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Tablets Are Game-Changers For Special Needs Kids 174

Posted by Soulskill
from the pushing-the-right-buttons dept.
theodp writes "The rise of mainstream tablets is proving to have unforeseen benefits for children with speech and communication problems and may disrupt a business where specialized devices can cost thousands of dollars. iPad apps like Proloquo2Go ($189) aim to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy, down syndrome, developmental disabilities, ALS, traumatic brain injury, aphasia, apraxia, and more. Even Steve Jobs didn't see this one coming: 'We take no credit for this, and that's not our intention,' said Jobs, who's been touched by email he gets from parents of special needs kids for whom the iPad is proving to be a life-changer. 'Our intention is to say something is going on here,' Jobs added, suggesting that researchers should 'take a look at this.' Even though they might cost significantly less than dedicated devices, SUNY speech pathologist Andrea Abramovich explained Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes."
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Tablets Are Game-Changers For Special Needs Kids

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  • by alen (225700)

    I have a 3 year old who knows half the alphabet, can count to 10 and knows all the basic shapes. We have 3 iPhones in the house and there are hundreds of educational apps in the app store

    • by Nerdfest (867930) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:26PM (#33918590)
      It would be nice if they'd allow in one to help people learn to program. As far as I know Alan Kay/MIT's Scratch app is still rejected.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by stephanruby (542433)

        Take a look at Google's App Inventor [googlelabs.com] for Android (for now). It was heavily influenced by projects like Scratch. It's not an app as such, the kid/toddler will still need a PC to "program" with, and it doesn't have an emulator (you must have an Android phone connected to your computer, or connected to the internet, if you want to be able to test your programs, although you can still write one without one), but any changes the kid does to the visual lego-like structure on the screen of his PC will immediately

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PPH (736903)

      I have a 3 year old who knows half the alphabet, can count to 10

      That's all they'll need for 133tspeak.

    • Bragging about how smart your kid is in public - does it ever get old?
    • Are you saying your three year old is about as smart as 95% of the american public? Way to go!

      (jeez chill off it's a joke!)

    • by johnlcallaway (165670) on Sunday October 17, 2010 @01:54AM (#33922122)
      My kids could do that too when they were about that age.

      20 years ago. Because they had parents that read to them every night and interacted with them.

      If someone is saying the only reason their kids know these things is because of iPhones, iPads, or educational apps, I feel very sorry for them....
    • I have a son about to turn 2 who knows all that stuff sans iPad/iPhone. He also sings songs, can identify Chewbacca, and comes running like a madman when I whistle the theme from "Shaun the Sheep".

      Then there's my other son who is 8 who has cerebral palsy and for years used a medically approved $8000 computer as a communication device. When it crapped out, I decided a netbook would be just fine. Total cost: $350.

      We've looked at an iPad for him and might eventually go for one, but his netbook is working well

  • by JonySuede (1908576) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:04PM (#33918428) Journal

    Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes

    Some part of the medical community have this mentality that under no circumstance should a medical treatment be enjoyable even if it cost less or it is more effective...

    • by Lazareth (1756336)

      And god forbid if you should get more out of the treatment than the treatment itself! Not unless they can charge you for it, of course.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        And god forbid if you should get more out of the treatment than the treatment itself! Not unless they can charge you for it, of course.

        Don't worry; even if the Medicare crowd wises up on this, it won't matter. By then, the Net Neutrality issue will be settled in the wireless carriers' favor, and they'll be free to make universal their general practice of blocking everything unless you've paid an extra fee for it. So yes, the iPad will still be able to access youtube, but there'll be a paywall inserted by

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not the medical community. It's the bureaucratic community combined with the community that gets its panties in a bunch out of government money being "wasted" with spending on things people may not need. So they force untold billions to be spent on documentation and purpose-built equipment rather than more effective solutions. All while complaining about government waste and inefficiency.

      The medical community would be fine with doing the smart thing, but when so many people want to have their input,

      • It's not the medical community. It's the bureaucratic community combined with the community that gets its panties in a bunch out of government money being "wasted" with spending on things people may not need. So they force untold billions to be spent on documentation and purpose-built equipment rather than more effective solutions. All while complaining about government waste and inefficiency.

        So totally this. Yet another case of perfect being the enemy of good.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ColdWetDog (752185)

          So totally this. Yet another case of perfect being the enemy of good.

          While I'm hardly a fan of the Medicare regulatory dungeon^Hframework, I think it would be appropriate to give these guys a bit of break. The iPad really just showed up on the market a year? or two ago (time flies when you're having fun) and the applications and more importantly, the usefulness of the applications is just getting some attention.

          I would not expect CMMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Security, Medicare's daddy) to rus

          • by codegen (103601) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:43PM (#33918690) Journal
            The problem is that this is not new. There have been many cases recently where custom software on a regular computer would make a world of difference and it is turned down in favour of a much more expensive custom hardware solution because the regular computer can be used for non-medicinal purposes. The inability to recognize the iPad as a fundable solution is just the latest in a sequence of such bureaucratic blindness.
            • The problem is that this is not new. There have been many cases recently where custom software on a regular computer would make a world of difference and it is turned down in favour of a much more expensive custom hardware solution because the regular computer can be used for non-medicinal purposes

              No issue with that statement, but (and Christ, it's Saturday and I'm defending Medicare) these rules are a complex interplay of vendor greed, legal blather, unintended consequences, politics and money. Can you i

              • Just thought of a way out here. Apple makes a slightly modified version for health care, call it, maybe the 'pPad'. Nobody would want one of those.
                • by hedwards (940851)
                  I was just thinking of that. Perhaps put in some interface tweaks that are legitimately aimed at making it more useful to that segment, and perhaps license some of the software apps for inclusion. Seems like there'd be no real losers involved. Apple makes more money and there's a cost savings over the current solutions.

                  Plus Apple is really good at crippling their products for things they don't intend it to be used for.
                  • And, most importantly, the case must be colored it in that nausea inducing, medical-grade light beige. And, preferably, the desktop background image, too.

              • by tsm_sf (545316)
                Can you imagine the political hay some random congresscritter is going to make if they find out that our precious tax dollars are going to fund for ... iPads?

                I remember Limbaugh going off on a plan to provide homeless people with answering machines a while ago.

                Think about that for a minute.
                • We have that in my area and as ridiculous as it sounds on the face of it, it is actually a great idea and a wonderful service.

                  Have you ever been truly poor, maybe homeless? Believe it or not, that can happen to perfectly good people who run into the wrong circumstances, or have a string of bad luck.

                  It's easy enough to say, "Look at the bum... he should get a job!"... but try to get a job if you don't even have a telephone. How are you going to do that?

                  This service gives homeless people a message nu
            • by guruevi (827432)

              It's not necessarily blindness. You're missing the level of lobbying by the makers of these custom hardwares. They're the ones that take a 20 cent LCD display and a chip you find in any generic calculator and tell them it costs $10,000. The profit (1000%) pays for the lobbyists.

            • You mean specific purpose computers that are environment hardened to withstand the abuse that a young child can render carrying it around day in and day out?? I've been around kids and young adults with communicator devices, and there is no way an iPad would stand up to the abuse these folks give their communicators. One of the young adults had bruises on her hips from dancing with her communicator around her neck.

              It's a 'nice thought' handing out iPads. Now go check out the prices for hardened tablet
            • I see the problem a bit differently.

              The problem is that the market for assistive devices is so used to insurance paying for everything that they've clung to 100% custom solutions that, while operational, don't have to play by any rules of competition or scale.

              My son had an $8K system for a while that was based off a Transmeta processor and had a touch screen, built-in CD-ROM, telephone interface, and IR remote. It was also 10 pounds. Baked into the price was about $1200 in software that allowed for the buil

          • Anyone know the status of Medicare/insurance payments for those Wii balance boards or Wii fit or whatever that turned out to be as good as or better than the specialized medical thingummies that cost a mint? I haven't heard about that in some time....
        • by DrgnDancer (137700) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:58PM (#33918800) Homepage

          The big problem, and it's a legit problem really, though I think it's being blown out of proportion, is that these devices are basically generally purpose computers that can do anything. Unlike a purpose built device that can really only do what it's supposed to do, there's nothing stopping you from saying you want to buy an iPad to help out your developmentally disabled child then actually using it for nothing except surfing porn.

          Before they could approve it, Medicare would have to some up with some reasonable way to ensure that the device is being used to do what the government purchased it to do. Now where it gets stupid is people who will undoubtedly say that it should be used *only* for what the government purchased it to do. I personally don't see anything wrong, assuming the device is primarily being used for its stated purpose, with using for other stuff sometimes too. I'm also quite certain that many people would scream about that being "wasteful spending".

          • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:04PM (#33918830)

            Before they could approve it, Medicare would have to some up with some reasonable way to ensure that the device is being used to do what the government purchased it to do.

            No. You totally missed the point. The problem is that the cost of this "ensurance" is too high to be practical. Something like an ipad is ~$400. But a medicare approved ipad is going to be ~$4000 (just look at hearing aids for an example - components not all that different from a blutooth headset but 10x-50x the cost). The answer is to eat the waste of misuse for low cost items because the cost of ensuring that there is no waste is higher than the waste itself.

            • 1a. Special purpose equipment is more expensive because it's special purpose, and because there's a fixed market for it with fixed rules.
              1b. "Ruggedized" equipment is more expensive. I know someone who dropped and broke an iPad already. If you're planning on having this used by people with muscle control problems, it had better survive hard use, even if it's cheap enough to replace.

              2. Consider the timeline - you're looking backward. Inexpensive headsets can exist because the research already went i
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            If you had a 50% fraud rate, you'd still save money. That's what matters from a government standpoint. Preventing fraud is nice, but saving money and getting the job done should be the top priorities.
      • The Marx brothers' humor does not translate well to the modern day. It's just not funny any more, and it hasn't been for a long time. It was one of those "you had to be there" times. I smell the hint of bullshit on the Marx brothers comment. Are you this guy? [theonion.com]

        And let me get your story straight - the group that's against more government is FOR more bureaucracy and inefficiency? How's that?

        • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @03:25PM (#33919316)
          First off, the last time I watched the Marx Brothers it was just as funny as when I was a kid, and while I wasn't there at the time, I'm willing to bet that it was just as funny as it was a half century earlier.

          Second off, the the Republicans are indeed for more bureaucratic inefficiency. It's what allows them to rail against the government election after election. Were there to be actual change and efficiency gains they'd have to come up with a new strategy. It's something they figured out during the Regan administration and had to wait for Clinton to be elected to put into play.

          There's nothing inconsistent about it, it's a matter of self interest. While it's terrible for the country, it's been a really long time since the Republicans were making any meaningful effort to improve things for anybody else. Ever notice how there's no money for education or the VA, but always plenty of money to start another war?
        • Because they would get the most upset by potential 'misuse' of their tax money. You have a group that gets VERY upset by the idea of unemployment fraud. That mentality of "make unemployment hard to defraud" is what puts in more bureaucracy and inefficiency.
        • by fishexe (168879)

          And let me get your story straight - the group that's against more government is FOR more bureaucracy and inefficiency? How's that?

          Simple. They can't get their heads out of their asses long enough to evaluate which policy proposals lead to more bureaucracy and which lead to bureaucracy in the real world. They're stuck in a right-wing fantasyland where chanting "law and order, tough on crime" 100 times causes criminals to stop being criminals and where cutting taxes always increases government revenue and reduces deficits. For them, claiming that a measure is anti-bureaucracy makes it so, facts be damned.

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          AFAIK, this isn't from a Marx Brothers movie, and is only attributed to Groucho (i.e. it may have been said by someone else originally).

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

          Do you actually not find that funny?

      • by hedwards (940851)
        Indeed. Around here our unemployment insurance fraud rate is about 1 or 2%, but the amount of time and energy that the employment security department spends on it is, well it's way more than 1 or 2% of the total budget. While it's not quite apples to oranges there, one has to question the wisdom of humiliating and abusing the whole group over what is essentially a non-issue.

        Not to mention the fact that the rules have become some convoluted and counter intuitive that it's very hard to avoid getting accuse
      • True story. I once had one go off on me because I said I liked the Marx Brothers.

        <response voice="Groucho" prop="cigar">That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.</response>

        (their going off on you)

      • GD bureaucratic horseshit. Guess what, Medicare? Pain medication can be used for non-medical purposes too. Are you going to cut funding for those?

        It's bureaucratic BS like this that really chaps my ass.
      • by fishexe (168879)

        True story. I once had one go off on me because I said I liked the Marx Brothers.

        Just didn't believe me when I told them I was talking about the comedy group.

        It's a common mistake. So many American liberals are big fans of Karl Marx and his brother Johann, it's hard to tell what you mean by "the Marx brothers" these days.

      • by jc42 (318812)

        True story. I once had one go off on me because I said I liked the Marx Brothers.

        You should get a copy of the "Sure, I'm a Marxist!" t-shirt [northernsun.com]. They're right there, Chico, Groucho, Harpo and Karl. I'd bet you'd get a lot of attacks from so-called "conservative" political types if you wore that one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by aliquis (678370)

      Need hearing aid? Here you go.
      Need glasses? I don't give a shit!

    • by PPH (736903)

      Medicare doesn't cover consumer tablets because they could be used for non-medical purposes

      So, if I find a non-medical use for, say, a wheelchair, Medicare will stop subsidizing their purchase. I know at least one. And its Rule 34 compliant, so the fundy wing nuts should get their panties (probably their wives, secretly worn) in a bunch.

    • Sometimes the rules seem un-fair, but you can always donate a tablet or two.

    • I don't mean to defend the medical community, but this isn't as ridiculous as it sounds, if you know the ropes. Every few years, I have to buy a new wheelchair, and even then I need either a prescription or a letter of medical necessity. Insurance companies are pretty hardcore about not paying for things unless you can show you absolutely need them. (I've often wished that just sending a picture of myself in the wheelchair was enough, but alas, no.)

      As was noted in the article, the iPad isn't a great fi

    • funny thing is, if medicare did in fact cover these purchases people would be bitching up and down about 'the gummint handing out free ipads'.

      you just can't win.

      • I dunno. I think that if the government handed them out to the right people, there wouldn't be a lot to bitch about. The trouble is, the minute the government started such a program, bottom-feeders would come out of the woodwork trying to scam the government for their free (and unnecessary) iPads.
    • No, the problem is with insurance and payment. If a device is clearly single-purpose (or at least dedicated-purpose), then it can be covered under insurance and/or deducted from income before taxes. If it is general purpose, the assumption is that people will game the system by lying about it being used for the special purpose just so they can get the coverage and/or deduction. That's why medical insurance doesn't cover "over the counter" things like aspirin, even if prescribed by a doctor for X-ray-visi
  • by Lazareth (1756336)

    Another strike against the so-called "specialist sector" marketing cheap specialized devices at high prices.
    As the general accessibility of multipurpose devices increases, the less we have to rely on niche markets with artificially high prices.

    I think it is a really good thing that people are able to utilize new consumer products in this way. Personally I don't like the tablet much, but it is nice to see it used like this.

    • by hedwards (940851)
      I wouldn't say strike, more like more evidence that times are changing. Now that general use products are powerful enough to be adapted to these tasks, the developers will likely start to shift to the software aspect of it. But it wasn't that long ago that you needed the specialization to get it to work at all.
  • So there is an app for everything? The long list of diseases in the summary did sound like a joke.
  • Unforeseen Uses (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:11PM (#33918480)
    There are always unforeseen uses of tools, devices and technology. Humans have a natural tendency to find ways to use things that the inventors couldn't imagine. Advanced tool use as 'cavemen' is how we got to where we are today. Not every clever re-purposing of an object requires McGyverism.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The new OLPC Tablet will be market changing! It will be everything for everyone and slice bread too! Forget about the iPad or whatever MicroSloth shits out! This thing will be a Socialist panacea for under $100! And Open Source too!
  • Ho boy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paimin (656338)
    iPads are good for "special" kids? This is gonna be a giant troll circle jerk. Okay trolls, let's see who can shoot the furthest.
  • by deathguppie (768263) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:27PM (#33918598)

    My wife is a speech language pathologist. We have talked about working on projects like this but haven't gotten around to it. I offered to help in an FOSS project that would have done something like this but ended up going nowhere. The only bad thing about this is that the company that produced this app will likely not be interested in making this app available for the cheaper android based tablets, and $200 is still a lot of money for todays middle class. The android tablets would inevitably make this more available to families without the money for an Ipad, but the whole package is still going to run more expensive than a lot of people will be able to afford.

    But if anyone is interested in doing the programming I'm still up for doing the artwork, if there is enough love in the community to produce an app like this for free

    • by jelizondo (183861) <[jerry.elizondo] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:24PM (#33918994)

      Darn! I lost the moderation I've done to reply

      Anyway, I've been playing around with Android looking for a project, I don't want to waste my time doing the upteenth "fart" app; so I something comes up about your idea, I'm game to do the programming for free.

      Cheers

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by wesgray (1827286)
      Exactly which "cheaper" Android tablet is available ?
      • This one [dhgate.com]. It's a full featured tablet, lacking 3G but has WIFI, removable SD Card memory, USB ports, HDMI output, a decent screen (same pixel density as the iPad), pretty good battery life (7-8 hours of music and book reading), Android 2.1 and Android Market access. And you can get them for well under $200; a friend here in Shanghai just picked one up - with a leather folding cover/case that includes an integrated keyboard - for $140.
  • by guytoronto (956941) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:35PM (#33918648)
    I worked at a university in Canada during the rise of the iPhone/iPod touch. Kids (young adults) who were deemed to have a 'learning disability' could apply for funds to purchase technology that would assist them. One of the qualifying technologies was "a PDA, either Palm or Pocket PC device".

    I assisted a student in completing a request for a iPod touch instead of either Palm or Compaq iPaq. The students request was denied because the iPod touch "could be used to play games or listen to MP3s".

    It didn't matter that the Palm or Pocket PCs at the time could do that as well. They had already been "approved" for use.
    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:50PM (#33918736)

      In these cases it's rules imposed on the bureaucrats. When national medical insurance programs started covering take-home "devices", there was controversy over whether that would mean that everyone would just get their doctor to prescribe them "home computer" or something. So to avoid supposed waste, there are rules (in both the U.S. and Canada) against the government medical services paying for consumer devices that have entertainment uses.

      I can see why peopled wanted the rule, but it probably costs more than it saves, given how expensive the equivalent specialist devices are.

      • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:40PM (#33919110)

        I work at a state funded university, so for the government even if slightly indirectly. I'm a salaried employee and while overtime isn't a normal part of my job, I am expected to work extra when needed. Yesterday I had to stay late to video a guest speaker, for example. However I am required to complete a time card every week. If I take any time off during the regular work week, I have to report it. I don't get to report time worked on the weekend or after hours, there is no OT or anything as I'm exempt, however I've got to report time off during the week.

        The reason is because they have to carefully track vacation usage and all that. Unlike many professional jobs where you are given a certain amount of vacation per year and then expected to be professional about it and sick days (like if you have two weeks and need to take an extra day that's ok) we are tracked down to as precise as we are willing to report (values are reported in hours, with 6 digits of precision behind the decimal point). We have generous amounts of time off, but it is all tracked.

        Why? Well to make sure the state isn't getting taken advantage of. It is supposed to make sure that there aren't employees who just never work and bilk the system. Ok... Except that it really doesn't. Your boss signs off on the time card so you could just claim you were "working from home" or whatever and if your boss says ok, then ok. All it really does is add a massive amount of overhead in terms of documentation and processing for all this. There are people at the university who's sole job is dealing with all the time reporting shit and there's lots of levels of bureaucracy in it (your boss approves your time, the payroll person then approves their approval, that gets sent off to the administrators and so on).

        It's supposed to be to protect tax payers but I suspect it does no more than just having managers that watch over things do.

    • by Snaller (147050)

      A lot of people are totally amoral and would rob society blind if they just paid out. Ie, they would lie and cheat to get an ipad. So there has to be limits for what gets paid out, if they had to run background checks that would probably require more people to be hired.

  • The Good and the BAD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zeroRenegade (1475839) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:42PM (#33918686)

    My cousin has cerebral palsy, and I am amazed at her ability as a user of her iPod Touch. She has fully integrated herself into the world of social media, and as a result has made more friends who can seem to communicate with her more easily in the social media scene, than in a subjective and judgmental school yard.

    Unfortunately, she also watches completely inane news videos online, which do nothing for her development. She constantly asks others to watch these horrible news clips. Her grandmother tells her that she "plugs in" or has "plugged in", whenever she puts her headphones in and becomes dead to the physical world. She hates when her Nan tells her this, and is very impatient with her Mom, brother, and others.

    • by Kirijini (214824)

      Her grandmother tells her that she "plugs in" or has "plugged in", whenever she puts her headphones in and becomes dead to the physical world. She hates when her Nan tells her this, and is very impatient with her Mom, brother, and others.

      This is a normal young adult being a normal young adult.

    • If you read David Pogue's "The perfect thing" about the history of the iPod, he discusses this "ipod bubble" phonomenon happening to ordinary people -- able-bodied people. Why should someone with cerebral palsy who moves differently not be allowed to keep up on current events/watch videos like any other person? I don't even care if they listen to MP3s.

      --Sam

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:20PM (#33918956) Journal

    Free/sponsored iPads, that is. The challenge isn't that they are good, but that there will be a scramble to "help" you get one and get it paid for by someone else. It reminds me of handicapped parking hang-tabs. There's no doubt people need them, but a few (some might say many) will abuse the system.

    Here's the thing: at the price currently set for consumer items, these probably don't need to be subsidized. We're not talking about a $3000 device with $2500 worth of custom software anymore. The hardware is barely $500. when it comes to medical care, that's not a lot of money for anybody unless you're destitute. The software, OTOH, isn't a portable thing.

    I can see it now: iScooterAHDH software you need for $1299 and we'll throw in the hardware for free! We'll even submit your paperwork to Medicaid. We're so confident that once you've completed your over the phone questionnaire, we'll get your full payment price reimbursed or your iPad (excuse me, Software) is Free!

  • Insurance companies won't pay for something that might also be used for non-medical purposes. We saw this story quite some time ago when it was about the Nintendo Wii. Now we are seeing it again where it is about the iPad.

    It is precisely due to this behavior by insurance companies that medical equipment businesses can charge such an unreasonable amount of money for equipment that may as well been off the shelf. Here we see insurance companies feeding the problem of overly expensive medical services, devi

  • by cherokee158 (701472) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @04:12PM (#33919606)

    My son is autistic. An ipad with this software would probably have been very useful for him when he was younger, and possibly even now...but only if it was built with mll-spec indestructibility. Special needs kids tend to have severe behavioral problems, and violent tantrums are not unusual. They need to be either tougher or cheaper.

    And despite what many people seem to think, five hundred bucks for a gadget, and another 200 bucks for software, is not a trivial amount of money for a family with special needs kids. Having a special needs child almost automatically consigns many families to a single earner lifestyle, assuming their marriages even survive the experience. It always angered me that the 'poster families' the media chooses for its talk shows about special needs cases are almost always photogenic white collar folks whose biggest sacrifice is the extra money they have to spend to let specialists raise their children. If you visit a local meeting of whatever autism or other handicap support organization is in your community, I guarantee this is NOT what you will see. You will meet families struggling to keep their homes and their sanity in the face of impossible demands on their time, health and budget.

    This idea is a step in the right direction, but the cottage industry that churns out all these developmental aids need to wake up to the true economics of their prospective customers.

    • by snikulin (889460)

      Check out otterbox iPad cases. While not the mil-spec, they can take some punch nevertheless.

      By the way, in my experience with my 2-years twin boys iPads are better protected than note/netbooks.
      It's just a slab of aluminum and glass.
      No keys, no hinges, no wires or plastic LCD.

    • by aukset (889860)

      Unfortunately for these families, the industry knows exactly who their customers are. Even if they are not targeting the medical device market (huge payouts from insurance companies), they are well aware that people who love their children will come up with the cash somehow. The price point is just about right: same a family with "normal" kids might spend on a console and a couple games and entertainment system to babysit for them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by baubo (1310237)
      Oh, for mod points today. Thank you! Most people have no idea the hidden costs of raising disabled kids. If your autistic child is deaf, you'll need $2,000 hearing aids in addition to that $700 communication aid. And the hundreds of dollars you'll spend repairing or replacing everything in your house multiple times. This is never alluded to on the talk shows or in the nonprofit organization-run parent support groups.
    • by barzok (26681)

      If you visit a local meeting of whatever autism or other handicap support organization is in your community, I guarantee this is NOT what you will see. You will meet families struggling to keep their homes and their sanity in the face of impossible demands on their time, health and budget.

      My wife works with a lot of kids like yours, all over the Autism Spectrum (social worker/service coordinator). Her clients range anywhere from families living in 11,000 square foot mansions to those living in a seedy mote

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by domatic (1128127)

      I'm in the same boat and just got the lowest model iPad and Proloque2go for my son. Our iPad in an an Otter Case. It is a thick plastic shell that is installed semipermanently on the iPad and even has a transparent cover for the touch screen that still allows normal use of the screen. It has already survived being thrown down on the floor once. I don't know if it is mil-spec or not but it will definitely take more abuse encased in this thing than not. So you might want to look into that.

      I can also seco

    • by fishexe (168879)

      This idea is a step in the right direction, but the cottage industry that churns out all these developmental aids need to wake up to the true economics of their prospective customers.

      Yeah, shame on them for thinking it was good-hearted to make an app that helps special needs kids, without first upending the entire tech industry and rebuilding it from scratch!

  • by Pieroxy (222434) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:04PM (#33919894) Homepage

    "The rise of mainstream tablets"

    Why can't we call the rise of the iPad "The rise of the iPad" ?

    • by fishexe (168879)

      "The rise of mainstream tablets"

      Why can't we call the rise of the iPad "The rise of the iPad" ?

      Because that would leave tech journalists with nothing to do.

      • by Pieroxy (222434)

        Because that would leave tech journalists with nothing to do.

        Is that bad? I mean, we would probably all be better off with them idle, right?

        • by fishexe (168879)

          Because that would leave tech journalists with nothing to do.

          Is that bad? I mean, we would probably all be better off with them idle, right?

          I guess a more complete answer on my part would have been, we are certainly free to call it "The rise of the iPad" but tech journalists will still call it "The rise of mainstream tablets" because otherwise they would have nothing to do.

  • http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]
    "Research indicates it will help several vitamin D deficiency-associated diseases such as: autism, autoimmune illness, cancer, chronic pain, depression, diabetes, heart disease, hyperparathyroidism, hypertension, influenza, myopathy (neuromuscular disorders), and osteoporosis. ..."

    One problem with all this technology is it keeps us indoor more and so we become vitamin D deficient...

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