Kids with disabilities get high-tech boost

Kids with disabilities get high-tech boost

The News Journal | August 9, 2011 | By Kelly Bothum

Technology makes our world easier, whether it’s reheating food in a microwave, using GPS to guide us to an unfamiliar location or clicking on the computer to talk face-to-face with someone on the other side of the globe.

But for children with disabilities, technology goes a step further, to help them better understand their own bodies and be part of the world around them. Handheld communication devices can lend a voice to answer a classmate’s question. Motorized wheelchairs allow for spontaneous exploration and discovery. Cochlear implants and other devices make it possible to hear.

Even technology created for the masses, like the iPad, can reduce the disconnect these children may experience and boost fine motor skills. Apps that offer back-and-forth questions and answers encourage socialization and interaction.

Still, there’s an ongoing struggle between developing new technology and meeting the existing needs of people with disabilities, said Cole Galloway, a physical therapy professor at the University of Delaware and one of several local researchers looking at ways to improve movement in children with disabilities.

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