Our Stories - Amazing iPads

It has only been on the market less than two years – but the Apple iPad is continuing to stun special needs educationalists with its possibilities.

Ruth Glynne-Owen, who works with children who have communication difficulties, says “exciting” discoveries are being made on a daily basis.

For example, her Stirling-based charity called Speur-Ghlan (Gaelic for Cloudless Heavens) is working with one two-year-old whose parents had been told had significant learning difficulties.

Yet he picked up his father’s works iPad and to the couple’s astonishment, showed that he could actually spell and read words.

“He amazed us,” said Ruth.

“The boy is a twin and his parents were told he had severe learning issues.  He would not do anything with flash cards he was shown.

“But on an iPad, it turned out he could spell three and four letter words and identify colours.

“His parents had been told he could not do any of this.”

Speur-Ghlan is what’s called an “early intervention” organisation, which seeks to identify and treat pre-school children who have Autism and / or other developmental delays.

The Teddy Bear Foundation has donated two iPads costing £720 to help staff continue their work with kids from the Central Belt, Lothians, Lanarkshire and Perth and Kinross as well as Glasgow and Edinburgh.

A ‘distance service’ is being introduced to help other families from further afield.

Added Ruth:”It’s all about getting in early.  We are play-based and are very child-led.

“We don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ policy.

“The iPad development is very exciting.

“Some kids don’t engage with anything.  But take an iPad out and they open up enormously.

“We are finding kids with skills we never knew they had.”

Ruth now intends to make contact with the iPad’s makers, Apple, to see if she could do joint research into the machine’s potential to help children.

To top Speur-Ghlan’s good fortune, the charity has just discovered it has been granted £10,000 by the National Lottery’s ‘Awards For All’ fund.


Four-year-old Matthew shows Ruth (left) and mum Wendy how to use the iPad.

Matthew is learning how to use the iPad at Speur-Ghlan's base in Stirling.

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