At a recent grant reception, Fort Bend Cares gave out $175,000 to 26 different non-profit organizations. The Texana Children's Center for Autism was honored to be one of those recipients. Autism is a spectrum disorder and is one of the fastest growing developmental disability in the U.S. with 1 in 88 children being diagnosed with the disorder.
Children with autism tend to exhibit poor imitation skills, deficiencies in verbal and nonverbal communication, unusual responses to people, and inappropriate behavior, such as hand flapping and body rocking. Their difficulties with communication skills can impede their social interactions with both peers and adults. Our goal at the Texana Children’s Center for Autism is to unlock the potential in each child in the program helping them to learn and ultimately preparing each child for mainstream school. To achieve that goal, the Children’s Center for Autism must strive to create a learning environment that it is as close as possible to what the child will find in our public schools.
Most school classrooms in the area are already equipped with the latest SMARTBoard technology and are used on a daily basis to teach. The SMARTBoard is a presentation device that interfaces with a computer. The computer images are displayed on the board by a digital projector, where they can be seen and manipulated. The use of a SMARTBoard in teaching children with autism is that they are very useful in helping to gain their focus, have them working in groups and allow them to get up and move to the board or table rather than sit at a desk. Children with autism often have limited motor skills but they can also enjoy the board use because of large format; it is easier for them to run programs by tapping on the board rather than mouse clicking. They can also write on the board with their fingers rather than use a stylus, which for some of our children is difficult. This technology is also great for children who need additional sensory stimulation because it is touch sensitive. The ability to touch the board, see the screen, and hear the trainer read the words satisfies the needs of kinesthetic, visual and auditory learners. Also any notes or drawings can be saved or printed out which is useful when speaking with parents about their child’s progress.
Thanks to the grant received by Fort Bend Cares, two digital electronic whiteboards with SMARTBoard software and projector will be purchased for the Texana Children's Center for Autism. This will make the transition from our treatment program to the regular mainstream classroom so much easier for the child and assist the child in continuing to unlocking his or her potential in the future.