AUBURN – Inside Auburn’s Richland Elementary School, Auburn University students oversee a trio of three-year-old children having fun with swings, tricycles and exercise balls. What appears to be a typical recess period for children is actually an exercise in “incidental teaching” for students in the university’s College of Education.
The three children are among the 50 receiving extended school year services as part of Auburn’s 2011 Summer Program for Students with Disabilities. The children, from Auburn, Opelika, Lee County and Chambers County, have developmental disabilities affecting social interaction and communication.
Special education graduate student Mary Beth Litsey helps a student learn how to use a specially-modified iPad designed to help improve the communication and social skills of children with autism. The devices were used during the 2010 Summer Program for Students with Disabilities at Richland Elementary School.
AUBURN – The Auburn University Center for Disability Research and Service has officially opened, offering additional resources to improve the lives of Alabama citizens with significant disabilities.
Housed in the Dawson Building, the center is an extension of the Department of Special Education, Rehabilitation, Counseling/School Psychology in the College of Education and will focus on developing initiatives in autism and developmental disabilities, assistive technology, program evaluation and employment and community support.
Department head E. Davis Martin said the center’s multifaceted nature will enable it to assist individuals with significant disabilities in living independently and realizing their career and educational goals.
“We’re working to develop a model that will better assist those with the most significant disabilities to work, live and play in the communities of their choice,” Martin said.
AUBURN – Researchers in Auburn University’s College of Education, along with Birmingham-based PUSH Product Design, are designing Apple iPad applications to improve the social and communications skills of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
In June, Scott Renner and Margaret Flores will begin working with 10 students between the ages of four and 14 diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The researchers will evaluate the children’s social and communication skills, teach them how to use the iPads and then observe and assess improvement of those skills in a classroom setting.