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Apps and technology

Using the iPad to Develop Literacy and Social Skills

iPad can be an effective tool to promote literacy social skills, concept development, with children who are blind or visually impaired, including those with additional disabilities or deafblindness

Social appsiPads are used in more and more ways in the educational programs of students who are blind or visually impaired.  They can be used to help children to develop basic concepts, to reinforce literacy skills, to support communication, to promote the development of visual skills and for many other purposes.  They are also a way in which to encourage the development of social skills, which are part of the Expanded Core Curriculum, in some of the following ways:

  • Can use shared interest between students to draw students together
  • Can develop turn taking / sharing skills  [APPS: Stop – Go! (a traffic light timer), Turn Taker – Social Story and Sharing Tool (from Autism)]
  • Creating and sharing stories with friends (APPs Pictello, Story Creator)  
  • Learning to make eye contact – can turn the camera around so the child is looking at their own face
  • Can take photos of people in their world so that they can get comfortable looking at their faces on the iPad if they are not comfortable looking at the person directly
  • Learning about their eye condition – can look at their eyes with the camera
  • Take photos of people in their world so that they can look at the photo to be able to recognize them
  • Can use the photos for taking attendance
  • Take photos of locations (e.g. in their school, community) using the camera and MAPS to be able to know, in advance what to look for
  • Can create social stories, can practice life skills  (APPS: Model Me Going Places, Turn Taker, Conversation Social Stories and Simple PECS Communication Tool – Autism (Touch Autism), Conversation Builder)
  • Group work using the iPad for class projects
  • Games to develop language (e.g. APPS: Talking Tom and other Talking apps)  
  • Can use Pictello for the sub book – easy to see the routines

Home – School Communication Ideas:

  • Student can video their activities to share with family, extended family, friends
  • Pictello / Story creator APPS can be used to show special events both at school and at home
  • Parent / student can create stories with school from earlier in the child’s life as well as sharing about extended family, holidays

Using an iPad to help children with disabilities to develop literacy and social skills

(adapted from POPDB Intervenor Conference, January 2013, notes taken by Sheila McIntosh)

Please note that you may need to check whether the app has been updated or whether it only works with certain operating systems.  Please let us know if you have any information to share about any of the apps on this page!  


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