School Gets iPads to Help Autistic Students

A Fort Worth school soon will get two dozen iPads to help educate special needs children.

The Jane Justin School at the Child Study Center received a charitable foundation grant to buy the iPads. Families with autistic children say the technology has already made a difference.

One of the hottest new computing gadgets may hold the key to helping autistic children learn faster and make fewer mistakes. Behavior analysts already have seen results in just the couple of years the device has been on the market.

"The iPad can provide immediate feedback for a child's response," said Dr. Anthony Cammilleri, school director. "It removes the disconnect between the mouse and the computer screen."

He says the iPad's touch screen helps children who have a hard time using their hands.

The Tossell family, of Keller, bought an iPad five months ago. Mom and Dad say their autistic, 7-year-old, twin boys have made big improvements in class.

"It's been amazing to watch them grow. What used to take them, say, a minute to figure out, now they're actually doing in a matter of seconds," said father David Tossell, who is helping to fund new educational apps for students. "Knowing that kids really need to get comfortable with technology and seeing that they can do it with the iPad, it really gives me encouragement for the future for them."

Ryan and Dylan are perfecting their handwriting, identifying shapes, and even playing musical instruments.

With its newly awarded grant money, the Jane Justin School will have iPads for half of its students. Administrators hope they'll eventually have one for every student to check out and take home.

The school is taking donations of iTunes store gift cards to buy more educational apps, through a program it created called the Apple Giving Tree, to help kids overcome the hurdles of autism.

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