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This fundraiser ended on 06/21/11

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Please help purchase an i Pad learning library for my class to give each student the ability to communicate and learn in a meaningful way!

The Structured Teaching Program (STC) at Montevideo was created in 1999 to meet the needs of the growing number of children with autism served by the Saddleback Valley Unified School District. The STC program incorporates many research-based best practices includingTEACCH, ABA and SCERTS. As the 4th-6th grade teacher, I develop specialized curriculum to help my students access the state content standards. My students have eclectic learning styles and demonstrate a wide range of functioning levels.
Research has shown that individuals with autism respond well to the use of computer aided technology. Research has shown that individuals with autism respond well to the use of computer aided technology. Many software programs that have been proven effective for children with autism pair enticing graphics and sounds with essential language development activities; these programs play to the strengths of my students as visual learners. The population I serve requires differentiated instruction to access the general education curriculum because of social, language, motor planning and academic impairments. It is my responsibility to provide them with alternative ways to access the curriculum. In her research-based article, Autism consultant Susan Stokes asserts that technology “can be used for children with Autism to increase or improve their expressive communication skills, social interaction skills, motivation skills, academic skills, and overall daily functioning skills.” I have found that my students respond better to the visual cues and graphics embedded in computer software than to oral instructions, and when not distracted by social cues and excessive language, will often perform higher level skills. Students with verbal language, as well as those who are non-verbal or echolalic (use repetitive or scripted language), are typically unable to process simple questions, follow directions, and create sentences independently. A wide array of communication based i-Pad applications (apps) have been developed specifically for children with Autism. These apps provide visuals paired with language to help students overcome these obstacles and begin to answer simple comprehension questions , follow directions , and write simple sentences. Many apps, like Tap to Talk and Pro Loquo to Go provide a voice for children who are unable to use their own. Language and literacy apps have been created to provide visual support to help students identify and comprehend new words and phrases. I have found that computers are an excellent modality for my students with motor planning difficulties because they can focus on the content of their writing without having to hold a pencil and write. In addition, the use of i-Pad touch screen allows students who cannot use a traditional keyboard to access computer technology.
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