The festive season is upon us.
upon the benefits of technology in special education,
some of the events where the FAME children
participated and the programs we attended and
conducted as part of our awareness initiatives.
These were the events conducted during Kalangana
9th November - Art and Yoga
10th November - Dance
11th November _ Music.
Solo Dance Category
Abhishek - 2nd Prize
Vaishnav - Special Prize
Conference to mark the International Day for Persons with Disability
FAME participates in the 11th Annual Conference of the Indian Academy of Cerebral Palsy
Based on what was discussed, it also helped us realise that the techniques and methodology adopted at the FAME school was the most up to date and relevant.
Here is a summary of what transpired during the conference:
Day 1 of IACPCON
Dr. Mahadevaiah gave an introduction about Autism where he focused on the definition, diagnosis and clinical features. He spoke at length about how parents these days have a tendency to Google about their child's condition, but don’t accept it. Overall the session was very informative.
The second session was conducted by Ms. K Sindhi, a Vision Therapist who spoke on behavioural cues for visual problems in children with Cerebral Palsy. She spoke on how to assess them, look out for cardinal signs of visual problems and also covered some part of the therapy that is undertaken with them.
The next session focused on NICU management and was helmed by Mrs. Asha Chitnis. She spoke on the techniques she follows in NICU management like positioning, respiratory management, suctioning and parent education.
This was followed by a session by Mrs. Roslyn Boyd and Dr. Kant who spoke on LEAP CP management, GAME therapy and tools in dysphagia evaluation.
The afternoon sessions covered hip surveillance in CP by Dr. Amanda Verna, Dr. Vaikunthraju, Dr. Feroze and Dr. Johari. They spoke about key points in identification of hip problems, it’s screening and surgical management. Effects of Botox was also touched upon.
The last session for the day focused on a case study of a child with Dyskinetic CP. ICF module assessment and functional goal setting from a therapist point of view and orthopaedic point of view was done.
The day began with a session by Dr. Mahadevaiah talking on the history, growth and future of developmental paediatrics in India. Dr. Forrsberg spoke on neurodevelopmental disorders – epidemiology, etiology and interventions. A number of speakers then spoke about Neuroplasticity, which gave the audience a lot of insight and information.
In the afternoon, sessions were conducted on endocrinal manifestation in various developmental delays and identification and prevention in NICU.
Day 3 of IACPCON
Dr. Peter Rosenbaum spoke about ICF framework and the 5 F words inclusion in the training goals. We were happy to note that all of his suggestions were already being followed at our centre.
Dr Hanz spoke on childhood disability policy making. He spoke about International Alliance of Academics of Childhood Disability of which he is a pioneer.
Prof Premlata, Dr. Lata, Dr. Sanjeev and Dr Aruba spoke about fetal development, preterm syndrome, it’s early detection and prevention of developmental disorders in India.
How do Special Education Students benefit from Technology
Students with disabilities cannot use the same technology that typical students use.
Technology can be the great equalizer in a classroom with diverse learners.
Another large percentage of them suffer from speech or language impairments, others suffer intellectual disability, emotional disorders and hearing or visual impairments.
The use of assistive technology like computer software, communication devices and tablets is the new and innovative trend among educators..
It is vital that schools must help students with special needs to access, participate, and progress in the general curriculum.
There are various strategies for integrating technology in a special education classroom, they’re listed below:
For students with mild cognitive disabilities in Reading, use reading skill software, text-to-speech products, interactive storybooks, etc. For those with mild impairments in Writing, use voice recognition and word prediction software.
Whereas teachers can find it difficult to differentiate instruction in one class with different needs and abilities, “assistive technology” (devices and software to assist students with disabilities) can often help teachers personalize lessons and skills enhancement to each child. For children with physical disabilities, technology can give access to learning opportunities previously closed to them.
For the ones with mild disabilities in Mathematics, use graphing software, drills, games and tutorials.
For students with moderate to severe cognitive disabilities, software helps teach and reinforce functional skills such as money-management, daily living, etc., videos enhance acquisition, maintenance, and transfer of functional and community-based behaviours.
For students at-risk of learning, use software and websites that provide powerful and motivating opportunities to engage in learning activities and electronic quizzes and other instructional materials that provide immediate feedback on performance.
For students with special talents and gifts find starting point web pages to launch them into content with appropriate challenges. Also provide tools for engaging in self-directed research and tools such as multimedia presentations, web page design, and electronic portfolios to document learning experiences.
There are many ways in which technology benefits a special education classroom.
For students with physical disabilities provide alternate methods of accessing keyboard, mouse and monitor. Determine the best placement of adaptive technology and train the students so they are able to operate it independently.
Monitor to ensure that the maximum level of participation is obtained without any undue physical demands.
These students like the rest are drawn to technology and it motivates them to learn with the aid of technology, it allows teachers to work with more students at one time, it equalizes education for special needs students and due to this they are seen as more capable by peers, it helps build confidence and help these children find academic success.
The devices available to students with disabilities are no longer big clunky things which become difficult to manage in a classroom. Students now have access to assistive capabilities on technologies that are smaller, more mobile, more integrated and inexpensive. Technology in special education classrooms is an industry within an industry and it is constantly developing and improving products for special needs.
Although assistive technology is commonly thought of as computers, hardware and software, there is actually a continuum of technology, ranging from “low tech" to "high tech".
smartphones, MP3 players, etc.
and software to “read” scanned book pages
out loud, e.g. Kurzweil
computer to operate by speaking to it, e.g. Siri
into written text, e.g. Dragon
who struggle with spelling, e.g. WordQ
• Minimize the extent to which individuals need to ask for help
(enabling them to be more independent learners)
• Improve the speed and accuracy of students’ work
• Reinforce effective classroom instruction and strengthen skill
development of students
• Help students to 'fit in' with classroom learning and routines
• Motivate students to set high goals for themselves and to persevere
What Assistive Technology Cannot Do
• Compensate for ineffective teaching
• Make a learning disability go away
Be expected to provide the same benefits to different users
• Automatically promote positive attitudes toward learning
It is important for educators to keep in mind that when it comes to Assistive technology, “one size does not fit all” – to reiterate, there needs to be a match between the student’s learning disability, the task and the assistive technology tool.
Also, Assistive technology is not always just for students with disabilities; it can be used to help any student with motivation, academic skills, and social development.
Most students with disabilities can and do benefit from technology in the classroom. Incorporating technology increases students’ motivation to learn and personalizes lessons to a student’s individual needs. Even the students with the most severe and profound disabilities can use assistive technology to join a classroom of typical students, and their potential can be reached in ways we didn’t have before.