As I continue to research more and more, I am discovering so much more about the Down syndrome community and all the amazing people out there making a difference in their world. Down syndrome (DS) is a chromosomal disorder where there is an extra chromosome on chromosome 21. There is a huge misconception that those with DS are severely disabled and unable to live normal, independent lives. Although they are not constructed like the average person and have certain limitations, they are able to live just like anyone else. The main differences between a DS person and an average person are the number of chromosomes in their body, appearance, time, and education offered. With the right support and education, a DS person can be as independent and successful as any other person.
Technology plays a huge role in the success of those in special education classes, yet it has to be used to the right degree. Every person with DS has a different case and is in a different stage of their life and abilities. Some are more advanced while others need more time to reach their level, therefore their way of learning may be different. It is important to recognize this and choose the right technology to use in their learning process.
Some Apple applications I have come across are Speak It!, Smart Steps, and Injini:
Speak It! is an app that turns text into clear and concise speech. You can copy documents, emails, or any text into Speak It and it will reiterate the words! I believe that this could be a really useful app for Down syndrome students who struggle with reading or need assistance in communicating their needs, wants, and ideas with others. This app opens up many possibilities in the Down syndrome world by helping with their communication skills and possibly speeding up the process.
Smart Steps is an amazing app that specializes in decision-making. It gives an everyday problem that people face in their communities, on the way to work or school, or hanging out with friends and then helps them make a decision. I find this app essential to special education classrooms because it builds on to the critical thinking and problem solving of DS students and others with special disabilities. It teaches them skills that they can apply at school, home, and everywhere else and encourages independence. Just imagine the growth of DS students by supplying them with this app in the classroom. The results would be mind-blowing!
Injini is an app that offers various of different games and puzzles that help students with cognitive delays learn fine motor skills, matching, cause and effect, spatial skills, visual processing, memory skills, and so much more. It is a great app to use with DS students and others in a special education classroom, as well as with a typical preschool or kindergarten class. It offers fun, yet challenging games that have progressing levels that encourage critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, authentic learning, and creativity. This app is a little bit on the expensive side, but I believe that it is worth every penny because it is extremely beneficial to those with special needs.