I ran across a recent article regarding iPads and how they are utilized for students with autism. I thought it would be worthwhile to share some of the tips for incorporating this technology into the classrooms of special needs kids.
iPads are certainly becoming popular when it comes to helping kids with autism. An article in the recent edition of Tech & Learning magazine included insight from Katharina Boser, president of Individual Differences in Learning of Howard County, Maryland and the founder of Boser Educational Technologies. They also interviewed Dan Herlihy, president of Connective Technology Solutions, for tips on using the iPads in the classroom.
- Start by knowing what you're trying to teach and then figure out the right tool. Boser says, "Multiple inputs — sound, pictures — help students with autism learn." Interactive whiteboards and iPads let teachers try different ways to get the information out.
- The iPad's sensory component is crucial. It's the direct touch of finger to device — rather than using a mouse or stylus — that children with autism appreciate. "Any kind of removal or barrier can cause confusion," says Boser.
- Both experts say that the game-like nature of the iPad creates an environment that is free of fear. "Even if you 'die' in a game, you learn why it happened and that removes the anxiety. The games help these children learn about feelings and emotions." says Boser.
Finding the right apps for students with autism can be a challenge. Herlihy suggests downloading Autism Apps from iTunes. It's a comprehensive list of apps already being used by people with autism and is divided by category. Each app includes descriptions, reviews, and pricing.
Boser and Herlihy are co-authoring a book called 21st Century Tools for Students with Autism and Related Disorders (Brooks Publishing).
As technology changes and improves, we at NOVA Solutions continue to look for ways to improve our products to support education in the classroom. From our audio/visual lecterns to our classroom desks and training tables, NOVA believes that providing the right tools for students and teachers alike is of the utmost importance.
Additionally, developing products that seamlessly integrate technology into the classroom is key to streamlining the learning process and opening up the lines of communication between teachers and students in every learning environment — especially in the special needs classroom.
We're always open for suggestions! Do you have an idea? Do you want to see a new innovative furniture product in your classroom? Simply share a comment below or send us an email. We're listening.