Connecting Autistic Students to Social Media

Autism Expressed is an interactive learning system designed for teens and tweens with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). It teaches the digital skills that have become essential in communicating in today’s world.

Autism Expressed was designed by a high school teacher, Michele McKeone, who understood that her students would need to learn these skills in order to succeed and gain opportunities after high school. By teaching her students digital and marketable skills, she was able to ease her students’ transitions out of high school, and give them a better opportunity in achieving higher education or employment.

Michele McKeone
(photo credit: Allison Dougherty/Autism Expressed)

Although many schools are utilizing basic technology to enhance various skills of Autistic individuals, Autism Expressed actually introduces real world applications of technology. Students have the opportunity to learn how to create and send emails, how to navigate the Web, and ways to utilize social network platforms. They also learn higher executive skills, such as online calendar management, and online resume preparation.

The program features a series of video animations providing specific instructions. Each lesson develops specific skills to enable students to use technology independently. In addition to skill development, Autism Expressed addresses the importance of internet etiquette. The curriculum that Autism Expressed follows is made up of four modules, each with a series of lessons that will incrementally develop specific skills. At the end of each lesson, students participate in a related activity which will demonstrate their level of ability.

Thousands of students have already used Autism Expressed, and have showcased incredible levels of skill and understanding of the digital world. McKeone has stated that there are even students who have used the program that have been able to find basic technology positions after high school. One particular student created an online portfolio for his college application, with a coordinating blog attached. This is a perfect example of just how beneficial Autism Expressed has been towards expanding the digital skills, as well as the creative expression, of many teens with ASD.

Autism Expressed will be presenting a workshop at the ICare4Autism International Conference in NYC on June 30th. They will be demonstrating the uses and benefits of the program, and the importance of developing marketable and digital skills as part of the Global Autism Workforce Initiative. For tickets to the conference, please click here.

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