Using Technology for Helping Your Child With Autism

Technology has entered almost all spheres of our lives. There are several smart phone apps today that help us to communicate a message easier, better, and faster. But how do individuals with autism spectrum disorder communicate or express their desires? While it seemed impossible at first, good Samaritans in the tech industry came up with autism learning apps like “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” that addresses behavioral health issues. Enthused by the success of the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps, several other companies have come up with their own products.

Give a voice to your child

The customizable “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps help in translating the thoughts of your child into speech by lending them a voice through the system. These two apps leverage picture icons on the device. The icons, when touched, cause a voice output. The touch screen interface can be tailored to suit each individual child’s needs. Images related to words, as well as the most commonly used phrases, can be fed into the device. When a child types a word or a string of words, a voice output enables autistic children in identifying the words.

You can also personalize the experience by recording your own voice. As the autistic child develops, he/she may want to speak a newly acquired particular phrase. In such cases, autistic children simply need to launch the learning app, add or record a message connected to a particular image and the device would start reading out loud.

Learning the basic skills

The autism learning apps are a great help to your child to pick up language and other skills. These apps can also be used for teaching categorization, mathematics, daily living skills and even community safety lessons.

It’s also important to consider how you want to teach autistic kids to generalize what they have acquired from the autism learning apps and respond to natural environmental cues. They shouldn’t become dependent on the autism learning apps in later life.

Instant access to social stories

Short animations that depict various types of social skills and also impart lessons on social behavior, are another area in the domain of autism apps. Earlier, a new social story or lesson would have warranted the use of books and journals for content. But now, the “Math on the Farm” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps can be connected to the internet directly. All training material can be downloaded sans any hassle.


Source by Kevin Carter

"I Am a Control Freak" – There, I Said It

Wow, I have been teaching for almost thirty two years and it took me this long to figure it out. I am a control freak. There, I said it. Now it is time to move on.

Recently I was involved in the School Improvement plan at my school. We were doing research on some of our student, parent, and teacher surveys. It suddenly occurred to me that students are easily understood. We do not have to do a survey on students to find out the two biggest problems in school according to students. In every school that either has uniforms or a dress code, students will always see dress code as the number one problem and school lunches as the second biggest problem.

It was my next thought that changed my way of thinking. I began to wonder if teachers were just as predictable. If you asked teachers what the biggest problem was in their school, what would they say? My greatest hope would be that teachers would be most concerned with how much students were learning. Certainly that was my first thought. But, when I read the results of the survey I found that 83 percent of the teachers in my school thought that student behavior was the number one problem.

What alarmed me was the fact that I understood kids. I predicted easily what they would perceive as the biggest problems in school. I did not understand myself. I did not know that I was a control freak. I might be over reacting just a little, but it is true. Think about it. What are we doing? Most of the time we put students in straight lines in straight rows and expect them to keep their mouths shut for almost an hour, unless they get permission from none other than the King control freak.

I know what your are thinking about now. You are thinking that without order no one will be able to learn. Certainly there are times when students do need to respect their peers and take turns speaking. The big question is… do we spend too much time controlling each and every one of their behaviors? And If you believe that we are…. what can we do about it?

First we must design models of teaching that enable the students to move around more often and communicate much more with their peers. No! I do not mean collaborative groups where the students merely focus on the concepts and Ideas that the teacher designed. While there is definitely time for these types of exercises, we need to have many learning experiences where the students are given the liberty to use their own creativity in exhibiting the concepts and standards that are to be met on a given day.

If you still do not see teachers as control freaks… let me share a quick story with you. Yesterday I was in a teachers meeting and we were tasked with the job of coming up with a criteria for Student of the Month.

Once again my first thoughts for criteria included some positive signs of academic progress, or even citizenship. Do you think that that was the first thought of my colleagues? I could barely believe my ears. They started making a list of the behaviors that they did not want in the Student of the Month.

After listening for about twenty minutes I could stand it no longer and I brought it to their attention that all we need to do is nominate someone each month and then take a vote.

We are not policeman and our main objective is not to teach them what not to do! We need to guide students through the discovery of creative and innovative ideas and concepts, while engaging the students in their own education.

If you are one of the thousands of control freaks like me, I suggest that you admit it, forget it and move on to a more productive way of teaching. I ceased to control every move that my students make and they are learning more while enjoying their new freedom. We now affectionately call me the reformed Control Freak while they are called the Over Achievers.


Source by Bob Roach

Learning Apps Helping Autistic Kids in Education

Children with autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to process events that involve the use of the five senses. They are often uncomfortable with strong smells, loud noise, and even new clothing. The main reason for this is that their sensory perceptions are not like neuro-typical human beings. The sooner the parents of autistic children come to terms with this, the better will be the counseling and therapeutic measures.

Fortunately many companies have come up with learning apps that are helping autistic children in their education. Autism learning apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” have made a huge impact in the lives of autistic children. These two learning apps help in the sensory processing. They have appealing sounds and graphics that capture the child’s attention and helps in taking decisions.

Technology improving lives

Innovative technology, like the autism learning apps, has improved the lives of special needs children to a great extent. Apps like “What’s the Expression,” “Make Sentences”, and others are helping in language skills, response skills, and more importantly in communication. There are various free autism apps as well. Some have a minimum download charge.

In many special needs classrooms across the world, teachers are freely using tablets and iPads to impart education to their students. These gadgets run the autism learning apps and are often used in small groups of children for improving their social interaction. Individual students, on their part, enjoy using iPads and smart phones for improving their reading, mathematics and communication skills.

The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps can be included in the individualized education plan (IEP) of an autistic child. The developers of these two apps conduct regular workshops for educating parents and teachers about using technology for their autistic children.

The need for technology

Technology has emerged as an essential part of the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder. But many schools don’t have a dedicated teacher who can exclusively teach special needs students. The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps have proved that success can be achieved by autistic children if technology is used at a proper age. The predictive and interactive nature of these autism apps is what attracts autistic children the most. They have been helpful both in the classroom and at home.

The moot challenge, however, is to make parents and educators aware that such an app exists. The autism app companies are doing their bit in this regard. But even then, much still needs to be done.


Source by Kevin Carter

Helping Parents Understand the Autism Educational Eligibility

Many parents are perplexed and confused about the amount of information given to them during an autism educational eligibility meeting. Professionals can do several things to help the parents through this process.

Explain Educational Terms

First, many special education terms are difficult for parents to understand. Educational professionals need to explain some of these unfamiliar terms to the parent or caregiver. An educational phrase or term may need to be defined for the parents. For instance, when the school psychologist talks about verbal and nonverbal abilities he or she could give examples of these different types of abilities to explain the terms.

Use Parent Friendly Terms

Professionals need to use parent friendly terms that parents of different educational levels can understand. A school psychologist may say the term ‘repetitive behaviors’ in an eligibility meeting. However, a parent friendly approach would be to share how a child demonstrates ‘repetitive behaviors’ like running back and forth in the testing room, opening and closing the door or continuously turning the lights on and off in the office. This helps the parent see example and understand the term in more ‘parent friendly’ language.

Provide More Time

Professional sometimes find they are talking fast to get through the large amount of information on autism and developmental delays. However, there are instances where the school psychologist and other educational professionals may need to take more time to allow parents to process the educational information. Some parents want more time to read the eligibility form even after it has been explained to them. Parents may want to read the eligibility form and other forms carefully as they reflect on the information before they put their signatures on a document or sign an autism eligibility form.

Allow Questions

There are times professionals explain the autism educational form to parents and don’t allow or give enough time for questions. Professionals can take different approaches with their educational strategies. Some educational professionals ask parents throughout the autism eligibility meeting if they have questions about the information and other professionals save time at the end of the eligibility meeting to answer any final questions. Parents want to feel comfortable about this eligibility process and providing a question time call allow them to discuss any unresolved issues or concerns about autism.

In conclusion, if professionals explain difficult educational terms, use parent friendly terms, provide more time to reflect on the process and allow questions the parents may have a better understanding of the autism eligibility process.


Source by Susan Louise Peterson

Autism and Assistive Technology

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a newly popularized term that includes a wide range of social impairments, communication deficits, and repetitive behaviors. The spectrum is flexible which means that it can be applied to children from both ends. It includes high functioning autism at one end, to those who lack communication abilities and can’t even express their most basic demands, at the other.

The new explicit spectrum thinking has given at least an illusion that there’s a fixed boundary regarding autism. The perspective-taken to the logical extreme-means an unbroken continuum among the minds that extends from autism, all the way into the folds of the normal world.

But the flexibility has led to ambiguity, particularly in the classroom. Most of the educators and instructors are not at all equipped to give the students the attention they require. They are thus increasingly turning to assistive technology, like autism apps for education, to bail them out.

Many children, whether autistic or neuro-typicals, learn from visual media and educational apps like “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm”. Educators and instructors say that these apps reflect real-life relationships and situations.

With the advent of the “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” educational apps, teachers have become more comfortable in using technology. With customized educational apps now available for download online, it’s now easier for teachers and educators to access these technologies.

Most teachers, over the years, have become comfortable in using technology. As of now, there are two major types of assistive technologies for those having autism spectrum disorder. These are communication technologies and teaching technologies. Both these tools are extremely important for a special needs child’s education. The “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” educational apps are perfect digital learning devices that lend autistic children a comfortable learning experience. A student’s ability to communicate in a classroom setting is important for his/her success. But the tricky thing about a classroom is that there are several unspoken rules. Educators and experts working with special needs children admit that one of the major difficulties, even for those having high-functioning autism, is to know the expectations.

Professionals working with children having behavioral disorders have voiced largely similar sentiments. A big part of attending school is to learn navigating social situations. Autistic children are often totally lost sans a roadmap. The autism apps for education have allowed children to close the gap between them and the neuro-typical kids.


Source by Kevin Carter

Autism Apps: New Tablet-Sized Teachers

Thirteen-year old Alec Marvin sits with an iPad in a classroom, his teacher Sandra Doherty is sitting beside him. She holds up a laminated picture of a $50 bill and asks Alec to identify it. Alec looks at his iPad, touches a slab titled “money identification” and then presses “$50”. “Fifty,” the gadget blurbs out.

Alec is among a growing number of children in the US with autism spectrum disorder. These children are increasingly using what’s known as autism education apps on electronic devices like the iPad and smartphone. And among all the autism apps being used, “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” are the two most used.

Just a few years back, Alec would have used a bulky assistive communication device, costing between $7,000 to $9,500. That is, if these devices used any form of communication at all. Autistic kids and special needs children, for long, have used the so-called assistive technology devices. These included audio books for the visually challenged, to special transmitters for those hearing impaired. The autism education apps are more targeted towards blended learning. The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps combine the blessings of technology with the more traditional methods of instruction. It’s less jarring to the autistic kids than their conventional education peers.

There are many different autism apps that can help a child. These apps, more interestingly, are all customizable. This means that these apps can be tailor-made to suit each individual child. All over the world, autism education apps are helping the children because it’s usually much easier to read.

Some experts have cautioned against indiscriminate use of autism apps. This is because research on the effectiveness of educational technology for autistic children is still scant.

But educators, therapists, counselors and teachers using the autism apps, vouch that special needs children respond particularly well to the education apps because the programs respond in predictable and consistent ways. Unlike the earlier technologies, smart phones and tablets are much more portable and indistinguishable from the devices used by neuro-typical students.

Developer teams are continuously trying to come up with new apps that can better help children with autism. Apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” have really shown the way. Researchers are now trying to introduce intelligent robots that’ll further help autistic kids in their education. Hopes are already running high, banking on the success of “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps.


Source by Kevin Carter