My son Jacoby was born with Spina Bifida, one of the most common birth defects in the world. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and has lived with a metal shunt valve in his head since he was 3 months old. Jacoby's 1st grade classroom is inclusive of special needs students and he loves being in a classroom with all the other kids. But now, Jacoby may not be able to participate in his class full time since they use new iPads for some activities. Magnets in newer iPads, that hold the smart covers on could adjust the shunt valve in his head and cause him to have seizures, and maybe even kill him.
Magnets in the Ipads shell, which are to hold smartcovers on, have recently been shown to adjust shunt valves in adjustable shunts in children’s heads and interfere with medical devices like pacemakers. The shunt valve in Jacoby’s brain keeps excess fluid from building up and causing his brain to be under too much fluid pressure. Magnets, like the ones in newer iPad, can cause these shunt valves to move around and cause seizures because of the fluid level changes.
While technology is an amazing tool and helps with education, Jacoby will soon be excluded from learning with his friends, at a time in which inclusion, especially for special needs children, is so important. I talked to an Apple representative when we first found that the iPad could harm Jacoby. They were able to help us find a magnet-free 1st Generation iPad Jacoby could use in his classroom. However, new updates to the iPad's software now means he can’t run the newer programs used by his school.
As more and more schools use iPads for in-classroom learning experiences, kids like Jacoby will be excluded from learning with their peers. We know they have done it before so why not go back to that design. Please join me in asking Apple to make a magnet-free iPad, like the First Generation Ipads, so Jacoby and others with other disabilities can safely use iPads to learn.