ACCESSIBLE DIGITAL LEARNING: Recommendations and Outputs For Learners With Autism And Intellectual Disabilities (Focus Group Discussion Report)

In the Focus group report, a comprehensive exploration of digital education’s impact on learners with Autism Spectrum Condition (ASC) and Intellectual Disability (ID) is presented. The discussions draw insights from various stakeholders, including teachers, parents, and learners themselves. Several key themes and findings emerge, shedding light on the opportunities and challenges in this domain.

One prominent theme is the substantial benefits of digital learning for individuals with ASC and ID. Respondents highlight increased interest, motivation, concentration, memory retention, and comprehension among learners when digital tools are used effectively. Digital learning is perceived as more engaging, appealing, and adaptable to different learning styles, especially for those who struggle with traditional pen-and-paper methods.

Visual supports and multimedia content embedded in digital tools are recognized as powerful teaching aids, aiding in independent work, transitions, and the development of academic and life skills. Synthesized speech technology is identified as instrumental in language development and communication support for many learners.

Furthermore, digital tools offer alternative means of engagement and expression, catering to students with grapho-motor skill difficulties and providing accessibility through touchscreens and keyboards. The ability to communicate via text and chat functions is particularly beneficial for non-speaking learners and those dealing with social anxiety.

However, while digital education offers significant advantages, it also raises concerns. Accessibility remains a critical issue, with barriers stemming from inadequate technical infrastructure, digital marginalization, and affordability challenges. The lack of native language localization in widely used apps and digital content limits their utility for learners with ASC and ID. Stakeholders stress the importance of accessible technology and content that aligns with inclusive and special education pedagogy.

In conclusion, this Report underlines the transformative potential of digital education for individuals with ASC and ID. It enhances motivation, engagement, and accessibility while also presenting challenges related to infrastructure, cultural appropriateness, and affordability. The proposed guiding principles and recommendations provide a roadmap for the development of accessible and inclusive digital interfaces, ensuring that digital education can effectively cater to the unique needs of learners with ASC and ID.

To read the full Report, clIck here:

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