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Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
iPads and other tablet computers are more than a novelty for many students with disabilities, including deaf students in Pennsylvania, youngsters with autism in Southern California, and children with Down syndrome. They are tools that pave a fresh path to learning. Tablet computers are useful for students with disabilities because some of the applications available for them easily and cheaply replace bulky, expensive older forms of assistive technology. For children with poor fine-motor skills, the touch-screen design is easier to use than a desktop computer with a mouse or a laptop with a touchpad. The screen's size makes the gadget user-friendly for students with vision problems. The machines offer a sense of independence many children, especially those with disabilities, may never have experienced before. Districts that have taken the plunge are pleased with the initial results. Some school districts are being more cautious, however, recognizing that it is likely the device will benefit their students in special education, but waiting to see the best ways to use them. Other advantages of tablets are their simplicity and the ease with which they can be customized, important for all students, but especially those with special needs. The touch screens offer instant gratification for students with limited patience or those who can't understand the connection between a mouse and computer screen.