A specially-designed iPad application for autistic children could aid them in their lessons and become an easy at-home means of therapy for such children, an NGO working for disabled children in the national capital said Thursday.
Tamana, a non-governmental organization working for multiply challenged and autistic children in collaboration with Deakin University, Australia, launched TOBY (Therapy Outcomes by You) Playpad, a specially designed iPad application, which helps in making an early intervention for children with autism.
“The TOBY Playpad monitors children’s performance on tasks from a complex syllabus and covers social skills, language, sensory discrimination and cognitive skills. For example, the child can match pictures of the same color or shapes and learning becomes easy,” said Svetha Venkatesh, director, Pattern Recognition and Data Analytics (PRaDA) at Deakin University.
She also added that technology had been designed for parents and educators, which is cost-effective and easy to use with children at home. “The TOBY Playpad is available through the Apple iTunes Store and the application is available online for $30. It is currently targeted at children aged two to six years old,” Ravneet Pawha, country-director, Deakin University said.
Talking about the new assistive technology for autistic children, Shyama Chona, president, Tamana NGO said, “The use of the new method of technology for children with autism is limited, though technology seems to be a huge interest area for many of these children. The iPad application, the new assistive technology, is a new hope for autistic children.”
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects the brain in the areas of language and social skills, imagination and activity. There has been a staggering six-fold increase in autism cases in India, from 20 lakh in 2003 to 1.36 million autism patients at present; many parents are not even aware that their children may have this disability.
“Early intervention therapy will help many autistic children develop their learning ability. Our aim is to build awareness about the TOBY Playpad application and to reach out to as many people as possible,” Venkatesh said.