In recent years, advances in technology have proven to be very beneficial in educating and building skills in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). In addition, parents of children with Autism are always looking for different ways to interact with their children while helping them learn new things. Schools are also taking advantage of new apps and programs to help educate children on the Autism spectrum.
As technology advances, parents of children with autism can take advantage of new computer software which will help in their child’s development. Specific apps build upon unique skills, such as speech and hearing, organization, or social ability. As we mentioned earlier this week, there are also apps in development to help children understand the ranges of emotion. These new apps, which will soon be on the market, will provide a read-out of people’s emotions according to their facial expressions. This will challenge kids to learn these emotional cues and eventually match them to understand how people are feeling.
Researchers at the Institute of Communication Culture and Information Technology in Toronto conducted a study which used iPads to record the development of children with ASD that were mostly nonverbal communicators. After a six-month period, the majority of these children were shown to have great improvement in their communication skills. This was due to new technology that identified different illustrations presented on the screen of the device. This gave children the ability to learn visually, have clear explanations of things, and learn at an individualized pace. According to the observations, 75 percent of the children also improved their attentiveness and interaction with peers and educators.
Another app that is being used in educating children with ASD is called Puppet Pals. Many speech and behavioral therapists are taking advantage of this app to help children express themselves and communicate with one another. Puppet Pals allows the user to create various scenarios and therefore allow the children to discuss the interaction and what may happen next. Another popular app is calledPECS, or Picture Exchange Communication System, which teaches children to express their wants or needs by showing educators pictures of various things. Elaine Uchuya, behavioral therapist at Memorial Regional Hospital in Florida has stated that the app has been very successful in building communication in children. Once the child is trained in the application, they were able to use it at home and school as a way to express themselves.
The ICare4Autism International Conference will be discussing advances in technology and its benefits in educating children with Autism in NYC on July 2nd. One of the presentations is titled Technology Opens Doors for Students of all ages on the Spectrum, presented by Dana Reinecke, Assistant Professor and Chair for the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis at The Sage Colleges, along with Laura Stolfi, Director for The Achieve Degree at The Sage Colleges. To attend this incredible conference, select your tickets here. Early bird ticket specials are still available, so now is the best time to register! This is an Autism conference you will not want to miss!