Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery -- iPad as Therapeutic Tool

Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery -- iPad as Therapeutic Tool

Summary: Reports of Rep. Giffords' progress with an iPad are not surprising, as Apple's tablet is playing a role in the treatment of patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries, with good results.

SHARE:
TOPICS: iPad, Mobility
27

The amazing recovery of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords from a devastating gunshot wound to the head is a welcome bright spot in the aftermath of the tragic incident in Tucson. Doctors have reported that Rep. Giffords is "beginning to stand with assistance, she is scrolling through an iPad". While Giffords' recovery is astounding given the severity of her injury, the role of the iPad in her therapy is not surprising. Apple's tablet is playing a role in the treatment of patients with a variety of illnesses and injuries, with good results.

Healthcare providers were quick to discover that severely autistic children naturally take to the iPad, and that such interaction was therapeutic. Patients with a variety of disabilities have found the iPad to be a way to interact with the world, and communicate with those providing care in ways not possible before the iPad was introduced into the scenario. Therapists treating those with severe trauma affecting motor control and cognitive skills find the iPad easy for such patients to operate, while other methods fail.

The iPad is a good tool for providing those who cannot speak, such as Rep. Giffords, with a voice to communicate with caregivers and family members. The app Proloquo2Go allows patients to converse normally with others by combining thoughts and phrases represented by easy to tap icons, resulting in coherent sentences spoken aloud in a natural-sounding voice. This app is expensive at $189, but far cheaper than medical appliances that have been used prior to the appearance of the iPad. The app is being used to treat trauma victims, stroke patients and others with the inability to speak.

Doctors have not stated that the iPad will be used in the therapy of Rep. Giffords, but given her progress with the tablet it will not be surprising to hear progress reports detailing its use in her care. May her progress continue rapidly, that she may have a total recovery.

Topics: iPad, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

27 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • The sad part is that this technology existed for years

    and no one was bright enough to try it before.
    John Zern
    • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

      @John Zern Actually they did, but medical appliances that did this cost thousands of dollars. The iPad has put the technology in the hands of individuals and parents of children with special needs, and that's wonderful.
      JamesKendrick
      • That simply isn't true

        @JamesKendrick
        [i]The iPad has put the technology in the hands of individuals and parents of children with special needs[/i]

        Windows tablets have always been available with software specifically built to help autistic children. The difference is that Apple is using this as a marketing gimmick to make people think this is new. It isn't new. Not even close.

        I think it is sad that Apple is using autism as a marketing gimmick though. :(
        NonZealot
      • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

        @JamesKendrick
        James I agree with you completely. Steve Jobs realized the use of iOS in the Health Care industry and if you look at iPad, it is actually becoming a defacto appliance in the hospitals. I have noticed at good number of hospitals that use iPads to work with patients regulary by its staff including physicians, and nurses. I had seen Windows tablets from Gateway, ViewSonic etc. prior to this.
        Ram U
      • It depends on the level of functionality

        @Non Zealot<br><br>The difference is that Windows as a full operating system is more complex for severely autistic people. (for higher functioning autism it may not be as much of a problem; I don't know.) It is too easy to get lost in folders and inadvertently change settings if the person using it just keeps clicking menus and icons and stuff. <br>I know because my brother has autism and we tried for years to get him into computers. I admit that we never tried a Windows Tablet because it was too expensive to buy not knowing if it would be any better. But using regular PCs and Macs was daunting and required immediate supervision. (If I left him alone, all the settings would be changed when I returned)<br>Now when he uses my Pops iPad he has a much easier time navigating and access into settings is not as easy.<br>This is not the Mac vs. PC thing you want it to be NZ, it is just about which technology is better suited for these kind of problems.
        Tigertank
      • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

        @NonZealot

        One of my friends has a son that was recently diagnosed with autism. Can you point me to some of that software. the only thing I can find is some sort of flash card software, which is entirely bogus.
        msalzberg
      • NonZealot can't help you...

        NonZealot can't help you because he hasn't a clue what he's talking about. He suffers from foot-in-mouth disease.
        olePigeon
      • @SuperZealot.

        [Read] what James wrote. Then think what you wrote and why what you said sounds silly. Thousands VS hundreds. HUGE difference.<br><br>Likewise. No stylus needed. For those of little mind, a stylus requires fine motor control and this is something the target audience often lacks or is trying to develop. Likewise, for many quads and others with motor skill deficiencies, even the force of a resistive touch screen can be difficult while the capacitive touch screens are easy to use.<br><br>It is sad, SuperZealot is using autism to rag on Apple yet again.
        Bruizer
    • It always is sad

      @John Zern

      But really what's often required is an existing tool need to find a form that puts it into enough bright peoples hands for new applications to emerge. I take my son to a pediatric neurodevelopmental center for speech issues. While they don't use an iPad on him they tell me it has been nothing short of amazing for interacting with severely impaired and autistic children. All that really matters is doctors have found a new tool for treating patients.
      oncall
      • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

        @oncall

        If only this talk back section had ended with your comment. It just about sums everything up nicely. My Best of Luck wish for your son.
        kenosha77a
      • @kenosha7777: Just to clarify

        From oncall's post:
        [i]All that really matters is doctors have found a new tool for treating patients.[/i]

        To be more accurate, they haven't found a new tool. All that's happened is that we have yet another tablet manufacturer running software that is being used in a medical environment. This isn't new at all. The only thing that has changed is the logo of the multi-national, multi-billion $$$/year mega-corporation that has been slapped on the back of the Made in China device.

        It is a good thing that people are being helped but let's not pretend this is anything new. It isn't.
        NonZealot
    • Apple has just been more successful at bragging about it

      @John Zern <br>A quick Internet search revealed that autism software for touch screen computers / tablets have been out there for years. The thing is that the Apple friendly media have latched onto this as "proof" that the iPad is innovative. It isn't. Autism software on tablets isn't in the least bit new. It just wasn't used by anyone's marketing arm as an advertising gimmick.
      NonZealot
      • Shameless manipulation on your part

        @NonZealot: before iPad, such systems costed from $7500 to $15000, so Apple's device is truly revolutionary for countless people who could never afford that technology before. <b>It is fundamental and it is a change forever</b>.
        DDERSSS
      • There was never such software for Windows tablets which would do things

        @NonZealot: that cost $7500-15000.

        Only iPad brought it.
        DDERSSS
      • @denisrs: You are lying

        Again.
        NonZealot
      • Why don't you just go away?

        NonZealot that is. It's clear you have no idea at all about autism or how much the hardware software bundles typically cost. You're just an ignorant, vain buffoon who needs to go and get a life, a clue, a brain etc.

        Here's [b]just one[/b] of the packages out there... http://www.laureatelearning.com/specials/autpack.html
        that demonstrate that you clearly know nothing about such products or their costs.
        zkiwi
      • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

        Zing!
        WarhavenSC
      • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

        @NonZealot
        You too are heartless, If it works leave it alone.
        choyongpil
    • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

      @John Zern <br><br>I think the quote above, she is scrolling through an iPad speaks volume here about the fluidness of the iPad's UI. This makes all the difference when discussing such tech and accessibility needs. Instant feedback is key, plus no resistive screens, no full OS bloat with unnecessary features for such a device. Cost is low. <br><br><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vomkNSluWW4&feature=fvwrel" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vomkNSluWW4&feature=fvwrel</a>
      dave95.
  • RE: Rep. Giffords' Road to Recovery - iPad as Therapeutic Tool

    I hate to admit this, but I use iPad for more than ebook reading and as days progress I found more use of it aside from the time I use for flying. The recent updates and upcoming iOS 4.3 update make it more enterprise useful. I had ASUS R2H, HTC Shift to do the same stuff but now iPad is taking over more in my daily life. I have both Galaxy Tab and iPad and I found iPad is more than Slate. Of course iPad is app centric doesn't have something like Windows Phone 7 Hub concept, which would make it more enterprise useful, but still it is better than rest of the Tablets. But I keep my hopes up for Windows 7 Tablets that are coming rest of the makers. Until Google corrects its updates policies and stricter User Experience guidelines, the tablets using Android will suffer. Only people who are looking for ad revenue will end up writing apps for it and in a long run it will not be good. Look at Mac Appstore, it is nearing 10 billion mark, and if Steve Jobs brings full Mac OSX with iOS specific UI, I think that would make eventually only two platforms in the slate/tablet spectrum - one from Microsoft geared towards total enterprise and consumers and other from Apple doing the same. Android, with the legal cases going on Google, its momentum will be slowed down. If you notice, it is going in the same pattern as Microsoft. Bill G stepped down when it was going through heck of cases and now Eric S stepped down when Google is surmounted with litigations. History repeats itself.
    Ram U