iPads Improve Language Skills in Kids with Autism

A new study has found that iPads can help facilitate the language development of children with autism.
A new study has found that iPads can help facilitate the language development of children with autism.

A new study has found that using iPads can help children with autism improve their language skills, CBS News reports. In the study, 61 kids, ages 5 to 8, were given speech therapy for 6 months. Half of the children were given access to iPads, while the other half were not. All of the kids involved in the study were "minimally verbal," meaning they had a vocabulary of fewer than 20 words.

The researchers found that the children using iPads doubled the number of words in their vocabulary, compared with those who did not use the device. The kids using iPads also showed much faster improvement in their language skills during the course of the study.

Dr. Connie Kasari, a professor of human development and psychology and psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles who helped to conduct the study, said that children benefit from using tablets because they allow for repeated practice, and the visual stimulants encourage verbal response. Using device like an iPad can also help clarify words the child is struggling with and may even alleviate the pressure to communicate, she explained.

This latest study is particularly interesting to us at Little Pim. We've heard from many families of children with autism who have expressed how much our program helped their kids communicate better in English, their native language. Parents have told us that their children with autism are drawn to the colors and sounds of our videos and that they've improved their language skills significantly using Little Pim.

We embrace the way technology can help children learn. That's why made our immersive language program for kids available both on DVD and in digital form, so that kids can use tablets or other devices to learn languages. And our mobile apps are another great way for kids to learn languages while having fun at the same time.

If you have a child with autism, using an immersive language program like Little Pim on a tablet can be a great way for your child to improve his or her language skills. Our videos provide kids with visual and aural stimulation while encouraging feedback and repetition to help kids learn.

And if you have a child with Autism who's been helped by Little Pim, we'd love to hear from you! Email us at to share your story.

Stanford researchers say early language learning is critical

How do we begin to learn a language? How do young children go from the "goo" (baby talk) to being able to form real words and sentences by the time they're toddlers? In the video below, Stanford researchers discuss their studies involving children's language learning, what abilities are involved in language learning, and how language interacts with kids' understanding of their social world.

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The researchers explain the importance of understanding how kids learn so that we can begin to design better early childhood intervention programs for kids who aren't getting enough language input, or in cases of developmental disabilities.

They also stress that the language children are exposed to in infancy and early childhood has a huge impact on their later language and academic abilities. As Associate Professor Michael Frank says in the video,

The language exposure you get early on in life is really critical for your later language proficiency and your school performance.

Their conclusion backs up the premise behind our award-winning language learning program: the best time for kids to learn a language is before age 6. Be sure to check out the research behind our method to learn more about how we integrate scientific studies like these to help kids effectively learn languages, both native and foreign.

April is National Autism Awareness Month

At Little Pim, we’re proud of all of our little learners. But recently, we’ve been hearing some amazing stories from some Little Pim families in the Autism community. We'd thought we'd share a few to celebrate April's being National Autism Awareness Month: 1. “My 4-year-old daughter received a Spanish language set as a gift.  She is enjoying them, but I was very surprised to find that my 7-year-old son has become so interested in them.  He has Autism Spectrum Disorder and is an emergent reader.  The simplicity and repetition for a child who is an auditory learner over a visual learner is key. The content and the color palette is soothing enough not to overstimulate and therefore, makes it easier to keep his attention.   He has been watching them every morning and loves to call out his new words like "Perro!" and "Lapiz!" and "Manzana!"…It's hard to find a learning activity for both of my children.  It's hard for a child on the Autism Spectrum to hold his interest. These are wonderful tools for them.” 

2. "When our son was diagnosed with autism at 2 years of age, one of our main concerns was the delay in his language. After some research we purchased the Little Pim complete set in English. We were very pleased with the clear pronunciation of words and entertainment of the video. Little Pim provided our son with a fun opportunity to learn. Any child can benefit from Little Pim’s Immersion Method, whether it is to enhance their native tongue or to learn a new language."

We were delighted to hear such amazing stories. But we also wondered about how Little Pim’s language learning system was able to work so well for these emergent learners.

Adrienne Borgersen’s nephew has autism spectrum disorder. She’s also on staff at Little Pim and was  able to share this interesting background and perspective with us:

"Little Pim taps into both ‘ABA’ (Applied Behavior Analysis) and ‘echolalia.'

ABA is a tool used to educate students on the spectrum. It includes repetition reinforcement and reward.  Really, every teaching method uses repetition. You don't teach a child something once and expect them to learn it.

Echolalia is when children on the spectrum sometimes pick up bits and pieces of things and tend to repeat them.  If you recognize the echolalia speech, you can adapt your understanding of what someone is saying to help teach him conversation and social skills…it’s the same concept as teaching a different language.   For example, if you sat with a child who spoke only Spanish, and you didn’t speak Spanish at all, you would first try to learn what he was saying. You would listen to what he said more than once. Through repetition, once you learned why he was saying it, then you could reverse and teach him your language.  It’s the same thing. When the communication is successful, you reward them. That’s the ABA techniques to teach, and hopefully diminish, echolalia.

This is all why my nephew is responding to the Little Pim method.  The color palette, the repetition, the calm, consistent style, is ‘speaking his language’.”

You can learn more about ABA at Autism Speaks' incredibly informative and user friendly site.

In addition, we'd like to say  Mazel Tov! (Hebrew), Felicitazioni! (Italian), Omedetô! (Japanese), and Pozdravlaiu! (Russian) in addition to our own hearty Congratulations! for all the accomplishments our special learners achieve every day.