By Haiting Hu

Augmented Reality (AR) offers students with autism a new way to learn and to engage socially. For all students, both their educational and social needs must be met. A recent article in Innovation & Tech Today talks about how AR technology apps can facilitate and improve the learning experience for students with Autism Spectrum (AS) and Asperger’s Syndrome.

According to the article, “Many students with AS can be quite ‘fidgety’, due to the constant flow of stimuli that they intake.” Therefore, it can be challenging for instructors to make the learning experience “engaging and fun”. Fortunately, studies assessing the effect of AR technology show positive outcomes in a variety of situations.

According to the article, “teachers/educators who use AR for special education classes have reported that these types of apps have improved learning interaction, consistently attracted student’s attention, expanded their vocabulary skills, and kept them more engaged and stimulated than non-AR lessons.”

AR technology allows digital information such as photo, audio and text to superimpose on the real world. For example, a geography app using AR would enable children to feel as though they are visiting a place that they could not visit otherwise. AR use also showed an increase in individual independence, such as brushing teeth. Studies have found that AR technology apps can also improve the ability for these students to communicate through teaching them how to recognize facial expressions, hold eye contact, ask questions, and understand non-verbal social cues.

AR apps are straightforward to use and are affordable. Through mobile devices or headsets, they have been shown to support and facilitate communication, increase learning motivation, attention, and independence, and benefit students with Autism Spectrum and Asperger’s Syndrome in their educational experience.

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