iPad Changing Lives For Dallas Special Needs Students

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – In the hands of many kids, high tech gadgets are little more than pricey, plug-in toys.

But, at the Notre Dame School of Dallas, which serves special needs students, this same technology is being used to change lives.

“Our students learn from what they see around them,” says Principal Theresa Francis. “The visuals that the iPad gives them in tremendous.”

So on this day, with an iPad providing step-by-step photo instructions, this class is baking a Mardis di Gras king cake… in another, students are learning how to recognize and respond to medical emergencies.

“Lots of repetition, so where a ‘normal’ child may take one time to learn a skill, our students may need 10 times to learn that skill”, says Francis, “they may need to always come back to a visual schedule or a visual cue to help them accomplish that task. That’s where these iPads have been a life changing opportunity for our students.”

Educators also point to the interactive qualities of the iPad as being especially engaging and helpful to students with learning challenges.

“It can speak to ’em, so even if they can’t read it, they can speak it,” says Linda Rush. Rush is a nationally recognized expert in technology integration for special needs children.

“Our kids can’t spell… so for them to be able to find information, by going to Wikipedia or to the web to find information on a topic that they’re reading about… I just think that is just truly awesome.”

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  • Claire

    Honestly, CBS did not do well with this article and I am disappointed. Constant misspellings, including the name of the school (which is NOTRE Dame School of Dallas) and Mardi Gras, was only a small portion of the mistakes. Also, “special needs students” is not the correct term — Instead, it is important to use person-first language, which would then be “students with special needs.” I missed the on-air report, I would like to see the newscast if possible- Maybe it turned out better than the written portion. Notre Dame is a great school, with faculty and staff dedicated to working with all kids of students to create well-rounded self-advocates who are well prepared for their life beyond school. What I AM pleased about, is how CBS took time to do a report on the school and how technology can enhance these students’ education– I just wish the article did Notre Dame justice,

    • Holly L Moore

      I agree. There are lots of misspelled words and even more inconsistencies. I hope this is not indicative of all reporters nowadays. Also; you are correct, the article does not do justice to the abilities of the school or the students. But I am happy that the school ie the teachers have a found a way for the students themselves to become independent through technology. Thank you to all of the teachers who teach to students with special needs.

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  • Tommy Huntington

    My son graduated from Notre Dame School of Dallas. It is so sad to hear that the students there can no longer read and spell. It is gonna break my son’s heart when I tell him he cannot read or spell. I’ll either e-mail him or text him. This article sells the kids short. The kids CAN read and spell. Notre Dame does not have a qualified spokesperson is the real problem.

    • Tamieka Williams

      I agree with your post Mr. Huntington. My daughter is a student in the Bridges program at Notre Dame and she was shown in the news segment. She CAN read, spell, and do math both independently and with technological devices. The article does indeed sell the kids and the school short! The news station did not even take the time to attach the relevant segment to this article. Instead, we got to watch a repeat of the weather instead of correct segment. Thanks for still caring about NDS and congratulations to your son and your family for such an amazing accomplishment!

      Tamieka Williams

  • Carol Huntington

    My son went to Notre Dame School of Dallas for 14 years and during every one of those school years he worked on his reading, math, writing, etc. It is amazing that his teachers thought he could read and that I have heard him read. In fact, he read in Mass and he read at his graduation where quite a crowd heard him. I also was a teacher assistant for five years at the school. I worked with students on reading, writing and arithmetic. This was with three different levels of students. Not every student was able to read and or write. Some spell phonetically. Each student has their own capabilities. To say that as a school the students cannot read or spell is just wrong. I am embarrassed and hurt that a spokesperson for the school would say such a thing.

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