Advantages of an iPad over a Computer for Students with Learning, Reading Disabilities and ADHD
1. Instant text to speech access, as found in the Speak option found natively on the iPad, will allow the iPad to read anything that appears on the screen (e.g. from a book, worksheet, web search or test and individuals can have the iPad read their own work back to them to make it easier to proof-read). This is less cumbersome than having to be logged onto Google Read & Write Gold or having to use an auxiliary app such as Word Q or Kurzweil and then copy and paste material into these apps.
2. Access to “on the spot” speech to text dictation (without the need for training) allows someone to write anything “anywhere” by talking (e.g. filling out a worksheet, completing forms, composing an essay or story, note-taking, entering text into Facebook or into an email, etc.).
3. The use of an optional keyboard permits individuals to type, if needed, or to remove the keyboard so they can read without the awkward position of a computer on a table (e.g. it can be taken to bed, used to read in a chair, can read in the car, etc.).
4. The use of fingers and/or a stylus or Apple Pencil permits individuals to highlight sections or to mark up information (e.g. putting in checkmarks, where needed, circling items, adding in a quick drawing, etc.) which is less difficult than having to line up a cursor and use a keyboard.
5. The built in camera enables individuals to take pictures of the board, notes and/or of a book for use with other adaptive software (e.g. conversions to PDF for reading, searching text, dictating answers/filling out forms onto camera-captured sheets, etc.)
6. The note-taking capability of Notability is especially helpful for incorporating pictures and recording explanations and/or lessons at the same time so that you can then go back and look at and listen to only specific sections (i.e. the lesson “comes back alive” in just the areas which are needed to be reviewed).
7. The built in use of Siri as a digital assistant is particularly helpful for booking “on the spot” appointments, scheduling, creating reminders and generating lists along with the capacity for the iPad to read back the items in these lists, calendars, etc.
8. The 10 hour battery life and light weight of the iPad are critical as many users will need to have access to an iPad extensively throughout the day.
9. The capacity to selectively engage or disengage apps and potential distractions through the Accessibilities features (i.e. can restrict access for web-surfing, games, etc.) is vital, particularly, for those with attentional issues. 1
0. The cost of add-on apps is exceptionally reasonable (e.g. most cost less than $5 and there are more than 800,000 apps available). Online reviews can help individuals locate the “best fit” for their own needs including productivity tools.
11. The use of an iPad minimizes the use of obstacles commonly associated with computers (i.e. instant start up, no need to go in and open specific apps as many important reading and writing tools are built in and work in the background for easy access).
Melissa Cait, M.A., ABSNP, C. Psych. Psychologist and Clinic Director