Approximately 13 percent of all students enrolled in public schools are receiving special education services. These students have a variety of disabilities, from severe developmental delays to specific learning disabilities, such as dyslexia and dyscalculia. Providing appropriate educational opportunities for such a diverse population can be quite challenging. Recent advances in technology have provided the field of special education with valuable resources to enhance the learning experience.
Increases in Individualized Learning
One of the most valuable technology trends in special education is the ability to further personalize learning for children with disabilities. The use of computer apps is a low-cost way for students to learn subjects at their particular educational level and at their own pace. Children in special education are often worried that their rate and quality of learning will be ridiculed by their peers. By using technology to personalize learning, students do not have to worry about dealing with their peers' criticism. In addition, the use of individual profiles allows students to easily retrieve their settings on computer programs, rather than having to reset their particular preferences each time.
Advances in Assistive Technology
Innovations in technology have made it easier for children with disabilities to learn, especially in classrooms where students have such a wide variety of difficulties. Whether it is text to speech software, graphic organizers, or virtual reality, there is technology to assist with their specific disability. For example, virtual reality is being used to help autistic children practice social skills in various real-life situations. As technology continues to develop, we can expect even more products that will aid in helping special education students learn.
One of the great challenges in special education is being able to recognize disabilities at an early age. Research suggests that the earlier the intervention, the better the outcome; students that have disabilities that are not identified experience more learning and emotional problems over time. Computer software has been created which can aid in assessing emotional and learning disabilities at an early age. Developers are hoping that these tools can be used at school, at home, and by pediatricians to aid in early identification.
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