Welcome to Apportunities with iPads! My name is Phyllis Brodsky and I have been a special educator working in the field of severe and multiple disabilities for the past 25 years. Within that capacity and within my role as an adjunct instructor teaching graduate courses in a teacher preparation program in the College of Education at the University of ArizonaI have consistently advocated for the use of technology to eliminate barriers for individuals with physical, sensory and cognitive disabilities. Since 1985 when I first worked with a 4 year old child with cerebral palsy on an Apple IIe using switch access, I have used Apple technology for instruction and personal use.
When the iPad, primarily designed as a platform for audio-visual media, was released in April of 2010 I knew I was witnessing history and that the use of Apple technology was about to change lives in ways we had not even begun to imagine.
I am so fortunate this year as I am currently the program coordinator for an amazing new project which supports students with intellectual disabilities in attending the University of Arizona and accessing campus life. Project FOCUS (Focusing Opportunities with Community and University Support) is a model demonstration grant funded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) designed to “create or expand high quality, inclusive model comprehensive transition and postsecondary programs for students with intellectual disabilities.”
We are currently implementing a 1:1 iPad programs for the students enrolled in Project FOCUS. We are primarily concentrating on apps that improve communication, increase academic access, support independence, encourage social relationships, and provide ways for students to self-regulate stress or anxiety.
As an assistive technology advocate, an app developer and an Apple Distinguished Educator, I believe that Apple’s iOS technology has the power to open doors of worlds we’ve never entered before with children and adults with disabilities. But I believe that teaching creates the magic.