Apps Are Playing a Major Role in Autism Education

Children who have developmental disorders, like autism, usually find it troublesome to recognize emotions and social cues. Autism apps like “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” can be of a major help to such children. These apps are programmed with voice and interactive response software and help autistic children to construct sentences and differentiate one object from another. Experts and researchers believe that these apps could be of immense help to autistic kids because they help focus on a single aspect of communication at a time, and then react according to the situation. The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism education apps never overwhelm the child with multiple forms of communication. Introducing autism education apps at the right age will help the child become independent at the right time.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps can be personalized. The can be changed according to the individual needs of the child. The educational apps help autistic children follow directions and bolster communication by instilling confidence.

The inclusion of technology in special education methods is already underway. Progress, however, is being carried out in steps and not in leaps. There’s still a lot of advancement need to be made. Technology in autism education, like the apps, can help students build confidence and attain academic and extra-curricular success. For students with special needs, it’s critical to usher in an emotional and social learning function into the mix. For instance, while using a technological learning device connected to an app, a teacher will be in a much better position to customize the learning plan which includes social, intellectual, and emotional learning. A child may face trouble to complete the daily tasks all by himself/herself. The autism apps will provide options for the answer to a question. The child can then match the nearest option and finish the task.

The “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps rely on teaching a child through games. The learning sessions are completely interactive. They are loaded with colorful icons and voice commands. A voice warns when a child selects a wrong option. Similarly, when a right option is chosen, the child is awarded with badges that help him/her go to the next level. The main aim of these apps is to make education fun. These simple gaming activities help autistic children further their education.

Both the “Make Sentences” and “All Sorts!” autism apps are frequently updated so that the special needs children can tackle fresh challenges.

Learning Apps Helping Autistic Kids in Education

Children with autism spectrum disorder find it difficult to process events that involve the use of the five senses. They are often uncomfortable with strong smells, loud noise, and even new clothing. The main reason for this is that their sensory perceptions are not like neuro-typical human beings. The sooner the parents of autistic children come to terms with this, the better will be the counseling and therapeutic measures.

Fortunately many companies have come up with learning apps that are helping autistic children in their education. Autism learning apps like “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” have made a huge impact in the lives of autistic children. These two learning apps help in the sensory processing. They have appealing sounds and graphics that capture the child’s attention and helps in taking decisions.

Technology improving lives

Innovative technology, like the autism learning apps, has improved the lives of special needs children to a great extent. Apps like “What’s the Expression,” “Make Sentences”, and others are helping in language skills, response skills, and more importantly in communication. There are various free autism apps as well. Some have a minimum download charge.

In many special needs classrooms across the world, teachers are freely using tablets and iPads to impart education to their students. These gadgets run the autism learning apps and are often used in small groups of children for improving their social interaction. Individual students, on their part, enjoy using iPads and smart phones for improving their reading, mathematics and communication skills.

The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps can be included in the individualized education plan (IEP) of an autistic child. The developers of these two apps conduct regular workshops for educating parents and teachers about using technology for their autistic children.

The need for technology

Technology has emerged as an essential part of the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder. But many schools don’t have a dedicated teacher who can exclusively teach special needs students. The “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” autism learning apps have proved that success can be achieved by autistic children if technology is used at a proper age. The predictive and interactive nature of these autism apps is what attracts autistic children the most. They have been helpful both in the classroom and at home.

The moot challenge, however, is to make parents and educators aware that such an app exists. The autism app companies are doing their bit in this regard. But even then, much still needs to be done.

What Are the 13 Categories of Disability For Special Education Eligibility?

Does your child struggle with academics, and you are concerned that they may have a disability? Have you been told by special education personnel that your child does not fit any of the 13 eligibility classifications to receive special education services? This article will discuss the 13 classifications of disability, that are covered in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and make a child eligible for special education services. Whether a certain child is eligible is up to the parent and the IEP team, but having a disability in one of the 13 categories is required in order to be found eligible.

The categories are:

1. Autism: A developmental disability that can affect the verbal and nonverbal communication, social interaction, and can have a negative affect on the child’s education. The prevalence of autism is 1 in 150 as determined by the CDC or Center for Disease Control.

2. Other Health Impaired (OHI): The child exhibits limited strength, alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to asthma, ADD/ADHD, cancer, diabetes, which negatively affects the child’s education.

3. Mental Retardation: Defined as significantly below average general functioning, with deficits in adaptive behavior, which negatively affects the child’s education.

4. Emotional Disturbance (ED): Exhibits one of the following conditions over an extended period of time and these conditions negatively effect a child’s education. An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or health factors. For a child to be ED they are not supposed to have any other type of disability negative affecting their education.

5. Deafness: Residual hearing is severely impaired in processing the spoken word, negatively affecting the child’s education.

6. Hearing Impairment: Exhibits a hearing loss that is permanent or fluctuating, which even with amplification negatively affects the child’s education.

7. Visual Impairment: Impairment is such that educational potential cannot be fulfilled without special services and materials.

8. Deaf-Blindness: Child has both hearing and visual disabilities.

9. Specific Learning Disability (LD): Exhibits a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological process (such as visual, motor, language etc) which negatively affects a child’s education.

10. Multiple Disabilities: The child exhibits two or more severe disabilities, one of which is mental retardation.

11. Orthopedic Impairment: Displays severe impairments that are the result of congenital anomaly, developmental, or other causes (such as CP) which negatively affects the child’s education.

12. Speech or Language Impairment: Exhibits a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a receptive and/or expressive language disorder, that negatively affects the child’s education.

13. Traumatic Brain Injury: The child has an injury to their brain resulting in total or partial functional disability.

By knowing what categories are covered under IDEA you will be able to understand if your child has a disability that makes them eligible for special education services. You are the only advocate that your child has-do not let them down!

Sufficient Impacts on the History of Special Education

Special Education, over the years, has grown and improved substantially. The history of it contains many admirable historical figures and events that have defined and impacted Special Education. I, however, picked 4 people and one event that I thought had a great impact on Special education. Without these people, special education would not be where it is today. I believe Jean Itard, Edouard Seguin, Helen Keller, Samuel Howe and the Brown Vs. Board of Education, were all important highlights in the history of Special Ed. Although they are not the only ones that should be commended for doing an outstanding job in improving the status of Special Ed, education would not progress as much without them.

Jean Itard is perhaps best defined as “the Father of Special Education” Although he was not aware that his work would have been defined as Special education, his work had a profound effect on future generations. Itard was educated to be a tradesman. However, during the French Revolution, he joined the army to become an assistant surgeon. After the war, he took upon a new and challenging project called Victor. Victor was a wild, animal- like boy that was found running around in the forest. In 1800 he was bought to Paris for observation. When Itard saw the wild, uncivilized boy, he assumed that he had been recently abandoned by his parents. Like a wild animal that does not like to be caged, Victor escaped a couple of times from a widow’s bedroom window. He was normally deficient, but Itard believed he could educate the boy through experience. During Itard’s time, it was a common belief that mentally disabled people were uneducable. The remarkable guru spent five years trying to “cure” him. After 5 years, Victor could read and speak a few words, and could also show affection towards his caretakers. Unfortunately, he never reached normality. Itard thought he had failed as a teacher, but his experience with Victor taught others that in order to achieve the smallest success, he had to accept Victor as a person. His work implemented the most important truth of all, and that was that education had to be in harmony with the dynamic nature of life. 

The next important historical figure was not a teacher, but a remarkable student. Helen Keller had an illness which left her blind and deaf. As a young child, she suffered through severe retardation. She made animal like sounds, ripped her clothes off, and was not toilet trained. It was apparent that she lacked civilized traits. Many years later, even she said “I was an animal.” Poor Helen had become a very difficult child. She terrorized the house hold, and often endangered the people in it. The Kellers were advised to visit an expert on deaf children. This was the well known Alexander Graham Bell. Bell suggested that the family seek an instructor from Perkins University.

On March 3rd, 1883, she met her teacher and caretaker, Miss Anne Sullivan. During the first meeting of theirs, Anne spelled out the word d-o-l-l on her arm. After writing the word on her arm, Anne gave Helen a doll, to show her what “doll” was. The next word she was spelled out was “cake” Although she could quickly repeat the same finger movements, Helen never really understood what the words meant. While Anne was struggling to help her understand the meaning of a word, she also was struggling to try to control Helen’s undesirable behavior. Making her educated and civilized was a great challenge for Anne. After a month, her behavior did improve. It was that initial month that the bond between Anne and Helen was established. After that month was the time that people referred to as the “miracle. It was not until 1887, that Helen began to grasp an understanding of the words. Anne pumped water on to Helen’s hand, and spelled out the word on her hand. Something about this activity helped Helen understand the meaning of the words.. Helen progressed as an individual over the years.

The life that she lived has had an impact on teaching methods, as well as technology. With the aid of Anne, through her writing, lectures, and the way she lived life, she has shown people that being disabled is not the end of the world. Her impact on education can be shown through this quote of hers: “The public must learn that the blind man is neither genus nor a freak nor an idiot. He has a mind that can be educated, a hand which can be trained…”

Special Education Has Changed Over Time

Special education has been assisting students with learning disabilities in the United States education system since the end of World War II. The first push for special education started when a group of parent-organized advocacy groups surfaced. In 1947 one of the first organizations, the American Association on Mental Deficiency, held its first convention. That marked a starting point for special education as we know it today.

Started during the Civil Rights Movement in the early 1950s, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and John F. Kennedy’s Panel on Mental Retardation were among an increased amount of advocacy groups for assisted learning programs. This strong push helped bring special education into schools across the country in the 1960’s as school access was established for children with disabilities at state and local levels.

The parent advocacy groups dating back to 1947 laid the ground floor for government legislation being approved by Congress in 1975 that was called the “Education for All Handicapped Children Act” (Public Law 94-142). This act went into effect in October of 1977 and it was the beginning for federal funding of special education in schools nationwide. The act required public schools to offer “free appropriate public education” to students with a wide range of disabilities, including “physical handicaps, mental retardation, speech, vision and language problems, emotional and behavioral problems, and other learning disorders.”

The law from 1977 was extended in 1983 to offer parent training and information centers. Later in 1986 the government started programs targeting youngsters with potential learning disabilities. The Act from 1975 was changed to the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in 1990. Since establishment of IDEA more than 6.5 million children and 200,000+ toddlers and infants are being assisted each year.

Special education in schools often unintentionally overlooks a key aspect of why students suffer from learning disabilities. The reasons for common learning disabilities are weak cognitive skills. Studies show that 80% of students enrolled in special education at some level suffer from underlying weak cognitive skills. Cognitive skills are the mental capabilities that one needs to successfully learn academic subjects. In more detail cognitive skills are learning skills used to retain information; process, analyze, and store facts and feelings; and create mental pictures, read words, and understand concepts. They are not to be confused with academic skills which would include subjects like math, science, or history.

Proper testing to identify these weak cognitive skills will help quality learning centers put together a plan of action to strengthen them. This sort of training will last a lifetime. By not targeting the cognitive skills a student will struggle for the rest of their life until they are trained properly. It is highly recommended that you get your child tested at a learning training center that provides cognitive testing. Once tested a personal, unique training program can be developed for your child to overcome their learning disability.