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New study claims teens with autism learn faster when parents teach from iPads

A new study conducted by a group of American researchers claims to show that teenagers with autism learn things faster when their parents teach them with iPads. While technology has many advantages, experts point out that real-life experiences are always best in the long run.

It is important to equip children and youth with autism spectrum disorder with the support and skills needed to become independent and self-reliant. Given that many of them are able to learn things faster with images and videos, a team at the Florida Atlantic University in the United States looked at ways to help them improve these skills. Their study claims that youngsters can learn to eat, dress and perform daily tasks independently if they are shown how to with iPads.

But is this just another new study that seems to be hit the news every other week? Seema Lal the co-founder, of prominent Kerala-based parent support group, says that while technology does offer some great tools, real life connections and experiences is best for the child any day.

Renowned autism advocate Temple Grandin also talks about how limiting screen time and providing more real life experiences are important. In this new study, parents are talking about how iPad was a tool in helping to break down simple self-help tasks into do-able bits. Independent living should be a focus from an early stage. But most parents worry about this only when the child reaches adolescence. - Seema Lal, Co-founder, TogetherWeCan

The American study was conducted on teenagers between the ages of 12-17 years, a period when they are gearing up for adulthood. Both parents and children were introduced to iPads that made learning things easier. Researchers, after months of study, have arrived at the conclusion that teaching through such technological devices with videos can definitely be of immense help.

Too much of anything can do harm. Parents must also be aware of the fact that excessive usage of iPads or any technology can cause various side effects for the kid in many ways. Meanwhile, some parents prefer other methods over usage of such technologies. "Life skills training are important for a better quality and independent life. I use the usual sequencing model to teach life skills to my son", says Preetha Anoop Menon, who has a son with autism.

Also Read: New study says kids with autism more likely to be picky eaters

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