How Assistive Technology Can Help Special Needs Children

All children face challenges and hurdles in everyday life, but special needs children have many extra difficulties to overcome on top of the challenges faced by every child. Technology and other concepts can provide a real way to help children with special needs reduce and manage the extra hurdles that they face every day.


Technology as an aid to communication

One of the most frustrating problems for children with special needs can simply be being understood. A picture, word or simple letter board is a good starting point and straightforward for the child to use. A simple wipe board or pad and pen work well if the child can write and are particularly useful for a temporary loss of voice or speech. Voice amplifiers are an option for those who cannot raise their voice to an easily audible level. Any of these technologies can be hard to master initially, but are worth the effort as the ability to communicate will greatly aid the independence of a special needs child

Classroom assistance

Attending school and taking part in the same lessons as their peers is a good way to add some normality to any child’s life and there are technologies available to help do this, whilst minimising the disruption to the rest of the class. Pencil grippers and non-slip desktops help children with lower dexterity keep up with their writing, whilst easel style desks alongside carefully designed chairs will provide support and a more comfortable position. A simple stimulation pillow can be useful to extend the attention span of a child with ADHD, so that they can take part in lessons for longer.

Overcoming day to day challenges

A task as simple as getting dressed in the morning can be very frustrating; fiddly buttons and laces can be very difficult to fasten if you have reduced mobility in your fingers. Clothing that looks like everyone else’s but has a few tweaks such as an elasticated waist or Velcro fastening will make getting dressed a whole lot easier without making your child stand out amongst their friends.

Specially designed crockery and cutlery lets children with a weaker grip eat along with the rest of the family and feed themselves; suction based plates reduce spillages and ergonomically shaped handles for cutlery make knives and forks easier to manoeuvre.

Learning systems and guides

Many systems have been developed to help special needs children overcome the unique challenges that they face every day. Games designed to stimulate language learning from an early age encourage development of vocabulary and communication skills; these games can also help auditory awareness and visual tracking in children with more difficult special needs. All sorts of programmes and learning courses are available to suit almost every sort of special need, all designed to help children communicate effectively with whatever resources they have available, often working with physical aids to writing and speech.

Whether a child has special needs that only slightly hinder their ability to deal with the day to day life of any child, or they have more profound challenges to overcome, there are sure to be the right combination of disability aids for children available to help them and make their life a little bit easier.

This guest post was written on behalf of Quest 88 by health blogger and writer Francesca. For more information, visit the Quest 88 website.

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