The iPad, and other tablets like it, may actually be a magic and revolutionary device after all. Because, at least in this instance, it’s given a disabled seven-year old boy the ability to communicate with the world.
Owen Cain lives with spinal muscular atrophy type 1, a motor-neuron disease that that leaves him largely paralysed, mute and prone to infection. He’s still able to read, though, and write and do maths. And with the iPad, he’s able to do all of those things with much more ease than ever before.
It turns out that in addition to being an effective communication tool – with its large screen and diverse software options – the iPad is also generally less expensive than many dedicated therapeutic devices that seek to accomplish the same task. For Owen, the sensitive touchscreen means he can flip through the pages of Alice in Wonderland on his own, and apps like Proloquo2Go help him communicate full ideas and needs with a single screen tap.
And the keypad, though a little too wide for Owen’s limited range of motion, helped him tell his parents that he wanted to be Han Solo for Halloween. For his parents, that’s some kind of magic. [NYT]