Technology November 11, 2019
Assistive technology makes life simpler for children with learning disabilities
12-year-old Vaibhav (name changed) has dyslexia. Just like most children with this disorder, Vaibhav too has difficulty in learning and understanding or framing things. This has affected his academic performance in many ways. That is when he started using the text-to-speech software that helped him get a better insight about what lies in his textbooks. Today, learning is a lot more interesting and fun for Vaibhav.
What is assistive technology?
Many children with learning difficulties have been relying on assistive technology to make academics easier and hassle free. Best part is, it is working too! Learning difficulties can make kids feel low, stressed out and different from their peers. Some of them might be good at reading but bad at writing. Finding the right technology will help them channelize their skills and work accordingly.
Assistive technology is truly a boon for children with learning disabilities. We use it for those who have autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other genetic disorders as well. So even the basic walker is an assistive device! Such devices are used for our children to enhance their reading, writing and learning skills. They make education much easier and fun too. – Himabindu M Gattu, Co-founder, Abhilasha Research Centre for Children with Special Needs
Some solutions to help
The Indian education system can be tedious, hectic and extremely difficult for a child, especially one with a learning disability. Tech giants have developed various techniques that can be implemented. Assistive technology has even led to a drastic fall in the number of student dropouts.
Some of the most common assistive technologies are speech to text software, text to speech software, sensory enhancers, screen readers, alternative input devices, talking calculators and audiobook software. In fact, even a laptop or I-Pad can be a device for assistive technology. These are widely used in national and international schools. Academics are made easier to children. It helps in reading, writing, listening, solving math and even organization and memory.
Role of parents
Even today, most parents who have a child with autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia worry about the education of their child. They are unaware of how the right tech can help their child.
“We have been using a software named EduSoft which has helped many children with learning disabilities. This has helped identify their weaknesses and improve it. This is just what a trained special educator does. Such assistive technologies makes job of a special educator also easier. In fact, most children with learning disabilities love technology and they are very good at it. Nowadays, children are acquainted to technology from a very young age. There are its pros and cons too”, says Jolly Johnson, Founder of Helping Hands.
On the other hand, most teachers from reputed schools are equipped on how to impart knowledge about assistive technology to a child. But are our parents really aware? It is high time that schools make parents aware about what assistive technology is all about and how it can have a positive impact on the life of a child.
Parents can also seek help of clinical experts and teachers together for the betterment of their child. Undoubtedly, without ample support of parents, a child with our without disability cannot do well in academics.
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