Parenting Special Needs Magazine | Technology for Life

PSN Technology for Life

Check out our article in the July/August 2015 Parenting Special Needs Magazine featuring Nathan. Mobile technology is helping Nathan, a Kindergartener with autism, meet his educational goals. Technology projects that require Nathan to not only write about his creations, but also explain them in words have helped him to work towards his communication goals. Kidspiration Maps is a terrific learning tool for children like Nathan to organize ideas and express thoughts in creative ways. He also uses reading apps, problem-solving apps and is often rewarded with time to play fun apps.

Apps like My PlayHome and My PlayHome School are used with Nathan to encourage verbal storytelling and develop language and play skills. Nathan and his tutor read and listen to audiobooks and use reading apps like Endless Reader to build vocabulary and word pronunciations. One of their favorite apps is the You Tell Me Stories series, where Nathan reads along, using their patented WordWinks and then Nathan has to go back and retell the story using the in-app recording feature Retell, Record, & Share.

As a reward for focused learning, and if he has not had much screen time that particular day, Nathan gets to play some of his favorite apps like Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Unbeknownst to him, these games are also great for developing problem solving.

Nathan’s parents and tutor use the iPad’s Guided Access feature found in accessibility tools to help Nathan stay in the apps and set a timer for the amount of time that he needs to work in each app.

Nathan is motivated by technology. And, although it can be used for educational purposes, if not used correctly, it can be counteractive to his social goals so his teachers and therapist monitor usage closely.

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