How Tablets are Helping Autistic Children to Learn

autismTechnology is a wonderful thing that is helping millions of children with difficulties learning in conventional classrooms to learn. One of the best places to see how technology has changed the lives of special needs children is the way that tablets have help teachers bridge the gap delivering classroom material to autistic students. So what is autism and how do tablets help autistic children learn?

What Is Autism?

Autism is a disease that causes disruptions in a child’s development resulting from such typical autistic traits as the lack of emotional intelligence (incl. understanding and reacting to emotional cues), inability to maintain social meaningful interactions, and difficulty in behaving according to socially accepted standards. Consecutively, autistic children also have very poor verbal communication skills. Autism is classified as an intellectual disability although not every child is intellectual challenged. For many years, it can be difficult or impossible to evaluate intellectual abilities of autistic person, since the communication barrier keep children that have autism from properly communicating exactly what they know. The communication barrier also makes it difficult for them to socialize, making it seem like they are often in their own world and that they do not have any interest in participating with reality.

Autism and the School System

autism1It is very important to remember that autism is a disorder that effects each child differently. This makes it difficult for teachers to anticipate every reaction that the child is going to have or how they may need to be taught. Since autism is both a learning and a communication disorder, many schools will assign a teacher’s aid to the autistic child to be their own “teacher”. But with the recent advancements in technology, many of the students are now more capable of learning on their own than ever before.

 

How Tablets are revolutionizing the Educational System

The integration of tablets into the Special Education program has given children that suffer from autism a new way to have the ability to learn about the outside world. The reason that tablets give autistic students this unique chance is because we have to visually look for the cues to complete tasks on them. Since autistic children respond to visual cues since they don’t always understand the verbal cues given by teachers, tablets literally become their greatest teachers.

This is not to say that teaching them to use the tablet is going to be easy. Like anything, it takes a great deal of patience to help them learn. Once the child has been taught how to use it, the necessity for the personal teacher is reduced, allowing the teacher to communicate with their students in a way that was very difficult to accomplish. Tablets have proven to be lifesavers for many teachers because they give the child the ability to learn at their own pace.

autism2How Tablets are Helping Educators Teach Students to Talk

Tablets have many wonderful ways to help teachers teach them to not only talk but teach them the knowledge that is going to help them become better intergraded in our society. The problem that many of us have when we try to communicate with an autistic child is that there is normally a communication barrier. Studies have shown that autistic children respond more to visual prompts that verbal. It is very easy to see how they would have a problem learning language when the prompts that parents use to teach children are verbal.

Tablets have helped make learning easier for Autistic children both at school and at home. Several of the apps that are helping them learn to speak are “Speaking Pal”, “Socrative app”, and “grammar Up”. Proloquo2Go, Grace, iConverse, TapToTalk and iCommunicate, are examples of learning aid apps specifically designed to teach Autistic students language skills. As far as conceptual and language skills are concerned, eBooks have made reading far more fun. These interactive texts have boosted their reading, language, and overall learning abilities to rival the normal children in their classes. Paired with audio and video which is followed by flash card assessments, children with autism are becoming less “special needs”.
autism3For many of the parents, these apps have given them hope. Many of the children that have not spoken in years are now starting to speak again. Even though tablets are still a new option, making the parents more responsible for the purchase of the tablets that their children use, many hope that school systems will start purchasing them to make them available for children that come from underprivileged homes so that they will have the same advantage as normal students.

With the incorporation of the tablet into the Special Education program, children that previously were unable to attend classes with their peers will be able to have the option of participating in normal classes. There is a growing hope in the educational community that, with the help of technological resources, many of the autistic children will join their peers will be reincorporated into classes while still in Elementary School. This will help the Special Education department have the ability to help those who are more in need and allowing autistic children to lead more normal lives than ever before.