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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 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) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:07PM (#33918456)

    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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:16PM (#33918526)

    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, well...stuff like this happens.

    It's a collective insanity.

    Which would piss off that group I mentioned earlier, because they get all upset about what they call socialist language.

    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.

  • Ho boy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by paimin (656338) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:17PM (#33918528)
    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 aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:22PM (#33918568) Homepage

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

  • 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.
  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:38PM (#33918668) Homepage

    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 rush in and say "OK Ipads are fine, everybody go get one....". I would hope that they would take notice, maybe fund a study to see if they did do everything they are touted to do, that they last long enough to be useful and maybe address the issue of using a medical product to view YouTube or the like.

    So, keeping up the pressure is fine but lets not drip hate and vitriol on everything. Just yet. (Sorry for all the parentheses).

  • 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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2010 @01:51PM (#33918754)

    Medicaid and Medicare are NOT the same thing REMOTELY. Do not confuse the two and PLEASE explain what you are referring to.

    Medicare: For elderly people in retirement on Social Security Fixed Income. This is what you hear about in AARP ads and stuff.
    Medicaid: Medical Insurance for those that cannot afford it, Medicaid can be for children, or adults. This is what Conservatives want to kill.

    Easy way to remember: We take care of the elderly and give aid to the poor.

  • 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.

  • by cyber-vandal (148830) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:06PM (#33918854) Homepage

    Typical conservative. Some people might or do abuse the system so let's get rid of the system.

  • by zeroRenegade (1475839) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:31PM (#33919052)

    Man, you have no idea what you are talking about. Unfortunately, she is not a normal young adult. Her oxygen was cut off at birth, and caused additional harm.

    You know nothing about her situation, or her reactions due to her impatience.

    However, I am not going to discuss anything personal about this here.

    People like you rot me, who take away from the significance of a comment by pointing out the obvious without regarding specifics.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2010 @02:47PM (#33919150)

    You may want to get rid of your iPhones then, because your child should already know all the alphabet.

  • 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?
  • by robably (1044462) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @03:49PM (#33919460) Journal

    People like you rot me, who take away from the significance of a comment by pointing out the obvious without regarding specifics.

    The specific examples you gave and which he quoted are exactly as he says; a normal young adult being a normal young adult. His reply was also inoffensively humourous. Get off your high horse.

  • by Kirijini (214824) <kirijini@yahoo . c om> on Saturday October 16, 2010 @03:55PM (#33919496)

    I'm sorry. I should have just said "she's being a normal young adult."

    All kids/teenagers hate it when their parents criticize their choice of how to spend their time, all kids/teenager hate it when their interests are seemingly ignored by their family, and all kids/teenagers rebel against their family. If her condition magnifies these typical reactions, then, I'm sorry, but "youth rebellion disorder" is an age-old problem that exists even without ipods and even without cerebral palsy.

  • 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 jamrock (863246) on Saturday October 16, 2010 @05:27PM (#33920022)
    My eldest niece is now 25 years old and suffers from cerebral palsy. It's easy to make fun of people with special needs, but it's an insulting slap in the face to their heroic caregivers. When I think about the endless love, countless hours of attention, and enormous amounts of money my brother and sister-in-law spent on their child and the heartache they endured, to have some smug, basement-dwelling maggot going for the cheap laughs enrages me to the point that I want to rip their eyeballs out through their assholes.

    Oh, and fuck you too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 16, 2010 @08:17PM (#33920918)

    Sorry, that doesn't cut it. Netbooks have been around for years but the whole point is that this is only useful on a tablet. It is hilarious that people complain about the iPad still being too expensive when there is no alternative, and the devices it replaces cost 10 to 20 times what it costs.

  • 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....
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 17, 2010 @04:40AM (#33922660)

    My sympathy to you.
    I know it matters nothing, but I guess your's is the most spot-on comment.

    When sometimes I stop and think about our Universal Health System we have here in Italy, I wonder why we cannot simply admit that it's all just for the profit of the few and the impoverishment of the many and has no basis whatsoever in socialism, humanitarianism and whatnot.
    I have clearly engraved in my mind the boot-up talk I had with my boss (lawyer) when I started working.

    "A son who followed his father in the medical profession finally took his first patient from his father's, after many years of medical school. The patient complained about an aching thumb that would not let him work as a wood craftsman. The father doctor always prescribed him pain killers and unguents and sent him home every time, only to have him come back a few days later with an aching thumb. The son thought about using his acumen and knowledge and took a magnifying glass to the thumb and found a splinter which he promptly removed with tweezers. The patient felt immediately better and went home never to return to see the doctor. When after some time the father asked the son about the man and why he was not coming back any more the son promptly replied: "Oh, father, it was just a splinter. I took it out".
    "DUMBASS yelled the father. Do you think we could afford this house if we were loosing patients like that?

    Make what you want out of this story. It was great teaching for me, whichever way I tried to look at it.

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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