Karnataka

Autistic children to get iPad training in new lab

Managing Director of SAP Labs V.R. Ferose and Joint Secretary of Autism Society of India V. Mathias with children at the inauguration of project Prayas in Bangalore on Tuesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan

Managing Director of SAP Labs V.R. Ferose and Joint Secretary of Autism Society of India V. Mathias with children at the inauguration of project Prayas in Bangalore on Tuesday. Photo: K. Gopinathan  

The iPad has been a sought-after device for various reasons — due to its technical superiority for gadget freaks, or as a status symbol for others.

Now the gadget will be put to a more meaningful use. The Autism Society of India, in collaboration with the Spastics Society of Karnataka, launched project Prayas here on Tuesday, in which individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders will be imparted training in the use of computers and iPads.

The training centre, within the premises of the Spastics Society at Indiranagar, was inaugurated on Tuesday. SAP Labs has funded the project to a large extent.

Ninety children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the age group of 5 to 18 will be trained over three years. The training aims at enhancing their cognition, communication and social skills, as well as giving pre-vocational and vocational training to those in the 12 to 18 age group. The iPads and computers will be used to train 15 individuals every day for one and half hours. The batch will consist of groups of five, and each group will be trained by two teachers. The course will cost Rs. 1,500 a month. Kavita Sharma, coordinator and co-founder of the project, said the training was aimed at reinforcing potential, and the iPad was the chosen medium since it is an individualistic device.

The project is not limited to autistic children and is open to children from other schools catering to children with special needs, and students from mainstream schools.

Three schools in the city have shown interest in the project. Rita James, Principal of Asha Kiran, a special needs school, felt that the initiative was a good one, given that some students have an aptitude for technology.

Fifteen-year-old Ujwal Sharma seemed to agree. When asked what he preferred — the desktop or the iPad — this while he was ‘Googling' on the computer in the lab, he immediately replied, “I like the iPad. It talks to me (through an application called ‘Talking Tom').”

“The IT capital needs to cater to those with special needs as well. Depending on its success, we will be expanding it,” said V.R. Ferose, Managing Director, SAP Labs.

For more information, call the Autism Society of India on 23225279 or 2323057.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 12:34:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/autistic-children-to-get-ipad-training-in-new-lab/article2106230.ece

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