Can Technology Help People With Autism?

As the mother of a child on the spectrum and as a person on the spectrum myself, this is a subject that piques my interest. Many kids who have autism are unable to speak. Others who are higher functioning have trouble expressing their emotions and/or understanding the facial expressions of the people around them.

Autism Speaks in conjunction with Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism have launched an initiative to develop free apps to help people on the autism spectrum. They are calling this initiative Hacking Autism. Their first app is called Mihi. It is a simple app for iOS that helps kids relate their feelings. There are more apps (some free and some not) available on their site.

There are more organizations that are working to make life easier for people with ASD. A simple web search brought up this Autism Resources site. Here’s a link to yet another site, Technology for Autism Now.

One of the best ways that children on the spectrum learn is through interactive lessons. There are a lot of ways to accomplish this type of learning but my favorite is Time4Learning.

Thanks to technologies like these, I can see a bright future for my son and others with ASD!

 

Going Tech with Astronomy

My youngest son, RoboBoy, has Aspergers as do I. One of the characteristics of we Aspies is that we tend to obsess over one or two interests. One of RoboBoy’s passions is astronomy. He absolutely LOVES anything to do with space, planets, black holes and the like. So when I read online that we can see Mars in the night sky during the month of April, I had to take him out in the front yard for a look!

 

Our friend and neighbor had shown us, about a week ago, Jupiter and Venus with a crescent moon below. She then introduced us to Earth Sky where you can see what is going on in the sky on any given night.

 

I recently found The Wired Homeschool online. Look for a guest interview from John in weeks to come! In one of his recent posts he talked about astronomy. He revealed the big news that Saturn will be visible in the night sky this month as well! John even has a review for an app to assist in our “backyard” astronomy forays called, Planets. This app is designed for iPad and iPhones.

 

Under his homeschool resources tab, there is a review of Classical Astronomy. A site that presents all kinds of information about just exactly what we are seeing when we look up at the stars. They have a free monthly newsletter that you can subscribe to.

 

Of course there is always the NASA website to peruse. There is a wealth of information on there!

 

I think we may end up having to invest in a telescope for our family. A trip to our local planetarium is probably in our near future as well.

Paper Dragons

My youngest son, RoboBoy, has a passion for origami. He’s very good at it too. I did not teach him this craft. He found a book on our shelf one day and was intrigued by it so he decided to pursue it more. This is where technology comes in! He was able to find videos on Youtube which he followed and learned the basics of paper folding. Now he has several patterns that he can do from memory. He continues to learn origami from the internet and even has a couple of favorite designers.

This has been a wonderful activity for my son who is on the Autism Spectrum. It has opened doors for him to be more social with others. One day we were at the library and he had brought his origami kit with him. While we were there the kids from the local elementary school started streaming in for their ‘after school’ activities. Several of the boys came over to see what RoboBoy was making. Before we knew it, RoboBoy was teaching an impromptu origami class! His “students” were greatly impressed by his knowledge and appreciated his willingness to share with them. RoboBoy felt special and like he ‘fit in’ for maybe one of the first times in his young life.