Many would agree that technology is the future and the 21st-century world is becoming largely driven by technology. Even more, there are various opinions regarding whether this is something to be ecstatic about or whether it’s a cause for concern, especially for younger ones. You have likely noticed the outcry against kids being overexposed to technology, but have you ever thought about the abundant benefits of tech for kids?
In the case of autistic children, technology is useful as it makes online learning possible. If you’re wondering how exactly technology and eLearning are beneficial for children with autism, it can help them become more independent as well as improve their social skills.
The World Health Organization states that 1 in every 160 children has an autism spectrum disorder. With the disorder becoming so pervasive, finding ways to help ensure these children learn in a way that accommodates their peculiarities is key. Keep reading to find out how technology can help kids with autism learn from home and what techniques teachers could use to support it.
Online Curricula That Facilitates eLearning
Thanks to eLearning, autistic children have the opportunity to be homeschooled like other kids. Even more importantly, eLearning enables them to learn at their own pace and in accordance with a curriculum that meets their needs. This is because there is a range of comprehensive homeschool curricula based online that educators can choose from.
An example of one is Gemm learning, which is an online learning software that creates a customized curriculum for students as young as age 5. After four months, parents or educators can also begin getting daily progress reports so that they have insight into how the child is developing academically. The software offers 24/7 support, which can be useful if you need help along the way.
One of the obvious benefits of this is that learning can be tailored to meet your child’s unique needs. This way, they’re able to learn in a way that feels comfortable to them and you can foster their development and growth in the process.
Online Activities with Visual Design
Whether your child is homeschooled or not, they should be engaging in educational and mentally stimulating activities. Nowadays, many said activities can be done online. However, autistic children have different needs when it comes to learning, as the design of the content matters.
When teaching autistic children, visual designs can help significantly. More specifically, visual designs can stimulate cognition and positive emotions for children who have autism. With that being said, choose activities that make the best use of interactive, colorful, and visual elements. This could mean that when putting together their reading, learning, and play materials, you try integrating a variety of fonts, patterns, colors, textures, and sizes. For example, Zane Education provides visual online learning for children with autism. They have lesson planning guides, interactive study tools, and an online Study Center with a range of resources and tools that align with these successful activities.
Keep Them Engaged With Tablets
There are differing opinions about how much screen time children should have. No matter what amount of time you agree on, there’s no denying that the right type of screen time can aid children’s learning. Tablets especially can be a good way to keep autistic children engaged. This is because they’re relatively easy to use, tap-friendly, and interactive enough to help enhance their social and cognitive skills.
If you don’t already have access to a tablet, choose one that is child-friendly. Some features it should have include intuitive tap-and-swipe navigation and easily programmed security controls. You may also be glad to know that tablets are typically less expensive than smartphones.
If you need to narrow down your search, consider getting an Apple iPad as this is a relatively popular and high-performance tablet. A great app for kids with autism that can be used on an iPad is “Super Why!”, which is a PBS kids app that helps them develop their fine motor skills, imagination, handwriting, and language abilities. Another child-friendly option is the Samsung Galaxy Tab E which has an age-appropriate area for art, games, and music. For example, “Fruit Ninja” is a great game with bright colors and fun images that can be played to help children with fine motor tuning, hand-eye coordination, as well as strengthening their ability to focus.
Integrate Music Into Learning
Music is a powerful tool that can be used when teaching children with autism. It can help build cognitive ability by building self-awareness. It is also a way for parents and children to bond if they’re being homeschooled. For this reason, you should add music to your home study programs whether in the form of games or instruments.
As a teacher of an autistic child, making use of musical games online exposes autistic kids to tunes and lyrics which could positively change their brains. Specific musical games for younger kids to explore are “Monster Music,” which features the Sesame Street characters, or “Crank It Up.”
In addition to musical games, why not see if you could get them to play an instrument? Doing so could help improve their neural processing skills and their overall academic performance. To make the best use of eLearning, find an online music teacher or use videos on YouTube.
To give autistic kids the best learning experience possible, educating yourself as a learner is key. There are free courses available that provide current education on autism for those who work closely with autistic kids. The more knowledge that you have, the better equipped you’ll be to educate your kids. Taking courses could also help you learn new strategies to support autistic children in the classroom.
As you’ve discovered above, using online learning tools, whether it be games, music, or visual learning, could ensure autistic kids get quality learning opportunities. The key is to make the best use of the resources around you, technology included. Although teaching children with autism isn’t the easiest thing to do, it can be very rewarding when you’re able to make a positive impact on their lives.