Since this program began, STEM learning has done a great job of showing the value of a science and technology education. In 2013, “computer programmer” was #1 on the Forbest list of top jobs. However, for autism (and again, a lot has already been said), learning the logic involved in programming can not only be a great skill – but something much more important – a confidence booster.
Kids on the spectrum are constantly being reminded of their deficits, but their gift are not acknowledged as often. For kids with Asperger’s, their ability to take in information and synthesize it in a systematic manner can be outstanding. And the best thing about the program is that it’s designed to build on their superior mental strengths and help them feel successful and talented. Whereas in the normal world, they can be awkward, in linear thought they can be graceful.
Currently, I teach a class that is part of a social group for students with high functioning autism. It takes place at Have Dreams in Evanston every Tuesday, at 4:15, throughout the school year and summer. The students are split up into groups based on age: elementary school, middle school and high school.
The self paced curriculum utilizes video, and offers something for students of all abilities — young children who are anxious, struggle with following directions, and don’t have much experience with computers — all the way through high school students who have been using computers for years and have worked with software programs previously.
Since this is my blog as the teacher (and the thoughts contained herein are mine alone, and do not represent Have Dreams), I won’t say too much about Have Dreams except that it is an exceptional place. They/we offer services for students age 2 to 25, regardless of where they are on the spectrum. And they have the ability to offer a continuum of services that gives ours student the familiarity and comfort that comes from participating in a program, with the same team members, for many years.
Students are accepted through an intake process, so please contact Have Dreams and they can schedule a visit or appointment.