The iPad and Preschool Children with Learning Difficulties

Preschool children learn through exploration of their environment, and a review of the research literature has revealed that learning can be enhanced through exploration that also includes the use of digital technologies. Although research can be found illustrating the use of computer assisted instruction to enhance learning with preschool children, research on the use of touch screen tablets with this population is just beginning to emerge. These devices offer the possibility of exploration in a new way, with ease of interaction on the touch screen, thousands of early learning applications, engaging multimedia capabilities, and reasonable cost. They have great potential as an early learning digital tool. However, little information exists on how this potential can be utilized effectively with young children with learning difficulties. The focus of this study was to look at the use of early learning applications loaded on the iPad, one of the touch tablets available, by preschool children with learning difficulties. The study also examined the applications that the children and parents chose to use, parent perceptions of the use of the iPad by the child, parent/child interactions while using the iPad, and the supports that parents and families needed to use the iPad effectively.