Mom, expert: iPads would be cheaper, more helpful for special-needs kids

Mom, expert: iPads would be cheaper, more helpful for special-needs kids

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Apple devices have become the norm in society today. Instead of simply being socially acceptable, they’ve become almost socially expected.

Shawn Manvell, a licensed speech language pathologist, works with people who have speech disabilities. Among some of her current clients are 5-year-old Chloe Porter and 3-year-old Miles Dransoff. 

Chloe has Down syndrome. She can speak but uses a iPad to communicate more complex information.

Miles has autism and is completely nonverbal, but he can communicate using the Apple device.

His mother, Caitlin Dransoff, says it’s helped him tremendously. 

“I think when he saw a response with the iPad, when he pressed a button and saw something coming back, it really helped him communicate with people," the mother says. 

The problem is that the Apple devices often aren’t approved by insurance companies. Instead, insurance companies approve a larger machine that is strictly used for communication and significantly more costly. 

“It’s difficult to understand why this is not approved by insurance companies, because it’s so cost-effective. I can have the correct apps on here for my user and the device purchased for under $500. This (the DynaVox)is $8,500, and it’s not very user-friendly,” says Manvell. 

A Blue Cross Blue Shield representative is looking into whether the iPads are approved as durable medical equipment for people in need of communication devices. 

Manvell says she has called insurance companies several times trying to get the devices approved and has also written evaluations for her clients recommending the Apple devices as the best communication device to use.