Technology can improve many areas of our lives. Some apps are even targeted for children with disabilities, aiming to improve cognition as well as enjoyment. There are many apps that may benefit children with various degrees of learning disabilities, from dyslexia to autism.
Author of the article “Use of Computer Technology to Help Children with Special Issues” in The Future of Children Journal, a Princeton-Bookings publication, Ted S. Hasselbring writes, “Over the past 20 years, the number of students with disabilities has been steadily increasing at a faster rate than both the general population and school enrollment.” For this reason, the additional help that a parent can offer at home using fun, shared activities like these apps can really augment school teachings.
Apps for Children with Learning Disabilities
Some apps help children with learning disabilities organize their school work and life. These apps include inClass and iStudiez Pro. Generally, the apps work like other scheduling programs. Children or parents can program course work and other activities into the app, and the program reminds kids when it’s time to do their work.
Other apps help children with communication issues:
- My Choice Board;
- iConverse; and
The apps work by providing children aids for communication or letting them use alternative communication devices like pictures and sounds to speak with parents and teachers.
For children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties, many different apps can help optimize the reading environment or provide ways for children to learn using audio:
- Read2Go; and
Children can control the size, font, color and background color of text using some apps, and most of them have the ability to read the words of a book.
Children with autism can make use of:
- StoryBuilder; and
- Living Safely.
Some of these programs, like EverdaySkills, teach kids how to cope with daily living tests, while others, like StoryBuilder, help kids improve paragraph formation and integrate ideas.
Why These Apps Help Children Cope with Learning Disabilities
Some of the benefits of these apps include improved communication skills, better social skills, more effective coping methods and better study and organization skills. Using assistive technology may help students with disabilities overcome challenges and capitalize on their strengths.
One study published in 2008 from the University of Ballarat School of Education in Australia proved that devices like iPods can be a helpful and practical teaching tool for autistic and other disabled students.
What do parents need to run these apps?
Many of these apps come in Mac, Android and Windows versions, so they are compatible with different kinds of devices. There are also alternative programs for different operating systems that perform essentially the same tasks as their sister apps.
Parents should discuss integrating assistive devices and new technology like apps on tablets and smartphones into their child’s education with the child’s doctors, psychologists, and teachers.
Parents may even seek parents support groups to meet and speak with other parents whose child is also dealing with a disability and its many challenges; there, parents can exchange ideas and discuss new technologies like apps.
Chalik & Chalik helps South Florida parents with legal issues surrounding their child’s injuries if another party is responsible, and also provides information for Florida parents via our Parents’ Corner blog.