• Joshua Harmening

Why Your DD Family Member needs an iPad


When it comes to technology, I sometimes feel like Wilma Flintstone, living in a Jane Jetson world. But

​let’s face it, technology is here to stay and if we embrace it, it can be so helpful. There are many great and wonderful digital applications available for children and adults with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities.

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Having an iPad in hand, a person with developmental disabilities becomes just a little more independent.

Even if they need some (or a lot of) support at the beginning, having an app tell you it’s time to move on to the next task is so much less “naggy” than having a support person say it over and over again.

Before I go too far into my post, I want to apologize up front if this sounds like an advertisement for Apple products. I understand, as a parent of a 17-year-old with an intellectual disability, the fear of spending a lot of money on something that might get broken, when there are less expensive options out there. Take it from me, the less expensive tablets break as well. The big difference is that the Android tablets, Amazon Fire, and Kindles do not have the apps that are available for the iPad.

Most of the apps for people with disabilities designed for Apple products are very user friendly.

...even Wilma Flintstone can use them. I had bought an Android tablet for my son to use. We put a communications app and a few schedule-type apps on it. They felt a bit clunky, were difficult to use and not customizable. After an unfortunate event which resulted in a smashed screen, my son is now using my iPad (with supervision) and is enjoying more freedom because of the great apps.

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Being the Employment Services Coordinator, I want to focus on technology in employment:

Best Paid Apps:

Proloquo2Go - This is a great tool for those who are non-verbal. It’s symbol-based app helps users learn how to express themselves. While you might not view this as an “employment tool”.

Work Autonomy - Has 3 sections: Messages, Schedules, and Production. Any or all three can be turned on to use. Content can be captured using video, photo, text and/or voice. It was created to be used by a person with an intellectual disability to track concrete information about their work. This is a great app with many features, but has a high price tag (I do think it’s worth it, though).

A few great free apps are:

Can Plan, Wunderlist, and Stepping Stone. All three of these are free and while they all are task orientated, they all have different features making them a little different to fit different needs.

Also, with the use of an iPad, you can create a video resume that the job seeker can show a potential employer.

These are just a few of my favorite apps for employment, there are many more. Please leave a comment below with any apps you or your loved ones have found especially useful! We love getting new ideas.

If you are contemplating technology for your loved one with a developmental disability, consider an iPad, they are the most versatile and user friendly.

You might also want to purchase a good screen protector, case, and something to carry it in.

If you or someone you know in the Upper Wenatchee Valley would benefit from our employment services or if you have a business and are interested in hiring someone with a developmental disability, please contact us using the form below.


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