In a Wall Street Journal profile on how iPad apps are being used by special needs children, such as those who have speech impediments and as a communication tool – Steve Jobs commented on how even he did not have the foresight to see that the iPad could be used in such a fashion.

“We take no credit for this, and that’s not our intention,” Mr. Jobs said, adding that the emails he gets from parents resonate with him. “Our intention is to say something is going on here,” and researchers should “take a look at this.”

Last year we reported on how how much cheaper Apple’s portabile devices were compared to the traditional speech software/hardware products, and how insurance companies were hesitant to reimburse for a significantly cheaper Apple products verse industry products.

At the time of our report last year, insurance companies were willing to reimburse up to $8,000 for a product that could be replaced by an iPod Touch with speech therapy apps would cost approximately $600.

Since our report on the topic last year – not much as changed.  Per  the WSJ cheaper Apple products are still not reimbursed by most private and government insurance, including Medicare.  Industry device manufacturers state their products are significantly more expensive because of economies of scale – they have a much more limited audience and since they don’t sell a high volume of devices they have to charge a high margin.

This argument has some merit – but why most insurers continue to be hesitant about reimbursing for a device that delivers similar functionality but is cheaper is still puzzling – especially to parents of these children.

Source: Wall Street Journal

App featured in picture and Wall Street Journal is Proloquo2Go, used for those with cerebral palsy, autism, down syndrome, apraxia, ALS, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities
*iTunes link