Technology Helped Learning for the Special Needs Children

A tablet was issued to the students and their education became part virtual and part pen and paper. It was huge transition for parents and for some children too. But most of the children, especially those with disabilities found it easier to participate in class activities. Those with physical disabilities did not need to write their answers. Software like Nuance’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and speech to word software like Novachat helps them to write and read essays and reports while being able to dictate it. Literacy experts get their help from programs like Read180, Dynavox Xespress, Mangovon, Photo Vocabulary and Maestro. These programs help student in fluency, vocabulary and access to tons of e-books. When the students write their assignments, they do not need to physically submit papers, which might get lost, instead they electronically submit or airdrop it. Anumita gives us an inside view to the paradigm shifts that technology made in education for special needs children, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.

The world of technology is not limited only for the tech savvy users. It provides big help to those who are special needs, especially in the academics. In most of the US schools and colleges, the technological gadgets and apps have become a staple requirement to facilitate those with both cogitative and physical disabilities.

WYNN-PEARL-combo

My children have learning disability that categorises them as special needs. During my elder child’s schooling, technology was yet to come to speed to help with their disabilities in the classroom environment. Now, he is in college. The first thing I noticed was that he downloaded software on his laptop, which would read texts from his books and even type as he talked. He used WYNN &PEARL technology to assist him. This portable device scanned the pages from the textbook and converted it into pdf format. It created flash cards, helped highlight, read back and create notes.

Due to the long length of lectures in college, it becomes a bit difficult for children with ADHD to concentrate. The Livescribe Echo Smart Pen comes to their rescue. One more technology that my son uses at college. He records the lectures using the smart pen and transfers it on to his computer as typed material. His own notes get recorded with this pen and he can take it along to other computers or tablets, when he is not in his room.

Livescribe Smart pen

My younger child is in school. During his 6 th grade, our school district introduced iPads for each and every student in the classroom. A tablet was issued to the students and their education became part virtual and part pen and paper. It was huge transition for us parents and for some children too. But most of the children, especially those with disabilities found it easier to participate in class activities. Those with physical disabilities did not need to write their answers.

Software like Nuanc’s Dragon NaturallySpeaking, and speech to word software like Novachat helps them to write and read essays and reports while being able to dictate it. Literacy experts get their help from programs like Read180, Dynavox Xespress, Mangovon, Photo Vocabulary and Maestro. These programs help student in fluency, vocabulary and access to tons of e-books.

Novachat

When the students write their assignments, they do not need to physically submit papers, which might get lost (for any students, with or without disabilities) instead. they electronically submit or airdrop it.

Today, my younger son does not carry a planner notebook to write down his homework or his assignments, he has it all on his iPad. The communication between us parents and the teachers are through the apps on the iPad. They download apps like Canvas and Notability, which creates profiles of the different classes they are taking with the teacher loading all the required materials, test and schedules. No more bulky textbooks for the students, especially those with learning and physical disabilities.

Notability to Canvas

As technology has become smaller, lighter and extremely portable, it has changed the way children of with disabilities participate in the class forum. The educators are now able to incorporate these children in the common classroom and decrease the feelings of being segregated. Children find it easier to bond and work with their peers, who do not fall in the special needs category. Educators, students and parents can find a common ground with the help of these technological gadgets and applications to be able to empower the students and facilitate learning. Incorporation of technology in the classroom environment increases productivity and flexibility for both the teachers and the students.

©Anumita Chatterjee Roy

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Anumita C. Roy

Anumita C. Roy

Anumita Chatterjee Roy is an artist at heart. She has an eye for the unusual. Her naturescapes make her the quintessential Romantic. She paints, is passionate about photography, creates word images in her verses and loves to write. She cooks delicacies and is a foodie. Born in India, she was brought up in several countries. These strengthened the global citizen in her. She now lives in the Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and two sons.
Anumita C. Roy

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