It has become a daily grind much like rush hour traffic. For parents, it is an exhausting, humbling, and mind numbing experience. For children, it is an academic ritual that must be accomplished before any enjoyable activities. It is often consumed by man’s best friend and frequently gets lost. It’s called homework and it never ends.
If you are a parent of a typical child, you know how challenging homework can be at times. Now imagine the additional challenges of assisting a child with intellectual disabilities struggling to learn the same academic subjects as their typical classmates.
In short, children with intellectual disabilities learn differently than their typical peers and require an innovative “out of the box” approach in order to grasp academic material. They are visual learners who absorb information best from stimulating, engaging, and participatory experiences rather than the traditional lecture delivery of instruction. Their learning progression is non-linear and often bypasses an expected mastery of a specific subject.
The parental responsibility in teaching their special needs children could not be more critical. With an overtaxed and financially strained public school system, children with special educational needs barely receive the minimum accommodations needed for success in an inclusive classroom environment. Therefore, parents with special needs children can no longer expect any further assistance beyond the minimum requirements mandated under current equal education laws. Parents with special needs children must own and ensure the academic success of their children. There is no other way.
Daily homework sessions involving children with intellectual disabilities are often exhausting and frustrating. Parents struggle to invent clever or creative ways to explain concepts or answer questions. This requires parents to search educational web sites, draw illustrations on whiteboards, cut and paste letters and numbers on poster boards, role play, etc.
At some point, an important question needs to be asked: is there a better way to accomplish this?
Finally, there appears to be.
Enter the Apple iPad tablet device. Since its introduction to the public on April 3, 2010, the Apple iPad has become a revolutionary teaching tool embraced by both the K-12 and higher educational markets. With thousands of educational applications currently available and accessed through a simple user platform, the iPad represents a paradigm shift in teaching academic material. No more cutting and pasting. No more whiteboards. Who knows, homework might even be fun for a change.
Most parents of special needs children agree; the iPad device has the potential to be a “game changer” that will level the playing field and elevate understanding of academic material to a whole new level. The iPad returns power to the special needs parent and enables them to focus on teaching instead of improvising. The possibilities of the iPad are endless.
Here is a list of some applications designed for special education purposes. Click on the application name for more information.