February 23, 2018

Using the iPad with Young Children

What is the iPad?


iPad – is the first tablet computer from Apple. The iPad is a flat, rectangular computer with a large, 9.7-inch Touchscreen on its face. It is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 1.5 pounds. It comes in six models – 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, with or without 3G connectivity. All models offer Wi-Fi. The iPad runs a version of the iPhone operating system and, as a result, can run programs from the App Store. It allows existing apps to upscale their size to fill its entire screen (newer apps can be written to fit its larger dimensions). Apps are applications purchased in the Apple’s App store, and are downloaded right on to the iPad itself.

iPad 2 – The iPad 2 is the second-generation iPad tablet computer from Apple. The iPad 2 is primarily different from its predecessor in terms of its size and weight (it’s thinner and lighter), its faster processor, and inclusion of two cameras, while the first-generation model had none. As before, the iPad 2 runs the iOS and, as a result, can run programs from the App Store.


How does it work?


The iPad is inherently easy to use due to its Touchscreen and iOS–there are very few learning barriers for the user experience to separate the user from the content they’re interacting with, making it ideal for younger users. Children touch the screen to activate and interact with the programs.


Why use it with young children?

It is lightweight, easy to operate, and can offer an incredible variety of learning and recreation options for young children. It is fun! It is cheaper than a laptop.


A new PBS survey has 70% of parents reporting that they allow their kids to use their iPad. The habit is so widespread that the average number of apps such people downloaded for their kids was eight–meaning well over 10% of the apps on the average iPad that’s shared with kids are specifically chosen for kids. More than 40% of these kids used the iPad at least once per day. And though they’re frequently used for entertainment, 90% of parents suggest that “educational value” is the key criteria when choosing an app for kids


What can young children do with it?

Use apps for preschoolers, early learning, and for specific disability areas

Compensate for physical limitations

Create or play with music and drawing

Watch videos

Look at photos (take photos with the iPad2), slideshows with photos

Listen to music

Use it as an Augmentative Communication device


What are the drawbacks and limitations in using it with young children?

The things that are so good about it-the Touchscreen, easy on/off, and easy navigation between apps make it seem like a really good toy!


Young children are explorers—they are going to push and slide things on the screen

They are button pushers so the device is going to be turned on and off a lot.  If you want them to use an app, adults are going to have to structure situations around the app and initially play WITH the child and the iPad.


Some children can quickly begin to perseverate or self-stim using iPad applications.


When and how an AAC app is introduced is important because after initial exploration, you want some specific to be done with it-communication!


Turning on the iPad may be tricky-but RJ Cooper has come up with an ingenious app for training this skill.


There are no commercial keyguards as yet, but I think homemade ones can be used.


Because the iPad doesn’t have USB ports, connecting switches can be difficult. RJ Cooper is working on this with a wireless switch.


You can print using a wireless network and an Air print Printer.


Specific cause and effect programs are just emerging.  RJ Cooper has just offered his Rad Sounds as an app.


Remember the iPad can be damaged if thrown or dropped.

( RJ Cooper-Ultimate iPad Carrying Case @$99)



Floris Palmer, MS, CCC-SLP