Technology has found a place in many therapeutic areas, and it’s gaining speed in the world of autism spectrum disorder. With many children with ASD drawn to tech gadgets, it makes sense to use that innate connection to enhance the quality of education and your child’s functional skills.
A number of autism organizations, advocacy groups and non-profits are taking strides in generating awareness about the benefits of technology for children with ASD.
Autism Apps Aid Communication
There are tons of apps out there for tablets and smartphones for scheduling, visual cues for communication, and other functional aids for children with ASD. Autism Speaks maintains a comprehensive directory of apps that are useful in this population, including the functional areas they benefit, costs and other details, while many organizations focused on ASD are touting the benefits of technology in the classroom.
Some Schools Lack Resources
Not every school has the funding for an assistive technology expert to guide the use of technology in the ASD population, but you can help. Contact your child’s school to inquire about their use of technology in the classroom. Do they have an assistive technology expert on-staff within the district, or a contracted expert they can consult for periodic consultations?
If you have the ability, offer to write a grant proposal on the school’s behalf. You can also conduct research to find organizations willing to invest in educational technology for special needs populations and provide a list of available funding opportunities to the school.
Feature-Matching Analysis is the First Step
Autism Consortium suggests that every child with ASD have an assessment before technology is incorporated into the curriculum. That’s because children with ASD vary dramatically in needs and functional skills, so the appropriate use of technology might look different from one child to the next.
Your child’s school can initiate and coordinate what’s called a Feature-Matching Analysis to determine how your child could benefit specifically from the use of technology. You can also coordinate the assessment yourself through a number of independent organizations. Once you’re armed with an assessment and a plan of action, investing in your own device is another option.
Bringing technology into your child’s education will take some effort on your part if your school district isn’t ahead of the times in terms of technology. Collaborate with other ASD parents and your child’s educators, and coordinate a group effort to improve the use of technology in the classroom.
Does your child’s school use assistive technology in the ASD or special needs population? Have you been successful in initiating the use of more technology in your child’s school? What tactics have you found to be successful?
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