New App Identifies “Autism-Friendly” Public Spaces

Autism is becoming increasingly prevalent, with as many as one in 50 school-age children affected by the neurological development disorder. Thankfully, parents and family members raising children with autism are banding together to lend each other support. Father Topher Wurts, 48, is even developing an innovative mobile application. The app, named Autism Village, would help other parents, family members, and caretakers find “autism-friendly” public spaces, like parks, playgrounds, and museums. The app will launch in summer 2015.

While the app and others like it are doing wonders for parents, many still struggle when it comes to finding suitable childcare and education. Questions like, “What are the best schools for students with learning disabilities?”; “What are the best special education programs?” and “What are the most effective ways of teaching children with autism in schools?” remain unanswered. Here are a few things to consider to being answering these questions.

Wurts Is Onto Something
Wurts has the right idea with his in-progress mobile application, and the same principles can be applied to children’s education as well. Remember: Other parents going through the same experiences are one of the best resources available to you. After narrowing down your options, reach out to other parents in person or online to ask about their experiences with specific educational institutions.

Identify Your Child’s Specific Needs
The best schools for children with special needs often develop Individual Education Programs (IEP), specifically tailored to each student. Knowing where your child excels and where he or she may need a little extra help can go a long way when developing these programs. And don’t stop there. Also consider what teaching methods and activities have been most successful at home. Does your child respond well to sensory activities? Have you had an incredible amount of success with applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy? Let teachers know!

Finding quality education for children with special needs can be difficult. Make the best decision by reaching out to the local community (specifically, other parents of children with autism) and by pinpointing your child’s specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Identifying successful teaching methods, such as applied behavior analysis or sensory activities, helps, too!

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