The Aleh Hanegev center http://www.aleh.org/eng/ deals with the community of disabled children and young adults.
The following story relates how the new technologies are creating opportunities for development.
When Gila brought her iPad to work, she never dreamed what the ramifications would be for Einat, a special-needs resident at Aleh Moriah. But this amazing gadget is now providing Einat and her friends with an entirely new window of opportunity for development and communication!
Gila, an occupational therapist, had downloaded a picture application onto her iPad for her own young daughter. She decided to show it to Einat, in the hopes of provoking a reaction. Einat had never shown much motivation, or demonstrated any ability or understanding of colors and shapes, so Gila was amazed when Einat was able to ‘copy’ a picture of a house – down to the exact roof and number of windows.
What made the moment more significant – Gila sent the picture to Einat’s father via email on the iPad, and Einat’s father was able to express his joy and pride on the spot, directly through Skype! Since that breakthrough moment, Einat has been able to communicate regularly with her parents in Tzfat (northern Israel), sending them photos and video messages in real time. Because they are located so far away, Einat’s parents could only travel to see her occasionally; with this newfound way of interacting via iPad the family connection has grown much stronger – and Einat has simply blossomed!
Because iPads work with a simple touch screen, even the most disabled people are able to use the specialized applications and games. But beyond providing entertainment, the iPads have helped our residents uncover hidden abilities! They have shown themselves capable of drawing, interacting, choosing music, actively participating in cognitive skills-building, and independently engaging in sensory stimulation – all things they would not have been able to do otherwise.