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How can ICT support the learning of children with special educational needs?

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Introduction

How can ICT support the learning of children with special educational needs? ICT can support the learning of children with special educational needs [SEN]. It enables children with SEN to overcome barriers to learning by providing alternative or additional methods of communicating within the learning process. Moreover, it also helps teachers to create a supportive framework, which can enable autonomous learning. When used creatively, ICT can enrich and enhance teaching, motivating pupils and engaging them in active learning. But how is this achieved? The range of special needs covers a very wide spectrum. It will be necessary therefore to examine how ICT can support the various needs. Standard equipment is often suitable for children with SEN. the settings of the computer can be changes to make it more computer friendly. The mouse motion can be slowed down for better control. The toolbar can be created to suit the children's needs. ...read more.

Middle

For children with a visual impairment ICT can provide support in various ways; tools to support communication, to improve access to information and as a means of producing learning materials in alternative. There is a wide range of devices and software, which can be employed according to the level of disability. For those with some sight there are screen magnification programs. These adjust the size of text and graphics and control the number of lines and words per page. However for those who are blind or who have a severe visual impairment there are devices such as 'Braille n speak' which has a built in speech synthesiser. This device is very portable making it very practical. Text to speech software is also now widely available. Moreover, technology allows children to write in Braille and produce work for the teacher as a standard text file or to type in their work but print out a Braille copy for later revision. The needs of children with hearing impairments are very different. ...read more.

Conclusion

Software such as adventure programs, control, logo and simulation allow children to develop these skills. Working along side other children on such activities may also assist in the development of their social skills. Children who have dyslexia may have a wide range of difficulties. It is not limited to literacy skills but may also affect numeracy skills as well. ICT is a great motivator. It can assist children to acquire specific skills for reading and spelling, writing and mathematics as well as acting as a support across the whole of the curriculum. There is now available a wide range of software which can help specific difficulties such as developing memory skills. However as with choosing any aid, software must be suited to user to have full impact. ICT provides us with the tools to deliver suitably challenging opportunities for all children enabling full participation and success. It provides the tools to give every child, regardless of disability, access to communication, learning and leisure. If used creatively by the teacher it can change the way lessons are delivered giving children with SEN opportunity to take part in everything. ...read more.

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