HOUSTON – While Apple’s I-Pad is known for its convenience and high-tech capabilities, it’s also being used to help change the lives of autistic children.
Kyle and Tina Carkhuff’s 5-year-old son, Evan, was diagnosed with autism last year. Like many autistic children, he cannot talk. But in the last two months, Evan has shown astonishing progress.
"He started to play more with his brother, he is more interactive with us," said Tina Carkhuff.
The couple purchased an I-Pad and soon realized the device provided learning apps that helped give their son a voice.
"We started using the I-Pad to put pictures of the food on the I-Pad, then Evan can tap or scroll and tells us exactly what he is looking for," Tina Carkhuff said.
Tom Theriot, 10, has a similar story. Tom, who was diagnosed with autism at 2 years old, attends Spectrum of Hope, a center that provides therapy for autistic children in Cypress. The center has started using the I-Pad and I-Touch. For Tom's parents, it was a major breakthrough.
"It’s a way that I am going to get to know my child, he is a joker and loves to laugh," said his mother Laura Theriot. "We know he’s laughing, but have never been able to hear about what."
Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain. Intense therapy over many years has proven to reverse the disorder in some cases.
Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Richard Frye said the new technology won’t fix autism, but it is a critical aid.
"The I-Pad will fill in those gaps, fill in the places the brain isn’t working, and at this point that is an incredible step forward," said Frye.
And for families dealing with autism, a step forward is akin to one giant leap.