Technology Helpful to Those with Special Needs

NDFYA Staff

Living on your own is difficult. So is finishing school.

When your child has special needs in addition to what’s being faced by all young adults today, those goals can seem impossible. As the digital age progresses, though, we are getting more than vivid TV screens or faster Internet speeds.

Technology is enabling those like your young adult to have better interaction with the rest of the world. That includes friends, instructors, employers, neighbors, landlords.

This is happening through the development of assistive technology devices and software programs. But it’s also brought about by people reimagining ways to use mainstream devices and applications.

Assistive Technologies

Assistive technologies are quickly garnering support among those at K-12 schools. Heather B. Hayes reports, “Educators say that special-needs students who regularly use assistive technologies achieve greater levels of independence; gain confidence; more willingly reach out to their teachers and peers to ask questions and collaborate; self-advocate; challenge themselves; and seek out new opportunities.”  All of the results these teachers and administrators are seeing are exactly what you want for your young adult while they learn to be independent.

Consider the Possibilities of Mainstream Technology

Technology doesn’t have to be specifically geared toward those with some type of disability to be beneficial for them. Tablets are proving to be especially useful to all young adults.

Everything is located on the device, including notes and to-do lists. If your young adult has a difficult time writing by hand or reading what they write, they can type out what they need to on the tablet. You don’t necessarily have to find an app designed for special needs people to find one that works for your child.

Another benefit of a tablet, according to a Washington Post article, is that the user doesn’t have to “look over a computer at a teacher or their peers while they are having a discussion, so using a tablet doesn’t impede eye contact.” So no more hiding in order to remain disengaged from the class.

Also, tablets are widely used by many people for educational, professional, and personal purposes. Your young adult won’t feel marginalized because many people have the same devices with those exacts apps installed.

More Applications than the Classroom

Developments go far beyond the classroom, however. Young adults who have difficulties finding their way to work or back home benefit from navigational devices or phone apps. Your young adult could improve his or her home skills through using one of the many productivity apps available for all smartphones and tablets. Web conferencing software might improve their communication skills.

For example, an app such as Evernote could help your child store recipes and shopping lists so he or she is always prepared to cook. Or, you could help your young adult set up alarms on their device that tell them when to head to work.

Technology is Just an Aid

Of course, buying your adult child an iPad or assistive technology device is not going to magically enable them to get a job or move out on their own. It will, though, provide him or her with a better opportunity to succeed.

Sources:

Learn NC – “How do Special Education Students Benefit from Technology?” – https://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6917?ref=search

Mashable – “7 Tech Breakthroughs That Empower People With Disabilities” – https://mashable.com/2011/10/05/tech-disabled/

Ed Tech Magazine – “How Technology is Helping Special-Needs Students Succeed” – https://www.edtechmagazine.com/k12/article/2013/03/how-technology-helping-special-needs-students-excel

Washington Post – “iPads Especially Helpful for Special Needs Students” – https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/advice/ipads-especially-helpful-for-special-needs-students/2012/04/17/gIQAQn1iQT_story.html

CTA: Ensure your young adult receives the assistance needed to succeed in school