Autism, Communication and Technology
(ACT) Project (2005-09)
The Autism, Communication and Technology Project was initiated at
Spaulding Youth Center in 2005 to research whether the use of interactive whiteboards
could be used to improve communication and engage students diagnosed with Autism
Spectrum Disorder or neurological disorders.
As the field of education experiences an exponential increase in students diagnosed
with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a new and effective model for instructing students
was called for in the ACT Project. Interactive whiteboards have revolutionized how
teachers engaged and taught autistic students in group instruction at Spaulding
Youth Center, a residential special education school in New Hampshire. This
technology has offered new opportunities for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
and other neurological impairments to demonstrate spontaneous social learning and
increased on-task classroom behaviors.
After four years as Project Director, the results are nothing short of remarkable.
A transformation of both the teachers and learners has occurred. Autistic students
for the first time learned in group instruction in a proactive learning environment
where they used tools to learn communication and language skills and appropriate
classroom behaviors. The SMART Interactive Whiteboard became the tool for
expressing what they knew and what they wanted to tell others. This technology
became “Their Voice”.
Inquiries on this project are welcomed by parents and organizations that want to
transform the educational environment for autistic children.
Autism and Technology Project (2009 – 2011)
The Autism and Technology Project at Timberlane School
District was designed based upon the ACT Model as outlined above. In this
project, the goal is to create universally-designed ASD classrooms across
all grade levels. Each classroom located at two elementary schools, a middle
school and a high school, Smart Interactive Whiteboards were installed along
with a set of recommended software to support the learning environments were
the ASD students are taught.
In the second year of the project, teachers are designing lessons using
online tools and Smart Notebook lessons to engage their students in literacy
and math activities. Each teacher is designing a Moodle site to support
their instruction and to support the learning of students with a set of
resources, online sites and templates.
Leading &Learning with Technology,
February 2009. “Whiteboards Engage
EDCompass (A Publication of Smart
Technologies), October 2009.
“Teaching Children with Autism
Interactive Administrator (A
Publication of Smart Technologies),
Fall 2009. “SMART Board Interactive
Whiteboards Transform Learning for
ISTE TIP Webinar – September 17, 2008
Revolutionizing Instruction for Autistic
Students Utilizing Interactive Whiteboards
presented by Kathleen McClaskey and
Schools Moving Up Webinar – May 27, 2009
Engaging Diverse Learners in Group
Instruction Utilizing Interactive Whiteboards
presented by Kathleen McClaskey and Randy Welch
SMART Technologies Webinar – December 2009
The Celebration of Teaching and
Learning – March 2009
NECC 2009 – Washington DC