Handheld Palm devices benefit the
TORONTO – Palm
Canada has announced a Palm Foundation cash grant and the donation of
100 Palm handhelds and accessories to kick-start a new e-Learning
program at the Geneva Centre for Autism, based in Toronto.
The resources are being used for training and technical-support costs
associated with transferring paper-based visual cues and reminders onto
Palm handheld devices. The handheld’s design, portability, ease of use
and ability to support visuals has proven to be a valuable learning tool
for individuals with autism.
The announcement represents Phase II of Palm’s commitment to Geneva
Centre for Autism. In Phase I, Palm worked with the centre to create an
e-Learning pilot program that involved training a small group of teens
and young adults with autism to use Palm Z22 handhelds.
As part of Phase II, the centre is receiving 100 new Palm T|X handheld
devices, which will enable the centre to increase the number of
individuals who can participate in the program and advance those who
have benefited from Phase I. Part of the Palm Foundation grant also
includes protective cases, headsets, stylus pens and keyboards for the
new T|X devices.
“We are very excited to work with the Palm Foundation to advance our
mobile-learning initiatives for autistic individuals using cutting-edge
technology. Our goal is to empower people with autism by giving them the
tools they need to lead independent, confident lives,” says Margaret
Whelan, executive director, Geneva Centre for Autism.
Autism and Visual Learning
Autism is often referred to as a “spectrum disorder” because symptoms
and characteristics can present themselves in a variety of combinations,
ranging from mild to severe. Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), such as
Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Asperger syndrome, are lifelong
neurodevelopmental disorders that typically affect a person’s ability to
communicate, form relationships and respond appropriately to their
social environment. As many as one in every 165 Canadian children has a
form of autism, and one in 10 Canadians will be touched by autism in
Individuals with autism are known to have strong visual-learning
capabilities and benefit from visual communication tools. The
touch-screen technology, agenda, contacts and other organizational tools
and functions associated with Palm handhelds are highly visual and align
with the needs of many autistic individuals.
Without the help of visual supports in day-to-day life, individuals with
autism may experience a high level of anxiety in social situations or
when they transition from one activity to another. They often carry
printed cue cards and social scripts to help remember appropriate social
behaviours. For example, a social script can give cues about how to
start a conversation with a classmate in the cafeteria or greet someone
on the street.
“Our work with Geneva Centre for Autism represents the Palm Foundation’s
goals and ideals in action,” says Janice Keay, director of marketing,
Palm Canada. “Palm is known for helping to create simple, accessible,
mobile solutions for life’s everyday challenges. Individuals with autism
face significant hurdles that illustrate the need for innovative
solutions and creative partnerships between technology makers and
education providers. This is about breaking down stigmas and furthering
people’s sense of independence.”
About Geneva Centre for Autism
Celebrating 33 years of service, Geneva Centre for Autism is an
international leader in the development and delivery of clinical
intervention services and training programs. The Centre provides
critically needed services for children and young adults with ASD
through direct intervention, counseling, information, and support
services to more than 3,200 individuals and their families in Toronto,
Peel, Halton, Dufferin, Simcoe and York regions. The Centre’s reach
extends to more than 18,000 people through its Training Institute that
provides education and training to parents/caregivers and professionals
across the country. For more information about autism, please visit the
Geneva Centre online at:
About Palm, Inc.
Palm, Inc. is a global leader and innovator of easy-to-use mobile
products that simplify people’s lives and help them stay connected on
the go. The company offers a range of products – including Palm® Treo™
and Centro™ smartphones, Palm handhelds, services and accessories – to
meet the needs of consumers, mobile professionals and businesses.