nervous system conveys the stimuli to the brain, to process the signals and interpret them appropriately. The way our brain relates to the stimulus (sensitivity) decides how we react/respond (behaviour). In some people, the nervous system has a problem (best described as a traffic jam) and is not able to convey the signals received from the senses to the brain. This inability is called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Children with SPD therefore exhibit abnormal behaviour when they touch, hear, see, taste or smell something.

Hyper-or Hypo-sensitive

When children or even adults have SPD specific to one or more senses, they may be either hypersensitive (over-sensitive) or even hyposensitive (under-sensitive). Either way, they are ‘out-of-sync’. Hypersensitivity is characterised by behaviours such as being irritable, unwillingness or complete intolerance in doing normal things such as wearing clothing, aversion to light, dislike being touched or intolerance for certain sounds like Parmesh. Hyposensitivity, on the other hand, is characterised by an unusual need for extra stimulus of the senses than what is normal like Rohit.

‘Out-of-sync’ child

Often, an ‘out-of-sync’ child is diagnosed with a behaviour problem. Merely addressing the behaviour without understanding the underlying reason can be traumatic for both the child and those around him.

An ‘out-of-sync child’ with SPD may be tense, uncooperative or depressed. Some, on the other hand, will be overexcited. This is because the child is trying to cope with his daily environment in his own way.

Some unusual behaviors seen in children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Learning Disability (LD) are often due to SPD but fail to be identified as such.

It is important to identify if a child’s unusual behavior is due to SPD or any other disorder as the treatment for the various disorders are different.While SPD requires Occupational Therapy applied to the affected senses in ADHD/ASD/LD itself, a behavior triggered by sensory discomfort will be addressed through Sensory Integration Therapy. If the behavior is triggered by other factors, it will be addressed through behavior modification.

Therefore, it is very important for parents, teachers, therapists and paediatricians to look further, understand and identify if the child’s behaviour is due to a sensory disorder and take the appropriate steps to treat the disorder…….. Click here for further reading The Hindu

You can also get in touch with Sowmya at sowmya@childsupport.in

happy reading!

Subhash Chandra Vashishth


National Symposium on Treatment and Rehabilitation of CP Child

Dear Friends,

Kiran Society, Benaras is organizing a National Symposium on Treatment & Rehabilitation of CP Child  on 07th November 2010 (though I suggest it should be child first approach – child or children with cerebral palsy).

Ranjeet Kumar Singh, a colleague DT who works with Kiran Village  has shared this information with us. Here is the brief information. I know many of you might be interested in attending this symposium and listening to the experts assembling from across the nation. For those of you who have not been to Benaras, here is the address: KIRAN Centre, P.O. Kuruhuan Madhopur, Post Box 5032, Varanasi-221005 (U.P.) INDIA Phone No. +91- 542 -2670165 & 2670166

Here are the details:

National Symposium on Treatment & Rehabilitation of CP Child

Venue: K. N. UDUPA Auditorium, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi- 221005, Uttar Pradesh

Proposed Program:

H. 9 -10 : Welcome of the President and the Director of Kiran Society (5 min.)

H. 10 -13: Defining the Problem:

1) Introduction by the Chairman. Co-Chairman Dr. A. Martinuzzi
(Prof. B.D. Bhatia, Paed. Dep. BHU, Varanasi) (10 min.)

2) Cerebral Palsy: Description, Diagnosis, Prevention.
(Dr. Rajniti Prasad, Paed. Dep. BHU) (20 min.)

3) Cerebral Palsy: Treatment and Rehabilitation
( Dr. Anupam Gupta , Psych. & Neurol. Rehab, NIMHANS, Bangalore) (40 min.)

4) Cerebral Palsy: Rehabilitation Approaches Worldwide and W.H.O. Guidelines.
(Dr. A. Martinuzzi, La Nostra Famiglia, Italy/ W.H.O.) (30 min.)

5) Cerebral Palsy: Rehabilitation Services in India: gaps in relation to needs.
(Dr. Sunanda Reddy, CARENIDHI, Delhi) (20 min.)

6) Panel Discussion
( All Morning Session Speakers, National Trust Chairperson, IICP ) (1 h.)

H. 13 – 14: Lunch

H. 14 – 17: Solutions and Strategies:

1) Opening Remarks by Chairperson. Co-Chairman Dr. A. Gupta
(Dr. Poonam Nathrajan) (10 min.)

2) National Trust Vision.
(Ms. Poonam Natrajan, Chairperson, National Trust, Delhi) (20 min.)

3) The Experience of A.A.D.I.
(Ms. Charu Lekha, Action For Ability Development and Inclusion, Delhi) (20 min.)

4) The Experience of a Community Based Rehabilitation in West Bengal
(Mr. M.B. Chetri, Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy, Calcutta) (20 min.)

5) Experience in Uttar Pradesh
(Dr. Sw. Varishtananda, Ramakrishna Mission Home of Service, Varanasi) (20 min.)

6) Panel Discussion
(All Afternoon Session Speakers, Dr. A. Martinuzzi, Dr. S. Reddy, Kiran Centre Rep.) ( 1h.)

7) Vote of Thanks and Closing Ceremony
( Kiran Centre Director, Ms. J.K. Sangeeta) (10 min.)

Miniature versions of equipments changing the paradigm of paediatric surgery

Dear Friends,

The paradigm of paediatric surgery is all set to change with miniature versions of equipments used during minimal invasive surgery (MIS). I am sure you would read this post with great interest. This is going to facilitate many surgeries that could reduced the impact of disability.

Here is the article. To read from the source click here

‘Paediatric surgery will become better’
TNN 20 November 2009, 04:43am IST

LUCKNOW: Miniature versions of equipments used during minimal invasive surgery (MIS) are all set to change the paradigm of paediatric surgery. This means that till now, MIS was an option only for the adults. But now, the instruments have been modified to suit the needs of children as well, who will no longer grow up with scars. Reconstructive surgeries to remove the scars may also be evaded.

This was said by experts who gathered at the 35th annual conference of the Indian Association of the Paediatric Surgeons. The conference began here on Thursday with a lecture on advances and researches in hydrocephalus – a condition marked by abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

The condition causes lot of problems for children by way of progressive enlargement of the head, convulsions and even mental disability. On behalf of Chhatrapati Shahuji Maharaj Medical University’s paediatric surgery department – which is hosting the event – Dr SN Kureel informed that during the conference experts from across the country would share their views on issues related to paediatric surgical procedures.

Managing Seizures in Children

Dear Friends,

Some useful tips from NDTV.Doctor on how to manage seizures in children. There are several other subject with you will find of great interest at this site too.

Dr. Sabharwal, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital answer the querries on the subject.

To read from the Source click here


SC Vashishth

How can seizures be managed in children?
Answered by : Dr RK Sabharwal
Senior Consultant, Child Neurology & Epilepsy, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi
Q. My 9 years old son is suffering from partial seizures for the last one and a half years. Different medicine combinations have been tried on him viz Clobazam, Oxy-Cabazepine, Lamotrigine, sodium valproate (Chrono), etc. Now he has been put on sodium valproate (non-chrono) with Clobazam. There is considerable relief as far as severity and frequency of seizures is concerned. He is a hyperactive child and experiences at least one seizure daily immediately after returning from school because of anxiety and excitement to share school happenings with us. Also, he is much interested in toys, cartoons on TV and computer games instead of studies and outdoor games. His bowels are erratic and he spends a long time in the toilet and day-dreaming. He does not like studying and the very mention of studies makes him angry and scared at times. Even though he is an intelligent child and well aware of all happenings for a kid of his age, he does not take notes in the class, nor completes his class-work. As a result, bulk of the studies including homework and explanation part has to be done at home that further restricts him from enjoying creative and leisure activities at home. This limitation imposes a lot of stress on him and has acted as a trigger for seizure at times. He loves us and tries to please us but failure to do so induces a sort of fear in him triggering the seizures. No amount of persuasion, cajoling, assurances and even interactions with clinical psychologist has helped the matter. Please advise.
A.  If he is responding to Valparin, then the dose should gradually be increased till the seizures are controlled. A dose of 40-50 mg/kg can be reached if required get his liver function test (LFT) and platelet count done monthly till 3 months to monitor side effects. I have noted that children on Valparin tend to pass stools often in a day (give him an apple daily and avoid juices, colas, and too much milk), and occasionally bed wet at night.

As regards his behaviour, it is likely he is suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADHD) – get a feedback from his teacher and ask the Clinical Psychologist to do a Connors Scale. But his reluctance to study may indicate that he is having problems with it and the problem could be a Learning Disability (LD), which occurs in up to 12% of school going children. Assessing for a LD is a must in your child’s case. As a fact, you must insist with the psychologist to do the evaluation.

Some behavioural problems can occur with all antiepileptic medications. He may need medications to control his ADHD. It is essential that his management start early, as the classes will get tougher as he grows.

A few tips in the meanwhile:

  • Child should sleep by 9 pm
  • Restrict TV/Computer to one and a half hours/ day – cancel it if he doesn’t study
  • A fixed time when he has to study – studies for 1/2 hr and give a break, and then 1/2 hr study – the room should have no distractions like TV, phones, etc.
  • Make him sit in the front of the class away from the window
  • Cut down his chocolates, sweets, colas.
  • Encourage him and applaud his good performances.