iPad Technology Helps Down Syndrome Student Communicate - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

iPad Technology Helps Down Syndrome Student Communicate

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By Chris Cannon

FRANKLIN, Tenn. - Ryan Williams knows the words to the classic Cat In The Hat books, but he cannot say the famous lines. The 7-year-old has Down Syndrome and limited communication skills, but new technology is helping his voice be heard.

"He has it all up in his head. It's just expressing it that's the hard thing, and that's where the iPad comes in," said special education teacher Sarah Roberts.

She teaches Williams literacy at Pearre Creek Elementary School in Franklin.

After doing some research, Williams' teacher discovered an application for the iPad that would help the second grader communicate more effectively. It is called Prologue2Go.

"Literally, anyone can come up, and he can say what he wants. It's clear; it's consistent, and there's just not that frustration, and he's getting what he wants," Roberts explained.

The app has different categories Williams can choose, and with a tap of the touch screen, what he sees, the computer verbalizes.

From songs he wants to sing, to food the boy wants to eat, he can find the picture and the computer will tell his teachers, or parents, what he is thinking.

In the two months Williams has used the app, everyone who works with him has noticed a change in his temperament.

"And I think it's just creating a lot more positive atmosphere because there's just not that frustration with communication," Roberts said.

The technology also allows the Williams to better integrate with his fellow classmates. The boy is able to participate in many activities, that in the past, were not an option.

The benefits are not only in the classroom. The app has had a big impact at home, as well. Williams now has an easier time getting his point across to his parents and two sisters.

"I think he's in a better humor, than before, because he doesn't get frustrated telling us what he wants," said the child's father Tom Williams.

From something as simple as choosing a movie to watch, or picking out a snack, the iPad allows the 7-year-old's voice to be heard.

"I never realized it would have this kind of impact on somebody who can't verbally communicate," the boy's father said.

The skills Williams masters today will prepare him for the rest of his life.

"He's learning to type on an iPad. He's learning how to communicate, which will transfer to texting and other things as he gets older," Roberts explained.

Williams' parents purchased the iPad for him to use in class. The communication app was an additional $180.

He is the only student at his school using the technology, but there are several other students in the Williamson County district who are benefiting from the device.

Email: ccannon@newschannel5.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/NC5ChrisCannon
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