Assistive Devices for Effective Communication Training of Special Children
Out of the approximate 100 children enrolled for early intervention at the centre, 60% of them are non vocal, 20 % are vocal but have no clarity in language expression and 20% of them vocal with limited clarity. Though the emphasis during the training is on Daily Living Skills and Adaptive behavior, the importance of Communication and Social Interaction needs to be stressed as they form an integral part of the training. Apart from the experiences we provide for the child both indoors and outdoors, they need to be trained in communication and Social Interaction. For special students, computer-based technologies can play an important role in communication, as they facilitate a broader range of educational activities and adaptive technology now exists than can enable even those students with severe disabilities to become active learners in the classroom alongside their peers who do not have disabilities. In recent years ipads and tablet devices have started to contain apps that turn the simple tablet into a dynamic communication device for individuals with speech difficulties caused by disorders such as autism, ADHD, Intellectual disability neurological disease etc. This portable device now contains apps that provide voice output, visuals, and pre-recorded words and messages.
An assistive and adaptive device is any tool or other device that has been altered in a specific way that makes it easier for a person with a disability to use. We propose to provide every class room with a Tablet device pre loaded with apps both in Tamil and English for easy and effective learning. The device will also have facility for the student to up-load child specific pics eg – family photos, food that the child prefers, etc.
The use of assistive technology devices can provide a child with a great number of benefits, including:
- Better academic performance
- More inclusion in activities and recreation
- A more engaged social life
- Improved communication with others and a better response to a child’s needs as a result
- Increased ability to express emotions
- Enhanced self-confidence
- Greater independence and self-sufficiency
For the teacher she need not prepare charts, flash cards but can preload pics and words/phrases relevant to the child, or download content from the web to teach the child in the class room saving a lot of time and energy.
“Technology has great potential in providing access for all learners. Through the use of a variety of assistive technologies, students with disabilities can have the ability to access the general curriculum. When assistive technology is appropriately integrated into the regular classroom, students are provided with multiple means to complete their work”. Students who require Assistive Technology might be those with cognitive impairments or physical impairments that interfere with learning or other life functions. The technology helps the student to overcome or compensate for the impairment and be more independent in participating at school.
- Assistive technology is something that enables one to use their abilities in order to work around their disabilities.
- It is mobile and can reach the student at his desk rather than the teacher calling for his attention from her seat
- The graphic and video content bring real life situation to the class room
- Size of the pics and text can be increased/decreased according the needs of the student
- Non verbal children can use a touch screen to communicate\
- It is versatile and can be custom made.
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