The Connected Child: Using Technology to Rise Above Disabilities

The Connected Child: Using Technology to Rise Above Disabilities

The caregivers of a child with a rare genetic disorder use a range of technologies like tablets and smart phones to help her learn, track her care and provide consistent learning experiences.
tweet me:
The Connected Child: Using #Technology to Rise Above #Disabilities via @ATT @MotherNatureNet

Multimedia from this Release

Thursday, June 14, 2012 - 4:00pm

CAMPAIGN: AT&T: Possibilities

CONTENT: Article

London was born with a rare genetic condition, but with the help of everyday consumer technologies - from tablets, smart phones, apps and social media - she's learning new skills at a rapid rate. An experimental concept called The Connected Child enables London's caregivers to ensure that they're all on the same page with everything that she does, tracking her learning approaches to see what works and what doesn't.

At nine years old, London is developmentally similar to a three-year-old. Tetrasomy 18p is so rare that there hasn't been enough research to determine the best approaches to help her learn basic academic and independent living skills.  The Connected Child is an experimental program using video models, a blog, Facebookand a web app that keeps each caregiver - from her parents, teachers, therapists and even her school principal - in the loop on her progress.

"The technology that we use is a key to her success," says Lee, London's father.

Along with London's teachers, Lee creates a video model filmed from his phone that shows London what she's supposed to do in order to achieve a specific learning goal.  The video model is then viewed by London at her leisure or can be used in a learning session.

In addition, Lee is working on a web app, available on most smart phones, which will give London’s caregivers immediate access the video models, progress postings, and assessment tools.

This technology is so effective because London's caregivers are using the same research-based methods that are often applied for children with disabilities - and at the same time - they're taking them to a platform that's fun and engaging for kids. Today, London is learning new skills beyond her developmental age, in a shorter amount of time. Her school system has recognized her success, even implementing a new program called 'BYLD: Bring Your Own Learning Device' that is inspired by this technology-based approach.

The Connected Child concept can be used by parents of children with disabilities to encourage a fun and stimulating learning environment, with these four basic components:

Tablets – Interactive learning has helped to pique London's interest in each goal, accelerating her progress. London uses her tablet first thing in the morning to get into learning mode, and throughout the day as she completes each exercise.

Smartphones – Each of London's videos are filmed on a smartphone from AT&T. Video models are a proven method to accelerate skill acquisition for children with special needs, and they're easy to share with caregivers on a variety of platforms like phones, tablets and computers.

High-speed internet – Instantly upload videos and post them on blogs or Facebookaccounts, which are free and easy to set up. Social media (like Facebook pages) encourages caregivers to interact, share a child's progress, and approach the learning process with confidence and enthusiasm.

Apps – Not only do AT&T devices provide access to thousands of apps that tie into your child's educational goals, the company also offers the AT&T Developer Program where app developers can tap into resources to allow them to create custom applications to meet their needs.