I just came across a great article that talks about a 12-year-old boy named Chris with high functioning autism using a program called Sketch Up. Chris participated in a University of Utah study that was published in the December issue of Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal.
For the past year and a half Chris participated in workshops at the University to teach 3D modeling software developed by Google called SketchUp.
What I found interesting in this article is something I am always promoting with other parents. How do we get kids on the spectrum engaged? Once kids with autism are engaged, we have an opportunity to see things happen that were completely unexpected.
In this study they used a tool to teach children life skills using a really cool interactive program. The kids got a lot more out of this than just life skill lessons.
What happened is the children who were learning the program Sketch Up actually were taking pride in their work and sharing it with others. They communicated effectively not only with their peers in the study, but also at home with their parents and grandparents.
Technology Works for Kids with Autism
In our experience with our twins, we learned 3 key lessons about using technology.
– Kids really can learn from quality technology tools
– Limit their use of computers as they may have a tendency to play too long
– Use technology as a way to interact with your child.
I strongly believe we need to continue to develop engaging activities for these highly intelligent children with autism so they can reach their full potential. Flash cards, and other old school methods of trying to engage these children has proven over and over again to be less effective compared to when we apply today’s technology.