Autism Light: Steve Jobs and the iPad

In Memory of Steve Jobs (1955-2011)

Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. created the iPad. It was first released on April 3, 2010. The second generation known as the iPad 2 was released in March 2, 2011. The iPad is an Autism Light because of the amazing way it is being used as a resource to help people with autism learn, communicate, and have fun. It is also being used by parents and professionals to improve teaching of people with autism. This is the first time an inanimate object has been made an Autism Light.

The iPad is a tablet computer-like device that uses various Apps to do different functions. It requires the user to touch the screen to interact with programs. The iPad can access the Internet through WiFi and and a high end model can also access it without WiFi through the 3G network. In less than two years there are now hundreds of Apps for the iPad being created to help people with autism.

The video below was produced by Apple Inc. and has two stories of how the iPad is being used to specifically help those with autism.


The truth be known there are hundreds of stories of how the iPad is being used for people with autism, because as Dr. Howard Shane said in the above video, the iPad is a game changer.  Here are links to three YouTube videos that feature families using the iPad to help their children with autism.

Many leaders in the autism community have noticed the difference that the iPad is making for children with autism, including these three Autism Lights.

  1. Gary James and his organization Apps for Children With Special Needs, specializes in demonstrating how the iPad Apps work. Gary James also has started programs where he is working on giving away an iPad to someone in each of the 50 states and to acquire 500 iPads for 100 schools. You may recall that Gary James was named an Autism Light on October 1, 2011.
  2. Curtis Maybin and his website, Autism News Wire, has a section devoted to news on the iPad.  You may recall that Curtis Maybin was named an Autism Light on September 27, 2011
  3. Laura Shumaker wrote a very helpful blog post called iPad for Autism: Selecting the Best Apps. You may recall that Laura Shumaker was designated an Autism Light on September 16, 2011.

Here are some resources for additional information on the iPad as it applies to autism.

Special thanks to Apple and Steve Jobs for creating the iPad. Autism Light was saddened along with the whole world to hear of the death yesterday of Steve Jobs, but there is a sense in which Steve Jobs will live on in the autism community through the iPad.

Autism Light is a daily look at diverse heroes to the world of autism.

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Alan Stokes
Autism Light is an upbeat but real blog that takes readers on a journey that recognizes diverse heroes in and for the autism community.
Alan Stokes

Alan Stokes

Autism Light is an upbeat but real blog that takes readers on a journey that recognizes diverse heroes in and for the autism community.

2 thoughts on “Autism Light: Steve Jobs and the iPad

  • I am going to purchase a ipad ,is the ipad 2 a good fit for autistic apps or do I have to get the pricerer one. limited budget father of autitic twin girls.  Smc

  • I remember when the iPad first came out, a father asked me earnestly, “Do you think the iPad will be better for my son than the Dynavox?” At the time, I didn’t know much about the iPad and apps specifically for kids of the spectrum hadn’t been created, so I hedged my bets. Thanks to Steve Jobs, the iPad has become a more accessible assistive communication device for kids on the spectrum. For that, he will always be thought of fondly.

    All parents have unique stresses as the result of raising children, but what is being done to help parents cope?

    My name is Crystal Lee, and I am a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Baylor University. For my dissertation I am studying stress and ways of coping with stress in parents. My hope is to use the data from my dissertation to create an effective way to help parents cope with stress.

    I am looking for parents of children ages 5-12 in three categories:

    1. Parents of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
    2. Parents of children with Type 1 Diabetes
    3. Parents of children with no diagnoses

    If you meet the above criteria, please take this survey, which takes 30-45 minutes to complete:

    If you do not meet the above criteria, please consider forwarding the survey to any parents you know that fit the above criteria.

    People who complete the survey can participate in a drawing for one of three $50 giftcards to Additionally, people who refer others to the survey get their name added into the drawing for each person they refer.

    If you have any questions regarding the study, you may contact me at [email protected]

    Thank you for your time and help,

    Crystal Lee, M.S.
    Doctoral Student
    Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
    Baylor University


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