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Customer Discussions > Tablet forum

Best tablet for children with learning disabilities

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Showing 1-12 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 12, 2012 4:16:42 PM PST
I recently read an article re tablets and children with autism. I have 2 boys (7 & 8) with learning disabilities, the 8 yr old is on the very edge of the autism spectrum. I'm looking for the best (cheapest) tablet for educational purposes. One that is fairly indestructible. It would ONLY be used with parental supervision as my boys can be quite rough on things. There are SOOOO many options out there that I am overwhelmed. :(

A year ago I toyed with the idea of the LeapPad tablet, but was worried it would be too "childish" for them?!? Now I've been leaning a lot towards the Nabu but am wondering if it would be more feasible to get a tablet that could "grow" with them? But then giving the fast pace that technology moves, no matter what tablet I get them will outgrow my boys?!?

Before anyone blasts me for even thinking about a tablet for my kids, let me assure you that they are VERY active outside! This is not something that would replace regular kid activities, but more for a rainy/snowy day, more of a "limited time" item and not an "as much as they want" item. For my youngest it would increase his eye-hand coordination, and for both of them to have more fun learning math and reading without realizing they are learning! ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 4:39:59 PM PST
B. Marks says:
If you get blasted for wanting to do something for your kids I'd just ignore it.

I can't advise you on the made-for-kids tablets. I know practically nothing about them.

You might want to take a look at the Kindle Fire HD. They start around $200. Or the other Kindle, which is about $160. They're both really nice devices, well made and durable. I have both of them.

They're designed to get content from Amazon, which is a little bit limiting but not very. Amazon has a big selection of apps and games, movies, TV shows, books, etc. And it's a quickly growing selection. It also gives access to Netflix if you're a subscriber to that.

You do need Wifi in the home to make the Fire's useful. That's true of any tablet but the Fire's more than most.

Either tablet would do nicely but the Fire HD has the advantage of Amazon's new parental controls that will let you control just how much they have access to and even how long they can use the device if you want that.

A couple of other good choices for about the same price are the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" and the Nexus 7. These have access to the Google Play store which means there are more games and apps available but they don't have quite as much access to Amazon content. And they don't have the kind of parental controls the Fire HD has. They do have access to Amazon's games and apps and books.

You also might want to look into the Nook Tablets. They have more kid oriented content at the moment although that seems to be a direction both B&N and Amazon are pushing right now, so that could change. They don't have nearly the selection of games and apps and other content that the other tablets have. You won't have access to either Amazon or Google Play and the B&N content is fairly limited except for books. They are well built and they do what they're supposed to do very well.

I think any of these are good choices and I'd look them all over pretty carefully and see if any seem like a good fit.

What I would avoid are the cheap no-name tablets. Most of these don't work too well, don't have much if any support and will frustrate them more than entertain them.


Posted on Nov 12, 2012 5:01:04 PM PST
Thanks Barry!
I have been toying with the idea of Kindle Fire as it seemed like something the whole family could enjoy and is the same price as the Nabu. We have Wi-Fi so that isn't an issue. We also have Netflix so that is a plus. I'm just so torn on what is the best buy for my money. The reviews for the Nabu range from bad (slow, freezing, etc) to excellent (kid friendly, parental control, etc). The speech therapist has the Kindle Fire and her kids use it a lot and she is pretty happy with it. What, if any, issues have you had with the Kindle Fire??

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 5:49:00 PM PST
B. Marks says:
The only real problem I've had with mine is really my ISP's problem. During prime time they slow down to make streaming videos difficult and usually impossible. Up until about 6:30PM it's a great device. After that I use it for an occassional game.

Amazon was very careful when they designed the Fire. The didn't give it some of the features of other tablets. There's no expansion slot and I miss that. The original Fire didn't have Bluetooth, which I miss on it. In summer with the A/C running the speakers really aren't loud enough so I use an external speaker. I have to connect it with a wire.

They did provide Bluetooth with the Fire HD but they also made the speakers a lot louder so it doesn't matter as much to me.

The thing they were most careful about was to make sure that it does all the things it's supposed to do very well, and they succeeded. I have a number of tablets, most of them more general purpose, but I probably use the Fire as much or more than all the rest put together.

I realize I'm not answering your question about problems but I don't have any. I buy things pretty carefully and I haven't really had any problems with any of my devices.


In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 6:00:49 PM PST
Not having a problem is a HUGE selling point! :) I'm assuming there is an earphone jack on it so that the boys could use it and hear it without any issues... seeing as how they will NOT be allowed to take it to their rooms, etc and have to be next to a parent to use it. ;)

Thank you very much for your input! I was worried about paying $200 for the Nabu and have them outgrow it too soon whereas it seems the Kindle Fire has more options for them over time. I realize these things are always evolving (Kindle, to Fire, to HD, to ??) but at least with the Fire I think they can start out small and grow into what an adult is using it for today. Whereas the Nabu, geared towards kids, might not be challenging enough for long enough? By the time they max out on a Kindle Fire, the next best thing will probably be 10 years beyond today... as fast as technology moves! lol

Thanks again for your input!

Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it! Back in April I was toying with the idea of a Fire for my oldest (19) but wasn't sure he would use it much... which turned out to be right as everything he could/would do on a Fire he could do on his laptop already, only with a bigger screen! :)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2012 7:05:45 PM PST
B. Marks says:
I'm typing this on my laptop and I really can do everything I do on my tablet on this laptop. But some things are just more fun on a tablet.


Posted on Nov 13, 2012 11:55:34 AM PST
S. A. F. says:
Wow...the kindle fire is available for only $129 for the next hour as a lightning deal on amazon!! :)

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 3:55:28 PM PST
Luckily it was my day off today... which was mostly spent in front of the laptop researching the daylights out of the Kindle Fire (1st gen) as well as the different apps. After all that research and speaking with the speech therapist I am comfortable with buying a KF for the boys for Christmas. After searching prices I was actually able to buy 2 on ebay for the price of 1 on Amazon... (much more peace at my house this way, no fighting over it, etc). Thanks a million Barry for all your input on this! It really did make more sense to buy a tablet that an adult can use too instead of just focusing on a kids tablet. :)

Posted on Nov 13, 2012 4:52:56 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 13, 2012 5:03:18 PM PST
S. A. F. says:
A side note for others to ponder is that the kindle fire non hd 1st and 2nd gen tablets are not the same. The second gen has a newer processor and 1GB of ram instead of 512mb of ram. It also has more battery life, newer ui based on android 4.0 rather than 2.3, and more. When comparing prices just remember that they aren't the same therefore there should be a difference in price. Also, know what you are bidding on... a used or refurbished fire 1st gen isn't worth as much as a used or refurbished 2nd gen (it also has a higher likelihood of having been originally sold at a much earlier date).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 13, 2012 6:28:03 PM PST
B. Marks says:
That said, the first gen Kindle Fire is a very nice little device.


Posted on Jul 2, 2015 10:40:10 AM PDT
I want to revive this discussion rather than starting a new one. So almost 3 years later I have a child who is also autistic. He's turning 8 and functioning around a 4 year old in some areas. Academically he's a mid first grade level however he's still SUPER impulsive. I'm trying to find something that will also grow with him a bit. Thoughts on the best tablet for kids now?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 19, 2015 3:56:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 19, 2015 3:58:17 PM PDT
ITA says:
Hi Rebecca -
I just purchased 5 Kindle Fire tablets for the non-profit I work at. We provide programming for people with intellectual disabilities (including autism and Down syndrome) from middle school age through adulthood. We've only been using our Kindles for about a month now and so far we love them! I also have a teen of my own who is on the spectrum, and will be getting one of these for my own family to use at home.

I installed TalkTablet AAC software on each unit, and our nonverbal and minimally verbal members are putting that to great use already. In addition, everyone loves the using the camera, listening to music via the free Spotify app, and using the various games we've chosen. I love the ability to put all of the above content into the built-in FreeTime app that allows our members full access to the content they want without being able to access the tablet's settings, make purchases, etc - This is key when it comes to providing tablet access to people with impulse control issues. Another huge advantage of any tablet is that it's a device that typically-developing peers use in the same way, so our members who take these into the community feel right at home, not singled out by their hardware. I don't think it matters so much these days which tablet you choose - Pick one that fits nicely into your budget, leaving you with some funds for apps and a robust case/screen protector!

I hope that helps a bit,
Rebecca R. w/ Island Time Activities
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Discussion in:  Tablet forum
Participants:  5
Total posts:  12
Initial post:  Nov 12, 2012
Latest post:  Aug 19, 2015

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