Autism-Related Articles, Books, Services

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Tech Tools for Teaching a Kid with Executive Functioning Problems

Tom doesn't really work well independently.  He'll do what I ask - at least the first portion - but if he gets stuck or finishes a part of the process, he just....  stops.  What that means is that I wind up at his elbow, saying things like "okay, what's next?" or "do you have a question?" 
The TimeTimer visual clock

Often I have to go farther to prompt him with directions such as "why don't you look at the next question on the page?" or "you've written the answer, but now you need to read it out loud to figure out where the commas, periods and capital letters go."  Even when we have a written list of "what to do," it can be hard for him.

The truth is, he's capable of continuing on his own.  And with only the merest nudge, he does a reasonable job of proofing and correcting his writing, finishing the project, etc.  In fact, Tom actually enjoys writing and doesn't dislike reading, math, or practicing his clarinet.  The problem is staying on task, and thinking ahead (AKA executive function).

To help him build some independence, I'm looking at software and hardware that might provide the prompts and direction he needs - so that neither I nor a future teacher will need to sit at his shoulder to prompt him.  So far, I've found some interesting software that actually prompts a writer through the brainstorming, drafting and editing process - but nothing I'm sold on yet.

A few things I'm looking at:
  • This article from Reading Rockets about assistive technology for learning disabilities
  • A database called TechMatrix, which lists and reviews assistive technology for learners
  • A site called ReadWriteThink which includes a whole mess of free, web-based interactives to support a range of projects including 5 para essays, persuasive essays, and more.
  • Inspiration Software (graphical organizing system - ordered a freebie demo to try out)
 I've also bought something called a TimeTimer - a visual clock that, I'm HOPING, will help Tom to think about and organize time - and even stay on task!  Tom's SLP (who's also a social skills coach) has used it with him effectively, so I'm thinking it may be a useful tool at home.

6 comments:

Inspiration Software said...

Hi Lisa,

I read your post on Monday and wanted to get back to you today to let you know that we developed a page this week on our website discussing how Inspiration Software can help students with special needs. To view this page, go to http://www.inspiration.com/specialneeds.

I hope the information on this site provides insight into how the new Inspiration free trial you downloaded can be of service to Tommy's learning needs.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have. Thanks for sharing your post!

Sarah Cargill, Inspiration Software
www.facebook.com/InspirationSoftware
@InspirationSW

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog today. We have a six-year old son (also named Thomas!) and are in our first year of homeschooling. I am beginning to suspect that he has high-functioning autism, based on his social and behavioral difficulites. We are going to have him evaluated at Children's Hospital in Boston, but there is a six-month waiting list. Our biggest challenge right now is teaching him how to interact appropriately with other kids. We had to drop out of a homeschooling science coop because he was he could not play with the other kids appropriately and was being too rough (in a friendly way). I'm really nervous about letting him have unstructured play with other kids, yet he craves it and needs to learn how to do it right. Any ideas for resources would be appreciated (I don't think we could afford a social skills class and I believe we would need a firm diagnosis for insurance to cover it.) I'm glad to hear that there are others taking this journey.

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