In my past experiences being in the classroom, I have had the opportunity to work with a child who displayed many signs of autism. Due to it not being diagnosed, additional resources were not readily available. I often wondered what could be done to help improve this students environment and learning capacity. With the growing use of technology in classrooms and a need for inclusive interventions and practices, I decided to look into some technological tools to help children who have autism.
I looked into some blogs and websites to see what I could discover. One blog that really stood out to me was Innovative Technology Helping Those with Autism Connect. This blog was written by Jonathan Izak, who’s younger brother was diagnosed with autism. He wanted to help him with his communication and connect him with the world. He noted that “just because my brother couldn’t speak, didn’t mean he had nothing to say”- Izak. Every child should have the right to voice and opinion, and students with autism who have little speech are now provided that voice. Izak helped developed the app AutisMate. I would use it as a communication and visual tool in schools and recommend it to parents to use at home as well. The image below highlights some of the positive aspects of the app.
Another website that I found quite relevant was an article on Autism Consortium, Technology and Autism: What’s Available and What Works?. It discusses the two types of assistive technology available for children with autism; communication and increasing independence. Different types of technology are broken up into different categories:
I think this is a great article for people to explore. There are categorized apps available for different needs a child with autism may benefit from. Some include scheduling, first-then boards, visual timers, positive behaviour support systems and social stories.
I believe that through using some of these tech tools in the classroom, students with autism will be able to communicate and interact better with other students and teachers. These apps can provide students with a voice and increased independence.
Has anyone ever used technology or apps to help a student with autism or other special needs? What apps did you use? Did they benefit student learning?