Learning Digital Skills

Dr. David Mandell, director at the Center for Mental Health Policy & Services research, says “If our expectation is that people with autism will have opportunities available to them to fully participate in communities to be gainfully employed and to have meaningful life experiences, then teaching digital literacy is going to be a big part of that. 

Autism expressed is an interactive learning platform that teaches students on the spectrum a variety of digital skills. Technology and the digital world is an important tool for learning in and out of the classroom and also provides a variety of resources that most people access on a daily basis. The program “autism expressed” combines real world applications that help build skills necessary to use the internet independently. 

Autism Expressed was originally created by special education teacher, Michele McKeone, to help her students develop digital skills that she wasn’t able to teach them in her public high school classroom. “By teaching her students marketable, digital life skills she was able to increase her students transition outcomes and post-secondary opportunities including college and vocational participation. 

A unique aspect of her program is that it is specially designed to accommodate each child’s needs, so “high functioning” kids on the spectrum are not the only ones able to use to program.  Using ABA therapy as a foundation for the curriculum, users work at their own pace and practice as many times as they like until they master the skills and concepts. Safety is something that is also stressed in the program–teaching students to be aware of spam or “phishing,” cyber bullying, and distinguishing between what should be public information and what should be private. 

The ultimate goal for Autism Expressed is to essentially level the playing field for people on the spectrum and give them the skills and resources they need to be competitive and productive in their post-secondary endeavors. Not only that, but kids finish with a sense of empowerment and autonomy, leaving them motivated to pursue their goals. 

Michele McKeone will be at ICare4Autism’s International Autism conference on Day 1 and Day 3 to speak about her program and the resources that it can offer. To come hear her speak yourself, click here! 

To visit the Autism Expressed website, click here