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May 16, 2014

Autism Expressed Curriculum

Krisa Winn

Recently, I came across a digital curriculum called, Autism Expressed. It was created by Michele McKeone, M.Ed,, a teacher, who wanted a way to help her students who had autism, transition from high school into the real world. Although there are numerous computer applications ‘out there’ designed to teach a specific skill- i.e. multiplication, rhyming and although many students today are well versed in playing online games, Michele filled the need of using technology to teach the basics and beyond of technology in a way that could be easily processed by students who have autism.

The Autism Expressed curriculum has several modules that students work their way through. Each module builds upon the last and is designed to follow Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning. (Simply stated- Bloom determined the progression of learning. When we learn something, we begin with the lowest level- knowledge and systematically move to higher levels of learning. Bloom called the highest levels- synthesis and evaluation).

As students move through the AE digital curriculum, they begin with simple things in Module 1, like what is the internet? And what kind of information is appropriate to share on the internet? They move on to learning how to use the internet in specific ways such as blogging in Module 2. In Module 4, the last module in the curriculum, students evaluate everything they’ve learned so that they can create an online portfolio - a resource that will help future employers have an understanding of the student’s skill level, interests and capabilities.

For families, this is a monthly subscription program. Parents can keep tabs on their child’s progress, and students have the opportunity to work at a pace that is right for them. There are hundreds of "bite sized" lessons based not only on Bloom’s (as mentioned above), but also the teaching strategies of ABA therapy. There are a few sample lessons on their website, and currently, a free trial period is also being offered. The free trial not only allows you the opportunity to peruse the curriculum without making a financial commitment, but also gives your child an opportunity to see if the voice used on the program is tolerable to him or her, and if the graphics are helpful- as opposed to being distracting.

Every child is different, so this may not be the program for your student. This is not an endorsement or recommedation of Autism ExpressedHowever, in this world where so many job opportunities require applicants to be literate in technology, Autism Expressed could give your student the advantage that’s needed to successfully transition into the workforce.

For more information see- www.autismexpressed.com

-Krisa Winn

 

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