Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Handheld Devices Help Students with Autism

An Edutopia.org special report on "Overcoming Autism" includes a compelling item on the use of handheld devices such as the PALM PILOT TX to help autistic students cope.

Jeanne Dwyer, program coordinator for the Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education, says "AT (Assistive Technology) has to be handheld, portable, and intuitive for students to use." One example used is students taking pictures of their pets so they can share with other students. It is also "cool" to have a handheld device -- other kids want to see it. Both help students socially. Video and PowerPoint are particularly helpful tools for autistic students.

In Texas, special education teacher Lynn Parsons gives her students PALM Pilots and engages her students in Geocaching, a popular "hide and seek" global positioning tool that requires collaboration and direction-following.

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