Blind Children Use iPads Successfully
The Ipad is proving itself more and more useful to children suffering from disabilities. While we all have heard that Ipads are instrumental in helping learning disabled children and engaging autistic children, a recent Kansas University study suggests that Ipads may also help blind children.
Ipad tablets were given to children with a cortical visual impairment or CVI.
This condition results from brain damage which prevents the children from interpreting visual information, rendering them essentially blind. According to the leader of the Kansas study, Professor Muriel Saunders, children suffering from this visual impairment often use lightboxes as a therapy tool. Children with CVI can easily distinguish lights and objects with high contrast, according to Saunders.
It was determined that the brightness of the tablet along with some very basic infant applications was engaging to the CVI study subjects. With its bright screen, the Ipad replicated the lightbox so common in CVI therapy. Research from the study demonstrated that while CVI children generally would not respond to an action/object or who would only respond after repeated attempts appeared to be completely engaged by the Ipads given to them for the study. Researchers remarked that these children behaved with the tablets in such a way that failed to demonstrate that they were visually impaired.
The study demonstrates that the Ipad may be a useful communication tool for those with visual impairments. Saunders is in the process of obtaining a grant to expand the study to a larger group of children. The Kansas University study had only 15 participants.