“Some kids struggled enormously with concentration [but] had no issue sitting with the iPad,” she said. “They were incredibly motivated and eager.”
While acknowledging the financial challenges of using iPads, Barley said her students told their parents how excited they were to use the devices for instruction, and every parent wound up purchasing an iPad for home use.
Some apps have free and paid versions, and functionality and student needs likely will determine which versions are best, Barley said.
Some of Barley’s favorite English/language arts apps for teaching students with autism include:
Cliffs Notes Study Guides
Shakespeare in Bits
The Poetry App
Sights Words Pro
Play Time Theater
Montessorium Intro to Letters
When it comes to math apps, Barley advised looking for apps that advance users to new levels or units and do more than just one thing, in order to maintain engagement and keep students interested. Some of her favorite math apps include:
Montessori 100 Board
Five Little Monkey
Montessorium Intro to Numbers
Approach to Montessori
“As students achieve more success, their confidence grows, and as their confidence grows, they are much more willing to attempt new challenges,” Barley said, noting that many of her students with autism become much more socially interactive once they started using various apps and sharing tips and successes.
“I really believe we need to focus on what these children can do, rather than what they can’t do,” she said.
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