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.

Helping Parents Understand the Autism Educational Eligibility

Many parents are perplexed and confused about the amount of information given to them during an autism educational eligibility meeting. Professionals can do several things to help the parents through this process.

Explain Educational Terms

First, many special education terms are difficult for parents to understand. Educational professionals need to explain some of these unfamiliar terms to the parent or caregiver. An educational phrase or term may need to be defined for the parents. For instance, when the school psychologist talks about verbal and nonverbal abilities he or she could give examples of these different types of abilities to explain the terms.

Use Parent Friendly Terms

Professionals need to use parent friendly terms that parents of different educational levels can understand. A school psychologist may say the term ‘repetitive behaviors’ in an eligibility meeting. However, a parent friendly approach would be to share how a child demonstrates ‘repetitive behaviors’ like running back and forth in the testing room, opening and closing the door or continuously turning the lights on and off in the office. This helps the parent see example and understand the term in more ‘parent friendly’ language.

Provide More Time

Professional sometimes find they are talking fast to get through the large amount of information on autism and developmental delays. However, there are instances where the school psychologist and other educational professionals may need to take more time to allow parents to process the educational information. Some parents want more time to read the eligibility form even after it has been explained to them. Parents may want to read the eligibility form and other forms carefully as they reflect on the information before they put their signatures on a document or sign an autism eligibility form.

Allow Questions

There are times professionals explain the autism educational form to parents and don’t allow or give enough time for questions. Professionals can take different approaches with their educational strategies. Some educational professionals ask parents throughout the autism eligibility meeting if they have questions about the information and other professionals save time at the end of the eligibility meeting to answer any final questions. Parents want to feel comfortable about this eligibility process and providing a question time call allow them to discuss any unresolved issues or concerns about autism.

In conclusion, if professionals explain difficult educational terms, use parent friendly terms, provide more time to reflect on the process and allow questions the parents may have a better understanding of the autism eligibility process.

Tips on Helping Your Child Become a Better Writer

The best way to help your child become a better writer is to separate the mechanics of writing (grammar, punctuation, handwriting, spelling) from the creative part. Your child’s strength is in his vivid imagination – an important asset in all writers. Help your child learn that writing is a two-stage process: the first stage is getting the ideas on paper; the second step is correcting or editing the work.

When writing the first draft of an essay or story, encourage your child to write things down in whatever form or order he is comfortable with. Once those ideas are in a written form, you can guide your child to developing a more polished version. If your child is very young, you will have to give a lot of help, but as he grows older, he will learn to do more for himself. Keep in mind that even professional writers hire editors to proofread and correct their work!

MIND MAPPING

A good technique for getting ideas to flow on the paper is to use mind-mapping. Your child will start with a main idea and then write down a few words or will draw a picture representing the idea in the middle of a blank sheet of paper. He will then draw lines that go out from the center for each main idea he has about the subject. At each line he should write a few words or draw a picture. He can also add details to each idea by writing even more words and connecting them with a line to the idea they relate to.

Once the ideas are written down in this mind mapping format, you can help your child develop them into written sentences, using the child’s map as a guide for developing the structure of his paragraph or essay.

POETRY

Introduce your child to poetry or verse. Try using free verse-poetry that does not have to have a particular rhythm or cadence, and does not have to rhyme. One of the advantages of writing poetry is that it frees the child from writing conventions, such as the need to use complete sentences. It also allows your child to experiment with the sounds of words and to use new words that are evocative of a particular mood or feeling.

Your child might enjoy writing haiku, mostly because it is short. Haiku traditionally has three lines consisting of seventeen syllables in total, usually arranged in lines of five, seven, and five syllables. Although the form is very brief, writing haiku will help your child develop sensitivity to the phonetic structure of word segments.

Another fun form of poetry is to make a slideshow poem. You can have your child take 5 or 6 photographs based on a theme (a recent trip, a family member’s life). Import the pictures into a software program such as PowerPoint or iPhoto and have the child write a poem based on the pictures by posting a word or two with each photo image. Make it really fun by adding special effects, transitions, or music to spice up the slideshow poem.

Teach your child how to write an acrostic poem. This is where the first letter of each line spells out his name when read from top to bottom. Once the child writes a poem based on his name, then he can write about family members, pets and friends.

PLAYS

You might also encourage your child to write a play, it is sometimes easier for the reluctant writer to focus only on the dialogue among the characters. Your child might enjoy presenting his play as a puppet show or using a video camera to make his own movie using his own written screenplay.

Writing, like reading is one of those tasks that will only improve through a lot of practice. Set up a designated writing area somewhere in your home and have writing material available to your child at all times. This includes markers, pencils, pens, and crayons, as well as coloring books, paper, and journals. Provide lots of writing opportunities for your child and above all – keep it fun!