ICT’s – the arm to Special Needs Students?

It is very discussed and disputed in the literature and in various blogs about ICT as a useful tool for special needs students in the classroom. Often I think it is confused as ‘the only tool’, which it is not – it is simply one tool which is useful and is not the only answer. For example, a student with ADD sometimes has difficulty listening to and comprehending tasks that students their age would not have too much difficulty with. Some may turn to technology – a video or a webpage that they can comprehend at their preferred speed. However, I know a boy in my care who has been diagnosed with ADD cannot go near TVs, iPads, computers, etc. as it actually leads her/him to becoming more hyperactive than usual. So in this case ICTs are not a useful resource – puzzles, construction or mind puzzles are though, they make her/him more focused.

A second example is a child with downs syndrome, where technology is a useful resource because technology can help children with downs syndrome communicate – and this is one of their main deficits. Take one child in my care. She, though years of practice can operate simple ICT devices such as iPads, TV’s and computers which means that she can operate these devices independently and this increases her autonomy and consequently boosts her self esteem which is really important when individuals with special needs are in a classroom environment. She also takes pictures and with the help of an  assistant she makes these into communication cards to express her needs/ wants / opinion on a classroom topic.

Therefore, ICT’s are a great addition to a classroom environment and provide an additional resource for individuals with special needs.

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