Mental Health Support - How is new technology helping those with learning disabilities?
With the fast pace that technology is being distributed into the market place, it’s hard to keep up and some may find the constant change exciting and others simply deem it confusing. However, no one can deny the benefits new technology brings, especially for those with learning disabilities.
It could be argued that new technology and social platforms are not ‘human’ and are ridding the world of personal contact. But on the contrary, for those with learning disabilities, these platforms are now providing a new way for them to have a voice, communicate and develop skills at a quicker rate than before.
Dependent on the disability, there are a number of Apps that can be used on tablets or iPads that are changing the lives of children with developmental disabilities that include Aspergers syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. These learning disabilities can affect social interaction, communication and language.
New technology doesn’t isolate those with learning difficulties, but actually provides a great source of support and motivation – plus, they’re fun! Here are just a few apps you should take a look at…
Proloquo2Go – is an alternative communication tool for those who find it difficult to talk, or for those who can’t talk at all. It can be adapted dependent on your needs and has a variety of literacy levels and natural sounding voices.
Words Words Words – This app will help to build communication skills. It teaches you words unfamiliar to you, how they’re used in context and how they’re pronounced. It includes fun games and challenges.
Story Builder – This helps children to accomplish educational goals that you set. It helps improve auditory processes for children with autism and other sensory processing disorders.
Grace - helps autistic and special needs children construct sentences. There are a huge number out there and you may need to trial a couple before you find one that is the perfect fit.
Using these apps can help you or your child to develop in the following areas:
Communication - Devices that previously offered ‘touch to speak’ functionality were very expensive, now iPads and other tablets are an amazing way for children and adults with disabilities to communicate using a very simple interface.
Therapy and motivation: BridgingApps is a volunteer community, the co-founder Cristen Reat’s son Vincent was born with Down syndrome, which has led to low muscle mass. The iPad has provided Vincent with great motivation to walk when placed on a treadmill.
Education: Additionally, the fun and entertaining element these Apps provide motivate children to learn – sometimes they don’t even realise they’re learning!
Behaviour Monitoring: helps to quantify the behavioural progress of children with special needs, Behaviour Tracker Pro is a popular App for this.
If you’d like to know more about how technology can help provide mental health support and education, there are a number of online communities, including BridgingApps, of parents and therapists that share information on how they’re currently using these apps and which ones they recommend.