iPad helps SA autistic kids

2011-07-01 14:31
A child with autism uses an iPad at the Key School. (Jenni Gous)

A child with autism uses an iPad at the Key School. (Jenni Gous)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Autistic children are finding the Apple iPad an aide to their learning and development, an educator has said.

Apps developed for the iPad can make a difference to children with autism, Dr Jenni Gous, head of the Key School for specialised education told News24.

"Children with autism like routine; they don't like surprises, so the app that caught my eye was one that actually prepares to go to the shop. If they know what to expect, it makes things easier for them to understand," she said.

She said that up to 50% of children with autism will never talk and they can exhibit problems with communication and socialisation.

The 30 children at the school are aged between 2 and 12 years old and the iPads were bought at half price as a teaching and learning aide.


"You can't just give them an iPad to work on by themselves - they need supervision," said Gous.

She said that while the iPad may regarded as a toy for adults, for the children at the school it was particularly invaluable because of the touch screen and the availability of apps.

"Compared to a computer, you go out, you have to buy software and you're not sure if the software is going to work with these kids.

"With the iPad you can download all the free apps that you come across and we are looking at baby apps, children apps; kindergarten apps, and a lot of apps are relevant to our kids because it’s an introduction to literacy, numeracy and sequencing or little matching games," said Gous.

She said that in addition to the apps that were specifically targeted for autistic children, the multimedia nature of the apps appealed to the learners.

"It's cause effect: Kids are touching the screen and something is happening, and that immediately catches their attention.

"A lot of kids with autism are visual learners and they respond very well to the movement, pictures and colour; and to the variety of apps that there are," Gous said.

Learning curve

The Key School though, feels that despite the number of apps on the market, that there is a need for apps specifically suited to the South African market and are investigating possible development.

The four teachers and therapy staff are also excited by the use of the iPad in the school.

"I've seen an excitement in them that you seldom see in teachers because it's actually exciting them as much as the kids. It's a learning curve for us as well," Gous said.

Gous cautioned that technology could not replace learning and teaching with a teacher, but that it should be used in conjunction with contact education, particularly for children with learning barriers.

"Anything that is going to bring a child with autism out of themselves is an absolute bonus. The iPad is not really taking over our curricular - it's included in our curricular."

The school used a budget for communication devices to buy the iPads mainly for children who are not able to speak and Gous said that these devices are much more expensive than the more generic iPad.

"Those [communication] devices have to be imported; they are sometime three times more expensive than the iPad, they are dedicated and only one child can use them."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

Read more on:    apple  |  ipad  |  technology

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Inside News24


ANCYL: Not voting would be blasphemy

Not voting in the forthcoming elections would be blasphemy, the ANCYL says in a statement commemorating the 50th anniversary of struggle icon Nelson Mandela's Rivonia trial speech.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:


You may be good at organising events but they do take their toll on your energy levels. You may need some time out today just to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.