EdTech and Accessibility for Neurodiverse Children — Observatory

Accessibility is of utmost importance for a fair and egalitarian educational offering. Previous articles have discussed the tremendous challenges people with different abilities face to access and take advantage of educational or work opportunities. Digital resources help build a bridge between people with special needs and the educational experience they need.

“Yo también leo” (I also read), an application developed by Gemma Fàbregas and Marie Anne Aimée, was designed based on methodologies adapted to children with varying cognitive abilities. Gemma and Marie Anne will join us in our next webinar entitled “Educational Technology for Real Inclusion,” broadcast on Tuesday, April 26 at noon (Central Mexico). 

The technology underlying this application facilitates the learning of children with neurodivergence such as autism and Down syndrome. Why is it essential to try to teach reading to all children? Reading provides students with basic skills such as language management, spelling rules, syntax, expression of ideas, imagination, memory, comprehension, and critical thinking. Reading teaches us not only to communicate but also to think. It is the path opening many of our most basic cognitive functions. Considering the particular experiences of neurodivergent persons and how they relate to the act of thinking, understanding, and expressing, we come to understand that the way they approach reading is different and presents an opportunity to manage their teaching.

Technology is a way to reach this goal, but the tools have to be developed with a profound understanding of how the neurodivergent students learn and how to guide them in their didactic process. “It is based on a child’s motivation and interests. It is an active, varied, playful, and success-oriented method,” explained Fàbregas and Aimée about the application’s theoretical foundation. The mission in this regard is not simple. This technology’s educational intention is to fight established systems and deeply entrenched learning methods alien to how neurodivergent children process and learn. 

In a prior interview with the Observatory, the guests emphasized the importance of positive reinforcement to balance the frustration children with different intellectual abilities continuously face managing errors as an integral and neutral part of the educational experience. Combined with the timely use of technology, this approach presents a considerable advantage in ensuring effective learning.

The project founded by Fàbregas and Aimée to be discussed in our next webinar installment is supported by the Open University of Catalonia (UOC). The entrepreneurs have also been advised by the Talita Foundation in Madrid, which has 25 years of experience in children’s education without neurotypical development. The experience of our speakers as professionals in their field, and mothers of children with different intellectual abilities, will offer a valuable perspective on the use of technologies for the educational accessibility of neurodivergent children.

Gemma Fábregas is a designer and specialist in creating accessible, inclusive educational technology. She is co-founder and CEO of Diversity App and has certifications in areas such as “Usability and User Experience,” “Accessible Technology,” and “Accessible Digital Materials.”

Marie Anne Aimée is the technical director and co-founder of the Forma 21 Association and Diversity Apps. She is a trainer in the global method of reading. Her credentials include an undergraduate degree in Social Work, a postgraduate degree in Mental Disorders, and a master’s in Neuro-Linguistic Programming. She also has certifications in “Child stimulation according to the Dorman method” and “Didactic resources: The game as a learning instrument.”

If you want to know more about the methods to make education accessible for children with neurodivergence, do not miss our next webinar this Tuesday, April 26, at noon (Central Mexico). The webinar will be in Spanish, but for more information on educational accessibility in English, click on the links included at the beginning of this article. 

Clarification: In previous articles, we have discussed the difference between inclusion and accessibility. Both terms provide space to promote education for all, from social minorities to people with disabilities. In Spain, the term real inclusion is used to designate the pedagogical methodologies and resources that ensure the quality of the educational experience for people with special needs. If you are English-speaking and want to know more about the advances made in Spain in this area, consult this academic article, the document repository of the University of Valladolid, or the Inclusión Real Ya (Real Inclusion Now) platform.

Translation by Daniel Wetta