|Packed Lecture at Tel Aviv University Autism Conference
At the recent two-day conference in Tel Aviv University, "Speaking about Autism," Ms. Yonit Hagoel-Karnielli, Director of Ezer Mizion's VOCA Lending Center, together with Ms. Sharon Shacham, speech pathologist at Ezer Mizion's Merkaz Omer, delivered the keynote address to a packed audience of speech pathologists and special education professionals as well as a four-hour workshop on the tremendous possibilities iTech holds for people with autism.
When i-devices (iPad, iPod, iPhone) first appeared on the market, much was said about their potential in areas such as books, films, games, social networks and office functions. Millions of i-devices were purchased around the world and used easily even by young children.
It did not take long for the potential these devices held for the special needs community, and especially for children with autism, to become apparent. iPads could be applied for learning, communication skills, social skills, time organization and behavior modification. Within a year, hundreds such applications were created, making learning with i-devices accessible and enjoyable for people with autism.
In her lecture at the conference Mrs. Hagoel-Karnielli contrasted the iPad to current computer options for alternative and augmentative communication - lower cost, ready availability and ease in programming. She discussed various applications that take advantage of the unique qualities of these devices to enable interaction, stimulation-response, turn taking, and more.
The workshop following the lecture was packed, as people sought to hear more about how to creatively utilize the potential of the iPad in the clinic, school and home. Mrs. Hagoel-Karnielli offered practical tools for beginning work with i-devices. "This session was the highlight of the entire conference!" participants agreed as they left the workshop.
Following the conference, Ms. Hagoel-Karnielli was asked to address an i-Digital Co. seminar for computer coordinators in special education frameworks from across the country on "iPad Applications and Communication Computers."
Her goal is to raise awareness of the versatility of iPads for special needs populations and to raise funding for the purchase of iPads for free loan from the Ezer Mizion VOCA Lending Center by communication impaired populations. "My dream is to make this device available to every child and adult who can benefit from its features", she said.
Donate $1,250 and sponsor an iPad for a person who can't speak.