Supporting the Learning Process for Children with ASD through Technology

Developments in technology have given children on the autism spectrum incredible opportunities to express themselves and grow. TalkingTiles is a new app that is being used to help develop a range of skill-sets for children on the spectrum, such as learning to read, learning about colors, and how to recognize safety signs.

The app is currently being used in the Mississippi Adolescent Center, part of the state’s Department of Mental Health. With many of the patients being autistic and nonverbal, the app has been an essential tool in helping children communicate their wants and needs without using words. Donna Horton, Director of Client Services at the center, states, “The kids fell in love with [the app].” With so many opportunities available for the child through the app, Horton continues, “[the app] is only limited by the imagination of the educator.”

“The cool thing about TalkingTiles [is that] we’ve seen a decrease in maladaptive behaviors”, Horton added. Through the app, kids are better able to express what they need, therefore reducing tantrums or poor behavior.

Furthermore, caregivers using the app can better express to the child what they plan to do with their day, giving the children a better idea of what their schedule is, offering them a sense of structure and security. Caregivers can explain where they are going (with a picture of a school, doctor’s office, etc.), and what activities they may participate in. TalkingTiles utilizes videos, pictures, and words that the children can use to help them communicate.

The essence of TalkingTiles is to help engage children in the various learning and therapy processes. Furthermore, the app is individually designed to help cater to the different needs of each child. The progress of each child is tracked, so that the caregivers can determine what the next step would be to enhance the child’s development.

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