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The iPad® has become a real game changer in the world of special education, in terms of true Assistive Technology integration, and fostering self regulation in children with Autism and other special ...
The iPad® has become a real game changer in the world of special education, in terms of true Assistive Technology integration, and fostering self regulation in children with Autism and other special needs. Special educators have long been concerned about bridging the gap between readiness to learn and actual performance, which is crucial for social communication development. With the IDEA revisions of 2004, which federally mandated a Behavior Intervention Plan as part of each student's IEP, there is increasing interest in methodically documenting and facilitating social communication development for children with challenging behaviors, particularly Autism.
The use of an iPad® spurns a “teachable moment” or string of them, rife with opportunities. Opportunities for children with Autism to more naturally and sequentially learn target vocabulary/concepts, while simultaneously engaging in the repeated practice of behaviors, desirable behaviors. Specific behaviors which promote Attention, Causality, and Problem Solving. These are all part of the umbrella of Executive Function Skills, which many of these children have difficulty with. It results in the social communication challenges so often seen at home or in school, especially when faced with unfamiliar or undesirable tasks.
What is important for special educators to realize is that:
• There needs to be a universal way to assess which iOS App is actually worth buying
• There needs to be a developmental hierarchy to consider, when introducing specific iOS Apps into treatment at specific junctures in time
Best practices do not include a haphazard activation of an iOS App to hit a point home at the end of a lesson, or provide a reward or respite between lessons. It is crucial for special educators to treat the iPad® as another tool, albeit a versatile, multifaceted one, in the toolbox of instruments for best practices, by truly knowing which App to use when.
Read more, and access my Socially Speaking™ App Rubric here!
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