Software showcasing virtual animals performing different three-dimensional actions could help young people with autism develop essential reading skills, according to a report byeSchool News.
Mary-Elizabeth Langston, the teacher education manager at Audubon Park School in Florida, explains that a three-dimensional image that a student can interact with through sound and movement creates a lasting impression compared to a static image that has little meaning for the child.
The software and hardware needed to develop the skills needed to enter second year cost almost US $ 1,000 $. Since its acquisition in October, teachers at Audubon Park School say they haven't noticed any notable improvements. Nonetheless, Langston says she sees a difference in the way students form sounds and words. She also says she noticed that they have more eye contact with others and a willingness to learn that was not there before.
In addition, the article recalls that in 2007, the Spectrum project has achieved good success. For older autistic students, it was about building virtual buildings using Google SketchUp 3D, but it was not aimed at reading skills.
A few years ago, an experiment using virtual reality was carried out with young people with autism from 7 to 12 years old. In this case, it was about teaching them to have safe behaviors, such as crossing the street, without this going through teaching or conversation, reported Internetactu.net. "At the start of the training, the subjects reached level 2 of the game, at the end, they mastered level 9, which featured more numerous and faster vehicles", we can read. Once in a real situation, we could see that they had really acquired new skills.
This article concludes with this optimistic quote from psychologist Simon Baron Cohen of the University of Cambridge. “I predict that many of the children of this new generation of autism will be able to find ways to thrive, using their digital technology skills to find work, friends and even innovate. (…) Still, these opportunities will mainly concern individuals with autism, but who have normal linguistic and intellectual faculties, which is far from representing a small group. For those who are more severely affected, who suffer from delayed language acquisition and have learning difficulties, the digital age may have less to offer. But I have no doubts that even for this subgroup, new computer education methods will be able to break through the wall that separates autism from society. "
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