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/

Training Programs at Five India, Bangalore in Jan 2011

Dear Friends,

We have been informed that “FIVE-Centre for child Development” Team is organising two International programs one each on  “The Other End of Autism Spectrum”  & ” Sensory Processing Disorder” in Jan 2011. The program would be conducted by  Timothy P. Kowalski &  Carol Stock Kranowitz, the two international experts on the issues respectively.

The program has been designed for parents, teachers and professionals in the field of child development. For details, please visit Childsupport.in

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


Talk on Autism by Dr. Vikram Dua at National Centre for Autism on 07 April 2010

Dear Friends,

AFA is organising a Talk on Autism delivered by Dr Vikram Dua who is a child and adolescent neuropsychiatrist based in Vancouver, Canada, with a specialized expertise in autism spectrum disorders.

The detailed information received from AFA is as below. Hope many of you would find time to attend this important knowledge sharing event.


SC Vashishth




 The incidence of autism is growing at an alarming, almost epidemic rate. One of the reasons for this is the staggering increase in the number of reported cases of autism. This may be partially due to an increase in awareness and improvements in diagnosis. Can these alone account for the increases that have been observed? Is this indeed autism? As parents and professionals together struggle to make sense of the autism spectrum and the multiple treatment modalities, the talk also highlights the benefits of mainstream and alternate intervention options available. The talk is directed at parents, professionals and to policy makers and all those who have an impact on autism services and research in the country.


Dr Vikram Dua is a child and adolescent neuropsychiatrist based in Vancouver, Canada, with a specialized expertise in autism spectrum disorders. After completing his education through highly respected institutions, including Harvard Medical School, University of Toronto, McMaster University, and the University of Massachusetts, Dr Dua is now on the faculty at the University of British Columbia, and practices out of the BC Children’s Hospital. Dr Dua has been working in the area of autism for more than a decade and is considered a leader in the field in Canada. In addition to a vast amount of clinical work with children and youth with ASD, his accomplishments have included development and writing of the British Columbia Government autism assessment policy, founding and establishing the BC Autism Assessment Network, public awareness, training and education, advocacy, and research. He has given dozens of lectures and workshops to professionals, families, and the general public.

DATE: Wednesday, 07 April 2010
TIMINGS: 10:30 am – 1:00 pm
VENUE: The National Centre for Autism Pocket 7 & 8, Jasola Vihar, New Delhi – 110 025
FEES: Rs 50/- for refreshments

Please note that the registrations for the talk will begin at 10:00a.m. and the doors to the conference hall will close at 10:30a.m. We look forward to your participation.

For Further Queries Contact:

Shikha Bhardwaj
Training Coordinator
Action For Autism (AFA)
The National Centre for Autism
Pocket 7 & 8 Jasola Vihar,
New Delhi 110025
Tel: 91 11 4054 0991, 91 11 4054 0992, 91 11 6534 7422
Email: actionforautism@gmail.com
Website: http://www.autism-india.org

5-Day CRE Course on Early Intervention & School Readiness for Children with Sensory & Multiple Disabilities

Dear Friends,

Our Association has been informed by Ms. Manjula Patankar, Director-ROSHNI that as part of the National Trust Training Programme, ROSHNI Ramakrishna Ashrama will be holding a 5-day Training on Early Intervention & School Readiness for Children with Sensory & Multiple Disabilities – CRE Course. Dr Reena Bhandari, Director, Voice and Vision, Mumbai, a National Resource and Training centre and her team are resource persons for this Course.

The course is a part of Continuous Rehabilitation Education Training programme from Rehabilitation Council of India, funded by the National Trust New Delhi. 

The programe schedule is as below:

Date:         9th  -13th  December 2009

Venue:    Roshni, Ramakrishna Ashrama,  Entrance Jiwaji University Road, Gwalior       

Time:     9:30 a.m. –  4:00 p.m. daily

Course is meant for:

Rehabilitation professionals, therapists and special needs teachers working with people with disabilities, who are interested in extending their knowledge and skills in this area. Candidates with RCI registration preferred; a few seats will be reserved for parents.

Limited number of seats available, apply immediately.

Roshni is looking forward to hearing from you and working with you for training and capacity building to upgrade services for the Rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

Contact Person:  Vivek Sharma (9893453082),  Ramsevak Baraiya   (9981526616)

Those interested may apply immediately.



SC Vashishth,

Developmental Therapist

For Association of Developmental Therapists of India (ADITI)

A new dawn in the disability research and ethics

Dear Friends,

Many in the hearing-impaired community have rejected cochlear implants, because they do not regard deafness as a disability that needs to be corrected, but as a part of their life and cultural identity. To them, cochlear implants are an enhancement beyond normal functioning.

Science can replace all organs but the machanised interface may develop frictions.  Machines and computer fail at times. Who is responsible in such cases- machine or man. How to fix the criminal liability.

Offences under the influence of external forces are often excused as Men’s rea is difficult to be proved in the criminal justice. Revolving around these issues, the new research – its impact on disability and ethics is bound to spruce up.

Hope it will provide a wonderful reading to you. The article is by  Jens Clausen, who is a research assistant at the Institute for Ethics and History of Medicine, Tubingen, Germany

To respect copyright laws, the article is not repeated here. Click here to visit the link at DNA. Man, machine and everything in between


Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Developmental Therapist

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.