iPad Users group launches


First event saw more than 20 people connect and share iPad best practices
Tuesday February 14, 2012 — Camille Jensen

Nearly 20 people recently met at Metrotown’s Apple store to connect and swap stories about how they are using iPads.
The new group was launched by the Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion (BACI), Community Living Society and Spectrum Society, and aims to support innovation and best-practice sharing among people with disabilities who are using the tablet-style mini computers.

The iPad Users group meets monthly to share ways the tool can support people's daily lives.

The casual event sees people present on how they are using their iPads and what tools they find most beneficial.

Liz Etmanski, a BACI member and self-advocate, was one of the first presenters and shared a video she made about shopping and preparing healthy meals. For Liz, the video was a way to keep her goal of making and eating nutritious food at home. In addition to keeping her on track, she says the video received some good feedback from her peers.

“I got a few laughs and a few high fives, so it’s pretty good,” says Liz, adding it’s the first time she’s made a film using the iPad.

In addition to sharing how people who have a disability are using iPads to innovate in their daily lives, the meeting saw an Apple team member demonstrate tricks and applications (apps) for the group.

Liz credits the Apple staff member’s presentation for helping her learn new capabilities on her iPad that she wouldn’t have learned on her own, like searching for and downloading new apps.

Liz Etmanski, a BACI member, uses her iPad while an Apple employee looks on.

Helping people better understand and use the many tools available on the iPad is the main goal of the iPad Users group, according to Lisa Joy Trick, BACI’s manager of technology.  She says it’s an increasing trend for people who have a disability or their families to purchase iPads as the costs are relatively cheap when compared to traditional assisted technologies devices, which often cost thousands of dollars.

The difference is, assisted technologies used to be provided by trained professionals like a speech pathologist. With iPads, once the individual or family purchases the tool, they often don’t know what to do next.

“That’s one reason the iPad user group was formed. To offer this basic get together, let’s talk about it and see what’s going on space,” says Lisa Joy.

She says BACI is seeing people using iPads in a variety of ways, from a communications device — it has a VoiceOver tool that will read the contents of any page — to an organizational tool that helps people manage events and appointments.

The iPad can have a number of benefits, adds Lisa Joy, including increased socialization as people become more comfortable e-mailing and calling using the video phone. For people who have autism, she’s seen the calendar and appointment options provide individuals with a much-needed overview of their day.

“The iPad can set up a whole new set of possibilities for people,” she says.

The next Apple iPad Users Group will take place Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Metrotown’s Apple store. People can RSVP for the event here: http://ipadusergroup2.eventbrite.ca/

If you have feedback on this article, please contact the newsroom at 800-294-0051, or e-mail camille(at)axiomnews.ca.


One Response to “iPad Users group launches”

  1. BACI’s Ideas for Change to advance social inclusion « BACI Blast Says:

    […] success story that Ideas for Change is exploring is BACI’s iPad Users Group, which sees more than 20 people gather at Metrotown’s Apple store monthly to exchange learning on […]

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