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autism, iPads, professional learning community, web-based learning


E-poster for the 18th World Federation of Occupational Therapy Congress.


Background and Significance

Since its emergence in 2010 the mobile technology of the iPad has excited both parents and teachers for its potential in the classroom. The portability of networked mobile technologies has helped students of all abilities to discover, influence, and examine knowledge as well as interact with educators and other students across the world.1 While many school students have access to iPads, simply having technology in the school environment does not ensure teachers are ready to use it to their full potential.2 Teachers need sufficient professional development to align knowledge of technology, pedagogy, and learning content.3 This professional development should occur over time and before, during, and after implementing the tool in the classroom.4 It should include specific professional development on the features of the iPad and Apps, and how to use the Apps in their lesson.5

iPads to Support Students with Autism was created by an occupational therapist (first author) to address the underutilization of iPad as a teaching tool in her school district; to move from a restricted pattern of use, for recreation and reward, to a balanced and comprehensive pattern that promotes achievement of academic outcomes (Figure 1).

PURPOSE: To establish iPads to Support Students with Autism as a valid mode of professional development for teachers.

AIM 1: iPads to Support Students with Autism adheres to principles of Heutagogy

AIM 2: iPads to Support Students with Autism adheres to principles of Professional Learning Communities (PLC)

AIM 3: iPads to Support Students with Autism uses evidence based tools for students with Autism

AIM 4: Teachers agree that iPads to Support Students with Autism is acceptable and usable