Hope for Those with Learning Disabilities
We have all heard the phrase “There’s an app for that”. For many children with disabilities those “apps” are a vital link to learning, growing and fitting in. Too many children and adults struggle with everyday life because of any number of things that can cause their attention span to be short to nonexistent. Or they may have physical disabilities that preclude normal learning. Have any of us ever tried to learn, really learn something, while having our own minds or bodies constantly interrupting us? Try to imagine what that is like and then you may be able to understand, in some very small measure, what millions of people worldwide struggle with every day.
We are federally mandated to teach our children. For K-12 in the public school system, there are two laws, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, (IDEA), and the Section 504 Plan. Both laws mandate that we make every serious attempt to teach children with learning disabilities. Assistance technology and apps can enable these children to be more independent learners. For instance, audio books are a true “lifeline” for a child with dyslexia. Books on audio are not just a convenience for people driving a long distance they are a very specific type of assistance technology that has been around for quite a long time.
Parents of children in need of such assistance technology can utilize the website of The Family Center on Technology and Disability. We will provide a link later on in this blog. The Center has an Assistance Technology Solutions Fact Sheet, which enables parents to identify devices and apps that may best suit their child. Parents should also contact their local school system and review their child’s specific Individualized Education Program (IEP) or the system’s 504 plan to see if either includes Assistance Technology. Remember, assistance technology is federally mandated.
How do you know you need help? Well…was your infant “late” in rolling over, sitting up, crawling or walking? Were they "late" in learning to talk or did they have trouble talking? As they got older, were they slow to learn how to dress themselves, feed themselves or to potty train? Do they have difficulty remembering anything? Do they have an inability to connect their actions with the consequences of those actions? Do they have behavioral problems such as explosive tantrums? Do they have difficulties with problem solving and logical thinking? Not every child who has trouble with these things has a learning disability, but many of them do and should be tested by medical professionals as early as possible. Early detection is vital.
Many of them will still struggle with their school work, but, believe it or not, There’s An App For That! In the meantime, try some low cost options like highlighters or using color coded files and drawers or using different colored paper. Make it showy, flashy, colorful and fun. You may utilize this website to explore apps.
As always, there is a serious shortage of qualified teachers specifically trained in Assitance technology. There are so many with such need, if you are considering a degree in Education, please consider Special Education with its Assistance technology training. Many of these apps are free or very reasonably priced and all can be reviewed before purchase. The website link for the Family Center on Technology and Disability is www.fctd.info
Explore the information and the apps on these websites, there are many for IPad and Android and remember, there really is an app for that!
Chicago area ERP consultant with over 40 years of experience in Sage 300, Sage Pro, Quickbooks ERP and other systems