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Apple’s Steve Jobs On The iPad’s Use By Kids With Special Needs

In a Wall Street Journal profile on how iPad apps are being used by special needs children, such as those who have speech impediments and as a communication tool — Steve Jobs commented on how even he did not have the foresight to see that the iPad could be used in such a fashion.

“We take no credit for this, and that’s not our intention,” Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. “Our intention is to say something is going on here,” and researchers should “take a look at this.”

Last year we reported on how how much cheaper Apple’s portabile devices were compared to the traditional speech software/hardware products, and how insurance companies were hesitant to reimburse for a significantly cheaper Apple products verse industry products. At the time of our report, insurance companies were willing to reimburse up to $8,000 for a product that could be replaced by an iPod Touch with speech therapy apps would cost approximately $600. Since our report on the topic last year, not much has changed.

Per the Wall Street Journal, cheaper Apple products are still not reimbursed by most private and government insurance, including Medicare. Industry device manufacturers state their products are significantly more expensive because of economies of scale — they have a much more limited audience and since they don’t sell a high volume of devices they have to charge a high margin.

This argument has some merit — but why most insurers continue to be hesitant about reimbursing for a device that delivers similar functionality but is cheaper is still puzzling — especially to parents of these children.

SOURCE: Wall Street Journal

[Note: The app featured in the picture and the Wall Street Journal is Proloquo2Go, used for those with cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities.]

*This blog post was originally published at iMedicalApps*

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One Response to “Apple’s Steve Jobs On The iPad’s Use By Kids With Special Needs”

  1. Brian Simms says:

    As a private speech language pathologist who specializes in augmentative communcation I have worked with the iPad and the more sophisticated devices. In my opinion, while the iPad has been added to my repertoire of devices to consider, the apps for communication have a long way to go before they reach the sophistication of dedicated ommunication devices. For one, they do not have the language sophistication nor the flexibility to help a child acquire language in order to be a proficient communicator. In addition, the iPad has only one access method: Touch. For my clients who can’t use their hands, this is not a possibility. So I would like to emphasize that although the iPad has been revolutionary in increasing awareness for kids with disabilities, it is still just another device to consider when selecting the most appropriate communication system for an individual.

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