My first week’s assignment for CEP 812 was to research technology that would assist a particular disability in the classroom. I have already been informed that I will have an autistic child next year in my first grade classroom, as well as a shadow for that child. According to this student’s individual education plan, he needs his shadow to assist him with communication. Since I haven’t had a child with this disability in the classroom before, I wanted to research an appropriate way to accommodate for the needs of that child during the following school year using technology.
Autism can be defined as “a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors” (What is Autism, 2015). While researching, I found a study implemented by Tin Fan and the purpose of the study was to find a way to use an iPad in order to assist an autistic student with language arts and communication in the classroom. According to Tin, “Deficits and problems of communication are a core component of the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. Since a third of all children with autism fail to develop speech, non-verbal communications systems such as hand signs, pictures or word card serves as alternatives” (p. 18). Tim continues to write that “When children have developmental challenges, technology can provide them with opportunities to more fully participate in group activities, increase communication, and be more independent in their daily lives” (p. 20). The study concluded that iPads are worth the investment for schools in order to aid all students that have difficulty communicating or expressing themselves in a classroom setting.
Although there are several applications for students with special needs that are designed to speak for them or help develop their language abilities, I decided to find an application that was easy to navigate for a first grader and would allow the student to express himself in his own way. I found an application called ShowMe that has the following features:
- Drawing with multiple colors
- Inserting pictures taken on the iPad
- Inserting pictures researched on the internet
- Typing text
- Recording explanations
- Ability to make a slideshow presentation
- Exporting a slideshow presentation
With all of these features the application allows a student to express in a multiple ways. ShowMe would aid non-verbal students with autism by allowing them to draw their ideas or research pictures about topics during group discussions. This application also allows a student to create a presentation that can be played automatically without the student having to make verbal comments. This will help autistic students who may feel anxiety when presenting in front of the class. The features are on one page and to navigate between pages there is a simple arrow key. Similar programs include Explain Everything and EduCreations. I found ShowMe to be simpler and kid friendly while still containing enough features to assist with communication.
For more information, check out my review of ShowMe below.
Can’t see the video? View my screencast of the application here.
Fan, T. (2012). Enhancing learning with the use of assistive technology for children on the autism spectrum. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.msu.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/1023530288?accountid=12598