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iPod Touch as an Organization Tool for Students with Asperger's Syndrome

Student syncs iPod to computer

Scheduling with the iPod

In hopes of learning new ways technology can assist students with daily organization, SET-BC is collaborating with the Provincial Outreach Program for Autism Spectrum Disorders on an iPod Touch student project. The project involves six current SET-BC students who have received an iPod touch with "WhatNext" and "Time Timer" applications.

Student's with Asperger's Syndrome often struggle with organization as a result of weak executive functioning skills. The resulting organizational challenges can lead to poor performance on school assignments, ineffective studying, and on the whole, difficulties in the classroom environment.

It is hoped that the students can use the iPod Touch's built in iCalendar to sync to "WhatNext" in order to create a digital task completion system with auditory and visual prompting. "Time Timer" will also provide a supplementary visual timer during working periods.

We hope that these tools will increase the student's progress towards meeting IEP goals and objectives around organization of academic coursework. To determine effectiveness, project objectives will be evaluated using three different measurement tools. Participants will be pre-tested using the Behaviour Rating Inventory of Executive Function (Gioia, Isquith, Guy & Kenworthy, 2000) as well as an Executive Skills Semi-structured Interview (Dawson & Guare, 2010).

Moreover, case managing teachers have been asked to determine current level of achievement on Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals around organization. Participants will be post-tested with the BRIEF and Executive Skills Semi-Structured Interview, and case managing teachers will be asked to evaluate their progress toward meeting their goals and objectives at their IEP review in June, 2011.

On February 28, 2011 all participating students and teachers attended a half day workshop on the iPod touch and apps. The training was student based to encourage each participant to take responsibility and be independent in the development and maintenance of their organizational checklists. As the project unfolds, weekly coaching sessions will be held between the student and case managing teacher to encourage successful and continued use of the task completion checklists. During these sessions the teachers will maintain an anecdotal record of technical issues, implementation challenges, successes and difficulties.

We hope that the project will be a valuable tool to the students and look forward to reporting on the results!