TeachTown Basics TeachTown: Basics is a research based solution for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other special needs. The service brings together parents, clinicians, teachers and students in one comprehensive package. Subscription includes on-computer lessons, off-computer generalization activities, data tracking and communications tools that keep the whole team connected. TeachTown: Basics was designed by experts in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), special education, speech pathology, developmental and clinical psychology. http://web.teachtown.com/
The study by the National Center for Technology Innovation (NCTI) Included 47 Students with autism 22 in the treatment group 25 in the control group 20 minute computer sessions 20 minute off computer activities -one on one -small group It is a software program targeting receptive and expressive skills. It was developed as a solution for learning challenges for children in the autism spectrum. Findings in the study were: -Increase in language -Auditory processing -Academics -Social skills Student in the treatment group showed a 200% increase in performance scores Development exceeded what many had expected with less than 1 hour a day intervention. There were teacher benefits as well like, reinforcement that they were on the right track and also tracks and supplies information that the teachers need for parents.
Early intervention or program? This was a very interesting article. However, I was not convinced that the finding were due to the program or jus the fact that there was intervention in the early stages of the children in the study group. I do think that coupling computer work with off computer activities is a positive for the development of social skills. Nothing can really take the place of interactivity with peers as a catalyst for social improvement.
AutismPro With a rate of a new diagnosis every 21 minutes, autism is the fast growing developmental disorder in the United States. AutismPro is a customizable package of tools, content, and programming designed to help educators improve the learning experiences for students with autism through the use of technology. AutismPro is a web-based package divided into two sections: Workshops and Resources. The Workshops section is designed for general education teachers to learn and apply teaching strategies and instructional techniques that have proved effective. The Resources section gives special education teachers, support staff, and administrators access to a database of more than 5,000 lesson plans, teaching strategies, and behavioral supports.
AutismPro is a web-based package divided into two sections: Workshops and Resources. The Workshops section is designed for general education teachers to learn and apply teaching strategies and instructional techniques that have proved effective. The Resources section gives special education teachers, support staff, and administrators access to a database of more than 5,000 lesson plans, teaching strategies, and behavioral supports. Testimonial:"AutismPro Resource Manager is a valuable tool for teachers. It provides them with the resources and information they need all in one place, without having to wade through a library of books or do frustrating Internet searches. This software brings it all together and simplifies the process of delivering educational programming for children with autism." Jackie Agnew Educational Assistant, Toronto
AutismPro seems to be a program aimed more at the educators and less at the student. It has lesson plans, teaching strategies, and behavioral supports that can be used to help educate students with autism. I think this is a good program because if you can help the teachers you can help the students. I hate to use dog obedience school as an analogy but, my dog and I took an obedience class, and I think it was more to teach me, how to teach her. In fact it benefited us both and I think that a program like this can be beneficial to both educator and student.
The increase in autism diagnoses presents a significant challenge for school systems, which already face limited resources as they seek to educate children with the neurological disorder. A new statistic indicates that autism is now diagnosed in one out of every 91 children, instead of one out of every 150 children as previously thought.
Early intervention is important A legislative autism review in Virginia discovered that early intervention among children with autism from ages 3 to 6 resulted in close to half of those children performing at typical or near-typical ability later on. In that, early intervention it was reported to have a nearly $200,000 cost savings. A superintendent said “We’ll see more children diagnosed with autism, and if we can get early intervention, [the increase] won’t crush us.” Some experts say that autism is apparent by the age of 3, but pediatricians are looking for signs as early as 18 months.
Technology and Autism Although technology plays a part in the development of children with autism early intervention is key to their success as students. I was shocked by the facts of 1 in 91 and 1 child every 21 minutes is diagnosed with autism. These to me are very alarming facts. With the cost of education rising it is important to find these children as soon as possible. The fact that by early diagnoses a school system can save up to 200,000 dollars should be a red flag to people to get some early help. I believe services like First Steps should be enhanced to prepare children with all sorts of diagnoses to prepare children before they reach school age. I like the computer programs like AutismPro that are aimed at the educators, better teachers make better student. If teachers can better handle students with IEP’s the typical peer children will benefit as well. Also, programs that couple computer time and activities in small groups is a very good thing for developing social skills. Especially if you can put children with autism in groups with typical peers. All in all technology and early intervention need to go hand in hand and support each other in the effective education of children with autism.
Citations eSchool News November 1, 2009“Teaching Students with Autism” by Laura Devaney eSchool News December 7, 2009 “Software Helps Students with Autism” by Laura Devaney T-H-E Journal March 17, 2009 “New Online Software to Help Educate Students with Autism” by Scott Aronowitz