Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friedwald and parent, Denise Fuller, explain how Mitchell, a student with Aspergers syndrome, uses an iPad to support his learning needs and develop friendships through social interaction using FaceTime.
Mitchell’s a student in my class with Aspergers Syndrome, so Mitchell loves to have his learning tailored around where his interests are. He’s got great passions in different areas. So using the "Must do, can do" approach Mitchell has a set of "must dos" he must do in the morning, it’s a reading, a writing and a maths activity.
Using the "Must do, can do" list I can easily plan my day for what I’m going to use during the day. So for example I can do maths first then I can do reading next. You don’t have to do a certain thing at a certain time.
He then has a time allowance where he can use that time on something that interests him that helps his learning at the same time. So quite often Mitchell will choose writing tasks, but he can choose the topic and he can choose the method of writing. So it allows him to write about his passions and bring them into the classroom.
You can actually have like a ton of ideas where normally on pen and paper you have a page to write on and if you can’t fit it all on that page you are probably going to have to take some ideas out.
He’s quite happy to edit and he adds pictures and he’s just so much more enthusiastic, motivated and interested.
The great benefit with having his own iPad for Mitchell has been that he now feels like he fits into the classroom situation a lot better. He’s finding that he’s helping others rather than always being the one to be helped.
I mean all the kids they ask each other questions, it’s not just him, but whereas before the kids wouldn’t approach him, (whereas) now he’s at the same. He has something he can relate to that the other children are relating to too and they’ve got that all in common.
He’s having the same learning as the rest of the class and he’s actually being able to use some of his expertise and his interests in a positive way, and that motivates him to want to learn more. Having a timetable that allows Mitchell to see what’s coming in advance has really helped with his learning and his focus. So he can look online, he can see what we’re doing, when we are doing it. He can prepare himself for what he needs to do further on in the week, and that just keeps him calm and keeps him focussed on task.