Is the iPad a Good Buy For a Special Needs Adult?

We bought Linda an iPad for Christmas. She is an adult with special needs, Williams Syndrome to be exact. She can read and write but has  poor coordination. Her visuo-spatial awareness is very poor, again typical of Williams Syndrome symptoms. She had used a laptop but couldn’t quite get to grips with the mouse and lost interest in the games fairly quickly. As an iPad is both technical and expensive the question was would she use it enough to justify the purchase?

We made our decision in December 2010 so the iPad1 was the only option available. The extra advantages of the iPad2 might actually have been disadvantages for Linda – the iPad1 is thicker and potentially more robust (we think). We also bought a fairly hefty rubberised cover to provide protection against inevitable knocks and drops. The absence of a camera also reduces the temptation to take the iPad1 outdoors to take pictures, though it would have been useful for FaceTime chats.

So, 8 months in, are we happy with the decision?

The answer is a resounding yes!

Linda loves it. She plays many different games, Angry Birds, Bubble Shooter, Falldown… they keep her amused for hours and it’s just amazing to see how her coordination has improved over the months of happy play. We did try her with Parcel Panic but she really didn’t get the idea of steering – though the concept has affected the way she plays Angry Birds, often tipping the iPad to try to get pigs to drop off their support!

Maybe even more benefits come from accessing various news apps – she particularly likes reading, listening and watching BBC news reports. She can spend hours.

We loaded it up with copies of her favourite videos and she never tires of watching the same episodes… even laughing as she announces, “Just watch what happens next!”.

If you’ve ever wondered whether your special needs adult might use an iPad, well, I’d be tempted to say give it a go.

It’s been a real breakthrough for Linda!