Kiwi Boy With Incurable Angelman Syndrome Communicates Better, Thanks to Apple's iPad

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By Reissa Su | April 15, 2014 5:13 PM EST

Thanks to Apple's iPad, a boy in New Zealand can communicate well with his family and loved-ones since he was diagnosed with the incurable Angelman syndrome. Family trips and outings are always remembered through videos and photos.

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.

Jordan Winther, 8, reviewed his family pictures and friends and has ever since shown significant improvement after using the popular tablet. The boy has Angelman syndrome or a rare condition characterized with profound speech impairment, developmental delay, severe intellectual disability, movement and sleeping disorders.

Communication is one of Jordan's greatest challenges that he continues to face every day. But with the aid of technology, he can communicate and understand the people around him.

In August 2013, he was given an iPad as a birthday gift. Jono Winther, his father, has been helping him communicate using photos and videos. His dad said he has been taking pictures and photos to help his son identify and connect with people.

He said he wasn't aware of what the iPad's technology can do for his son. He just noticed that his son became focused on the iPad for a while. A family from Te Atatu Peninsula said they were learning new ways to communicate with their son after attending a conference about Angelman syndrome in Australia.

Sivao Winther, Jordan's mother, said doctors had diagnosed her son as "severely disabled" but he has found a way to communicate using iPad. The family has begun hoping that their son can do more things than what doctors had told them.

Jordan's family is hopeful and excited about the new development and thought of the possibility of giving their son a "better quality of life."

In the Angelman syndrome conference, families learned about pragmatic organization dynamic display (PODD) where conversation is encouraged by pointing to symbols in communication books to improve skills in vocabulary. The family looks forward to try the technique in the future.

According to medical experts, Angelman syndrome has no known cure and occurs in every 20,000 births. Doctors had difficulty diagnosing Jordan who suffered through 50 seizures daily. Sleeping was a continuous challenge, including moving and sitting up.

Pediatric Neurologist Dr. Rakesh Patel at Starship's children's hospital said it is important for children who have Angelman syndrome to know nonverbal communication. This includes facial and hand gestures, photos and computer programs.

Dr. Patel believes patients will have a better way of communicating as technology becomes more accessible. 

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(Photo: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith / )
Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook speaks about the new iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retnia display during an Apple event in San Francisco, California October 22, 2013.
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