Children using iPads as a tool to communicate

Posted on Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Five children with special learning needs from McCallums Hill Public School were given the gift of communication through iPads via a $4,990 grant from Canterbury League Club.

“For some children with significant intellectual disabilities and conditions such as autism, communication is limited which impacts on their ability to communicate their basic wants and needs and to interact socially with others. It can lead to frustration and anxiety,” said Fiona Wylie, Assistant Principal Special Education at McCallums Hill Public School.

The iPads have been loaded with a special communication program called ProLoQuo2Go that allows students to select symbols to form a request and a voice is then generated to articulate the request.

“We have involved speech pathologists to ensure we are giving our students the best opportunity to use the device effectively and develop their own speech. Our next step is to teach our parents how to use the device and adapt the communication menu to the home environment,” said Fiona.

One of Fiona’s students is Year 3 Alexander who received an iPad through the grant. The goal over the next few years of primary school is to help Alexander initiate communication using the device, increase his word usage from one or two words to short phrases and also increase socialisation with his peers.

“We have seen some great gains in his communication over this time. In the morning Alexander says hello to his teacher and the school learning support officer. He also says hello to some of his peers. He also able to spell his name and some sight words, type the alphabet, match numbers and make simple requests such as ‘I want water’ using the iPad.”

“We are very excited to see Alexander as well as our other four students that have received an iPad develop in their communication skills. This will have a significant impact on their lives both now and in the future. Thank you to Canterbury for making a difference!” said Fiona.