iPad gives autistic boy a “voice” at his Bar Mitzvah

"Matthew" is an autistic boy from Andover, Massachusetts, whose Bar Mitzvah -- the Jewish Rite of Passage for 13 year old boys -- was made possible thanks to Apple's iPad. According to The Boston Globe, Matthew is on the severe end of the autistic spectrum; not able to speak complete sentences, write or read. What Matthew can do is touch icons on the iPad and put together complex thoughts and ideas with the help of touch technology.

Matthew could record the names of his family member and have each represented by an icon on the iPad. He could then touch that icon and have their name announced over the PA as they were “called” to the Bima (the stage upon which the Sabbath service is conducted.)

The article went on to then mention that when it was time to recite the “watchword of the Jewish faith” – the prayer known as the “Shema,” Matthew just touched an icon of an" ear." What I found particularly interesting about that was that in Hebrew, the word Shema means to “hear” or to “listen” and, thus, Matthew connected the meaning of the prayer to the icon on the iPad.

As Rabbi Robert Goldstein, Matthew’s rabbi stated: “We’re blending the most cutting-edge technology with tradition; with reading the ancient text of Torah. It’s facilitating spirituality.’’

It is clear that we are just beginning to scratch the surface of what this remarkable device can do – not just for us tech enthusiasts – but to literally “give a voice” to those who have none.

Read the full article on the Boston Globe web site.

Source: The Boston Globe