For children on the autism spectrum, sometimes traditional schooling just doesn’t work. With homeschooling, a more personalized approach to learning can go a long way. However, to really reap the benefits of homeschooling, it has to be done right.
Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to you when you are homeschooling your child. This ranges from detailed pre-planned lessons, professionals that can give you advice on teaching, and various technologies. Technology, especially, has evolved greatly with a portion of it dedicated to helping those with autism. In this article, we will take a look at some of this technology that you can incorporate in homeschooling your child to make learning easier for them.
Visual Scene Displays
According to the organization Autism Speaks, around 25% of children that place on the autism spectrum struggle with verbal skills to the point of being non-verbal. So, as part of their homeschooling, they have to work on their verbal skills so that they can effectively communicate.
Visual scene displays are apps that are interactive and allow autistic children to communicate in interesting ways. There are a couple of different types of these apps.
Speech with Milo is one such app. This allows the user to create interactive storybooks to develop their storytelling skills. Each app in this series focuses on a different aspect of communication and storytelling. For example, one version may focus on verbs while another focuses on adjectives. This app was created by a speech-language pathologist, Poorani Doonan.
Another example of a visual scene display app is SceneSpeak. This app creates an interactive display out of an image. When certain hotspots are hit on-screen, a text-to-speech voice reacts. One of the best things about this app is that you can program in your own images and stories rather than having them pre-programmed for you.
When you are homeschooling a child, you aren’t always acting as their teacher. There are plenty of situations in which a child might be taking online courses, for example.
Autistic children often have trouble sitting still and focusing on their work. One main part of this is that they are susceptible to sensory overload. Lots of talking, loud noises, and other aspects of a traditional classroom environment can be overwhelming to an autistic child.
However, WebMoti has developed technology to help autistic children maintain their learning and control their sensory environment. This system is dependent on two major components – visual and auditory.
The visual aspect depends on a device that WebMoti calls the Webchair. It acts like a monitor that sits with one in front of the child and one in the classroom. This way, even from home, a student can tune into lessons and reap the benefits of a controlled environment.
The second aspect is the auditory aspect. When their whole classroom is talking, an autistic child can easily get overloaded. With this technology, though, the child can tune in directly to a teacher’s microphone and turn down the background sound in the classroom.
Every day new technology is changing our lives in ways we never imagined. For children with autism, new technologies can improve communication, assist in the development of social skills, and improve the ability to learn. As we move forward, we are bound to see more innovations that will make learning and living for autistic children and even autistic adults a little bit easier.
Annabelle Short is dedicated to helping families and children with special needs. When not working, she’s spending time with her family or putting pen to paper for her own personal pursuits. Annabelle is a mother and she loves making crafts with her two children, Leo (age 9) and Michelle (age 11).
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