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Madison students in Developmental Delay classrooms receive new iPads

Samuel Evers checks out a new iPad as his teacher, Lisa Snyder, looks on. (CONTRIBUTED)
Samuel Evers checks out a new iPad as his teacher, Lisa Snyder, looks on. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Four Madison campuses have new iPads for students in special education programs.

iPads have “significant applications to assist students with language acquisition and usage,” director of special education Dr. Maria Kilgore said. “The purchases were made possible with a $4,000 grant from Sen. Bill Holtzclaw and a generous donation from Knights of Columbus of Madison.”

Developmental Delay elementary classrooms that received one iPad AIR with protective case are Mill Creek, grades K-1; Columbia, grades 2-3 and some fourth-graders; and Rainbow, grades 4-6, along with grades 7-8 at Liberty Middle School.

Melissa Hyde said her students “have varying levels of skills and special needs. iPads let them learn ‘their way.'” Apps like Letter School allows students with deficits in fine motor skills to “finger write” letters. They learn letters and sounds with Starfall.

Emily Craig’s students use iPads for reading quizzes, research and checking school email.

Teachers use iPads for students’ “picture schedules,” Craig said. Because students can’t read clocks, picture schedules depict class activities and time with an image. As students complete work, they move the iPad’s activity icons from the list.

“Small children with developmental delays struggle with independence,” Lisa Synder said. “Little fingers with even the lightest touch can make something happen on an iPad, which reinforces independence, great joy and satisfaction.”

In Maureen Haas’ classes, children access Accelerated Reader “to take online reading comprehension quizzes after reading corresponding books.” Using apps, children “reinforce the acquisition of sight word vocabulary, alphabetic principles and basic math skills.”

Students who are nonreaders can access and listen to engaging online books, Haas said. Haas uses the iPad’s camera and video to document students’ learning progress and special activities.

At Liberty Middle School, iPads reinforce reading and math readiness skills, provide touch access for students who can’t type and access computer-based, intervention programs like SuccessMaker, Laura Viers said.

For students with limited fine motor skills, iPads are useful for any subject area that involves using a computer, Viers said.

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