Saturday, February 26, 2011

Communication Options... Archos vs iPad

We have been thinking about getting an iPad for several months now after attending a training workshop in Orlando Florida at the national convention for The Arc in November.  It was really exciting to see all the possibilities on that unit for people with special needs.  Vision impairments, hearing impairments, speech aides, there were alot of really cool things the iPad could do.

The price of the iPad is minimal compared to say a DynaVox but they are still rather expensive when your talking about getting them for five year old identical twin boys who can be very naughty and end up throwing things for no apparent reason on a daily basis.  My husband Tom has been researching the Archos 70, 250GB Tablet Computer.  The price of that is even better yet at about $350.

We have been told recently that they (speech therapist and behavioral specialist) think that my boys are good candidates for an iPad.  For those that are just reading this doing a search from google on comparing iPad and Archos, I have 5 year old identical twin boys BOTH with PDD Autism and Down Syndrome and who also both happen to be non-verbal.  We have been communicating with them via sign language for the past 4 years.  We are very proud of that.  From the mouth of an educator who works with my boys we were informed that "this is another disability in itself".  When I asked what she meant by that she said, "Well nobody knows what they are saying when they sign."  That truly cut me to the heart.  She was right.  We can only teach so many people sign language... and let me say I have truly done my part by bringing Sign Language Workshops to The Arc of Jefferson County.. But really when the boys goto school the kids will not know how to sign to them and everywhere we go now a days, everyone can tell they are signing, but they ask us what they are saying.  It makes me sad that we have come so far and its still not enough.

Not only are my boys signing as well as they do, they are also reading more than 150 words thanks to the Your Baby Can Read program.  So after some discussion we have decided that since the boys are reading and starting to understand words.. they can identify all of their letters.. we may try to get them to begin communicating with pictures and words on an iPad or Archos.  There is software out there that will "speak" the words for you, I think this is probably becoming very socially acceptable to carry around a computer gadget with you wherever you go.

Looking for feedback from those that have used one or the other.

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