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As schools around the world prepare for learning to continue in the fall, educators and service providers are wondering how to best tackle the possibility or reality of virtual learning for the foreseeable future. Many educators are concerned about the steep learning curve that comes with teletherapy and wonder how they might most effectively reach their students. For special education teachers and therapists for students with autism, teletherapy presents a unique challenge as many learning platforms are only geared towards typically developing students.
The explosion of apps available on tablets like the iPad has been an exciting opportunity for children with autism. It may come as no shock to parents and educators that in general, children with autism prefer and are more engaged during app-based interventions than traditional interventions. And while in the past some have feared that technology could lead to social isolation, a recent study found that a group of children with autism spoke more sentences per minute together while using iPad apps than without iPads.
This White Paper was written by Consulting Services for Education in order to better understand the learning impact of the newest Stages Learning product: Link4Fun Books.
These "bridging" books are designed to support early literacy using innovative new technology and research best practices in order to pair the advantages of traditional print based books with the interactivity available on an iPad. This report can also be downloaded as a PDF. (link)
See Link4Fun books for more information.
Link4Fun Books are printed children’s picture books that are placed next to an iPad or other digital device to provide synchronized interactive content. As the young reader turns a page the action triggers the device to display digital content that compliments the content of the physical book and provides an interactive and engaging learning experience.
Although many students with autism possess incredible talents and abilities, especially related to spatial reasoning, only about 10 to 20 percent of adults with autism are employed (Born, 2011; Kavilanz, 2016). Providing code education to students with autism is not only critical for providing these students with a fulfilling and enjoyable educational experience, but also for their success as adults.
Back-to-school energy was in the air at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s (HGSE) Fall Intern Fair where Stages Learning staff met and recruited eager and passionate new students who are excited about working with the autism community and are curious about how to leverage innovation and technology to reach young learners.
Students will use Language Builder cards with the Language Builder App to practice similar matching in both a digital and physical setting.
The Language Builder from Stages app was released earlier this year to high praise from long-time Stages Learning Materials customers who were looking for a digital companion to the paper flash cards they love. The app has now been used in classrooms, clinics, and homes throughout the United States, and teachers, therapists, and parents have provided us with invaluable input about improvements to make the Language Builder app even better. Stages Learning Materials is happy to announce that version 1.1 has just been released for both the Basic and Pro versions with this customer feedback in mind! The latest version of the app has some great new features, including unlimited student accounts and record keeping capabilities to track student progress, and the Pro version now offers the ability to create your own flash cards. Your favorite language builder app has been updated and is now better than ever!
Students will use the “Picture Identification” activity within the Language Builder app to call out the bingo prompt.
So you’ve just downloaded the new Language Builder app. That means you can throw out all your paper flash cards right? NO!! As you may have already realized through our previous blogs, we are big proponents for blending hands-on and digital learning. There are so many ways that you can combine both digital and tangible resources to support deeper engagement.
Our intent with the app is to complement, rather than replace, the physical products. We will begin a new blog series demonstrating ways to use your physical language builder cards and other Stages products in conjunction with the app.
I am happy to report that Stages Learning Materials has finally taken the leap into the 21st century!
The Language Builder cards have become a staple in autism and speech therapy programs across the country, and even abroad. I regularly attend conferences where parents and therapists alike tell me that they use the cards every day at home or in their practice. The other thing I hear at every conference I attend ... "When will the Language Builder Cards be available in a software program I can use on the computer?" That day has finally come!
All over the news, we see stories about kids with autism and their iPads. Rookie reporters tout the devices as The Next Big Thing, even going so far as to refer to them as cures. I’m sure we would all agree that the touch screen tablets are amazing, for little and big kids alike. But where’s the research backing their use for educational purposes for our students? In one word, nonexistent. As a doctoral student at Montreal’s McGill University, I aim to change that.
The focus of my upcoming thesis is on developing a rigorous and research-based understanding of using iPads to teach children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I have been extremely fortunate to meet with the Stages Learning Materials staff, and receive their support to use the Language Builder Picture Cards and the newly created Language Builder from Stages app to test which method results in better and faster learning of receptive and expressive language.
On March 10th of this year, Stages Learning Materials released the Language Builder from Stages App, and we have had an amazing response! Hundreds of parents, therapists, and teachers are now using the Language Builder App to teach 6 early ABA activities to children with autism. But we are far from finished adding features to the app!
Most early childhood classrooms are stocked with blocks, crayons, puzzles, and many other tools that support fine motor development. With the iPad becoming ubiquitous across all subject areas in the classroom, does this mean that the manipulatives and toys we once loved no longer have a place in the classroom and will begin to collect dust? One big question continues to pop up: should we replace traditional fine motor development activities and exercises for iPad apps?
Over approximately the past 2 decades, with the rise in the prevalence of autism, an entire industry has grown up around treating and teaching children and adults with autism, as well as easing the challenges and improving the quality of day-to-day life for individuals on the autism spectrum. Within this growing market, the past 10 to 15 years has seen the adaptation of many new technologies to the particular needs of individuals with autism.