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New iPad app aims to give autistic children voice

Any parent can attest that raising a child demands a lot of patience, understanding and love. When a child has a physical or mental disability, the demands on a parent are even greater. Autism is perhaps one of the most baffling of all brain disorders. Individuals impacted by autism often have difficulty communicating and expressing thoughts and ideas. Autistic individuals also tend to have difficulty socially connecting with others and may engage in repetitive and disruptive behaviors.

Individuals diagnosed with autism span a wide spectrum. Severe cases of autism may render an individual unable to speak or communicate in a meaningful way. A new iPad application, however, may hold the key to helping these individuals effectively communicate.

Researchers at one U.S. university recently received a $1.2 million grant to conduct a four-year study on whether the app is successful in helping autistic individuals communicate. Recent studies indicate that many autistic individuals who are unable to verbally communicate function at a higher cognitive level than previously believed. Researchers conducting this study hope that technology such as the iPad app, may be useful in helping these children find their unique voices.

In many cases, children with disabilities such as autism require ongoing medical treatments and therapies to help control and combat the adverse symptoms and side effects associated with their disease or disorder. Ensuring a child has access to such treatments is critical, yet many families struggle financially to afford these services.

Thankfully, most individuals with autism qualify to receive social security disability benefits. These monthly benefits can help provide much-needed financial assistance to individuals and families impacted by autism.

Source: CBS News, "Researchers developing communication app for children with autism," Associated Press, July 31, 2013

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