Julie Green: The Other Side of the Coin


New App Teaches Street Smarts to Kids with Special Needs

Need some help teaching your Special Needs Kids Street Smarts? There's an app for that

Street smarts are a vital tool for all children, but especially so for those with neurological differences like autism. Every time I read a headline about a kid disappearing, my heart hurts because maybe some of these tragic events could have been avoided with more awareness and education. 

Safety Tips For Kids With Autism

It's not only kids with ASD who have a tendency to wander. Sure, our children may never be as "free range" or independent as their typically developing peers—or they may take longer to get there—yet we should still strive to teach them these life skills, instilling in them assertiveness rather than fear.
In many ways our world is safer now than in previous times, yet it isn't easily navigated for kids who tend to be overly trusting of strangers, oblivious to road dangers, taking people and situations at face value.
This app provides a good starting point for our kids, as it features video modelling of the steps kids should take if they get lost in, say, a store. After each video, users are asked questions that test their understanding of the process. Parents are then encouraged to simulate the situation in real life to test their child's coping skills in a safe environment.

(Though the footage features different children/staff, the location is exactly the same in each setup. Different settings are needed in order to help our kids generalize the skills.) It would be great to see more elaborate apps like this one, to include lessons on road safety, dealing with strangers, etc.