Teaching Coding to Kids with Disabilities: What You Need to Know

Posted 2 years ago in EDUCATION.

As coding gains mainstream popularity, a sudden surge in the need to make coding a compulsory subject can be witnessed

Teaching Coding to Kids with Disabilities: What You Need to Know

Digital transformation is bringing groundbreaking changes to the world around us. From the corporate world to the educational institutions, technology is breaking the old ways and creating newer opportunities. 

As coding gains mainstream popularity, a sudden surge in the need to make coding a compulsory subject can be witnessed. But the education system should avoid attempting blanket coding philosophy for every student. 

The need of the hour is to customize our education system to suit each student's unique needs. Students come with varied needs, abilities, and learning patterns. 

Common Learning Disabilities

Before we get into how coding is essential for everyone, let's take a look at some of the most common learning disabilities that our students are facing. Most learning tools and techniques available nowadays focus on the larger population. Students with disabilities, on the other hand, tend to be left out of such a curriculum.

As per the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, there are 7.5 million children with disabilities across the country. This includes children with speech, cognitive, and health disabilities.

Most of these conditions affect the kid's learning ability. To prevent this, we need to customize our education system accordingly. Five of the most common disabilities include:

Dyscalculia: This disability pertains to having trouble with mathematical problems such as counting, grouping numbers, estimation, and measurements.

Dyslexia: It is one of the most common disabilities where the person suffering has trouble reading and understanding text.

Dysgraphia: This disability affects the learner's ability to write properly.

ADHD: ADHD is an attention-deficient disorder that affects the attention span of learners and makes it difficult for them to pay attention to something.

Dyspraxia: This disability affects the learner's hand and eye coordination. 

Coding for Students with Disabilities

To teach coding to kids with disabilities, the teacher needs to be prepared accordingly. The teacher must employ the right learning technologies and tools to help the kids understand the basics of coding. This will include understanding each student's disabilities and designing the program according to their learning ability. 

One thing all teachers must keep in mind is that there's no average student. That's why the program needs to be designed according to each student's capabilities. This would require a bit of research. The teacher must know the strength and weaknesses of their students. The curriculum must be flexible enough to reach all the ends of the learning spectrum. 

This process will help the teachers enhance the strength of their students and minimize their weaknesses. For instance, a learner with ADHD will find it difficult to pay attention to a topic for a long time. In this case, the teacher must feed essential information to the student in small portions. Moreover, the teacher must try to introduce aspects of the topic that garner the students' interest. For a student suffering from ADHD, the learning process for coding needs to be entertaining and interesting.

Similarly, kids with autism will find interest in coding classes for kids if they are coached properly. 

Conclusion

Teaching students with disabilities to code has to be an interesting process. Once the students have developed an interest in the subject, they can be guided accordingly to learn further. If the student does not have an interest in coding or computer programming, the first thing that the teacher needs to do is make it interesting enough for them.

Then, there are resources and their application in teaching kids with disabilities to code. This will include everything from the learning tool and courses to the technologies designed to help learn to code. 

Nowadays, coding has become a popular subject to learn and master. And there is a multitude of resources available for the same. All you need to do is find the right resource, have it modified according to the learner's capabilities, and deliver it in an interesting fashion. 

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Shane Mathew

Living in United States

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