The iPad is all the rage among those working to help kids with disabilities learn to communicate. Now research is starting to back up the practice.

A University of Toronto professor is tracking 36 kids with developmental disabilities who are using text-to-speech applications on the iPad or iPhone to communicate at school. Results from phase 1 of the study show an average of 20 percent improvement in communication abilities from using the devices, according to researchers.

Rhonda McEwen, who is conducting the study, says she’s seen improvements among students with a variety of special needs including those who are nonverbal. In addition to increasing communication, McEwen says she’s also seen the iPad help children with social skills deficits become more comfortable engaging with their peers over common interest in the device.

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Phase 2 of McEwen’s research continues into June, reports The Canadian Press. To read more click here.

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