Learning Life Skills: Tech Can Play a Role
Learning Life Skills: Tech Can Play a Role
As parents of children with disabilities, we do our best every day to ensure that our kids receive the supports and services required to obtain a quality education appropriate to their needs. This, of course, is easier said than done! Everyday struggles with tracking IEP goals, managing schedules and service providers can distract us from the entire purpose of special education – that is, to prepare our children for further education, employment and independent living.
It is important (and daunting) to envision a child’s life beyond this therapy session or this next grade, but working towards independence is what we dream of for all of our children. Looking ahead to the new school year, it is essential to think of “life skills” as must-have skills for being included in a community, whether that is the next educational environment, an employment setting or living as independently as possible.
Mastering skills of independence such as working independently from a schedule, creating reminders without help, and writing clearly can go a long way to increasing independence and even your child’s time in an inclusion setting. Getting to a job or class on time, understanding instructions, and articulating needs clearly are necessary for everyone, regardless of ability. Technology has an important role to play in assisting our children to develop these skills to reach long term goals.
There are many apps that can be game changers for students in inclusion settings and can help lead to more successful transitions as students enter high school and beyond. Taking adequate time to prepare by working on those skills now and planning for transition early can make for a much smoother process and reduce anxiety. Life skills are for everyone!
By C.E.T. The Center for Educational Technology
Helps users understand the steps to practicing activities of hygiene using videos and picture sequence cards. The visuals are appealing because they depict young adults, making the clips relatable to teens. Using the sequence cards after users watch the videos has been extremely beneficial for follow through.
Week Planner for Kids
Week Planner for Kids is a terrific daily management app to help children organize their days with familiar icons. The app is simple to learn and the graphics are bright, colorful and fun. Users can customize icons by adding hand written text and photos from the album on their mobile device. We highly recommend this app for early learners, and students who need support with time management. They will love planning their weekly activities!
Attainment’s Community Success
By Attainment Company
An app that is designed to help users with disabilities prepare for and become more independent on community outings.Tasks are broken down in four different areas including steps to complete the task, social skills, a story, and a video. This approach is consistent throughout the app making it a good user experience.
Resume Expert – Professional Resume Mobile App.
By Talent Acquisitions PTY LTD
Helps students who are transitioning into employment or job seeking adults develop a professional resume with guided instruction. The mobile app seamlessly builds a resume in under 15 minutes. Email, save or print directly from a mobile device using the app and review interview or resume writing tips within the app for even more support.
Money Up! Learn How to Use the Next Dollar Up Method
Handling money can be a challenging, but crucial life skill that can be taught at many different levels.
Features we like include teaching the “next dollar up” technique with clear images, large buttons for easy navigation, highly customizable student profiles, detailed lesson results reporting and errorless teaching. This app can be used by anyone that needs assistance and desires more independence using money without the need to count change.
Read&Write for iPad
By Texthelp Ltd.
The app is designed for maximum literacy support by allowing students to read and complete literacy assignments independently. Typing on a device while using the app assists with word prediction, spell check, dictionary and to help with writing assignments, online documents email and more. The textto- speech and speech-to-text features can also be very helpful for assisting with students who struggle with written expression.
If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps.org. BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs.
Amy Barry is the Content Manager and Editor at BridgingApps and mother of five children.