Learning Programs For Autism
Online Programs To Help Autistic Children With Language, Learning and Reading
Our online learning programs for autism present adaptive cognitive skill exercises to improve language, learning and reading. Students progress to higher and higher levels of cognitive and reading function in small incremental steps at their own pace.
Autism is a highly variable neurodevelopmental disorder that uniquely impacts social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication and can lead to repetitive behavior. In addition to these varied indications laid out in DSM-5, many autistic children have learning difficulties also. Almost always this is due to a delayed language processing skills. This is our target, the learning delays.
Our program exercises are adaptive, self-paced. They capture every decision a student makes while working in the program and adjusts the learning path accordingly. And so this creates a self-paced and individualized learning experience, which stimulates new neural pathways, new brain function, in every session. If a child can interact at the starting levels of our exercises, the crux of the program, then most likely we can help.
Targeted Online Exercises
Our primary program is Fast ForWord. This a series of exercises, each one of which targets one or more cognitive or reading skills. Exercises vary from auditory pattern recognition and sound discrimination early on, to spelling and reading comprehension later. The overall goal it to improve these areas:
- Social interaction
Exercises For Language
Many children with autism perform well in basic language tasks involving vocabulary and spelling. However, they fall short in more complex language functions such as understanding figurative language, comprehension or inference. Our program accelerates auditory development, helping to make language processing more efficient so that the student can observe and think while listening, the key to high level comprehension.
Improving Social Interaction
Social deficits, which separate autism spectrum disorders (ASD) from other delays, usually become apparent early in childhood, before the age of 3. While they struggle with social norms, make less eye contact and exhibit less social understanding than neurotypical children. Part of the issue here is language — the effort required to simple process conversation crowds out mind space that might otherwise read social signals, etc. By improving receptive language efficiency, our software aims to improve social interaction.
Exercises For Reading
Reading is a language skill. While children with ASD vary greatly in their reading skills, the lack of language mastery is generally an impediment to reading. Our program seeks to reduce the impact of language processing skills on reading by improving the processing and by training reading-specific skills.
Exercise For Attention
Sensory abnormalities are very common in children, as are deficits in fine motor skills. These are sensory integration difficulties that can cause focus issues, and which our software regimen does not address. There is another type of attention we can help though, and that in inattentiveness, ADD, caused by processing inefficiencies that make listening or reading exhausting, leading to inattentiveness or tuning out.
Now Available At Home
Our online learning programs for autism rely on parents to act as coaches for their children at home, with remote professional oversight to make sure your child is on track. We monitor your child daily, call regularly and report weekly. If there is a difficulty, we run online virtual sessions to get your child’s routine back on track.
Every child is different. The software will adapt and create an individualized path through the program, at your child’s pace. In addition, we select exercises and regimens that will provide a starting point and a path to higher function that is not intimidating or frustrating for your child.
The Science – Autism Learning Difficulties Are Not Unique
There are contributing influences to autism — immune system dysfunction, sensory sensitivity, etc. — that our program does not address. However, many autism symptoms, such as reading and language difficulty, are not unique to autism. Fast ForWord founder, Dr. Michael Merzenich, makes this observation:
Autistic children make the same errors in language and reading as higher functioning children, they just make more of them.
The strategies and thinking around helping autism symptoms are changing because of this recognition. It is an important new way to think about learning programs for autism and what is possible. If software like Fast ForWord can help struggling readers, then it should also be able to help autistic children.
Intensity To Rewire Thinking and Learning
The key to Fast ForWord is its ability to interact with the user with precision, responding to correct answers with tiny increments in speed and complexity, pulling the student up to ever higher levels of capability. This intensity, where every click counts, goes beyond what is possible in one-on-one teaching.
Efficacy of Our Program – Disclaimer
Behaviors and learning difficulties related to autism vary widely. And therefore program outcomes and definitions of success vary widely. We work hard on setting appropriate expectations in our consultation before you start the program. That being said, the anecdotal success of Fast ForWord for autistic children has created real interest in Gemm Learning. We have had some wonderful feedback from our families.