Impact of Computer-Aided Educational Applications on Communication and Learning Abilities of the Autists
Computer-aided instructions have significant potential in increasing the educational experiences and facilitating the development of children with special needs (autistic children). Early intervention for autistic children helps their learning, language, and communication skills. This study aimed to explore the perceptions of parents of autists and speech therapists regarding the use of computer-aided educational applications to improve the communication and learning of Autistic Students. A critical paradigm was used for this study, under this paradigm, mixed methods research was used. Under mixed methods research, an explanatory sequential design was used. All the parents of autists and speech therapists of Lahore were considered the population for this study. A purposive sampling technique was used to determine the desired sample size from the population. Seventy-three parents of autists and twenty-eight speech therapists participated in the study. For the quantitative phase, the purposive sampling technique was used. For the qualitative phase, only those parents of autists using mobile/computer applications for student communication and language development were selected. Four instruments were used in this study. The reliability for the parents of autists’ questionnaire was α=.77 and for the speech therapists' questionnaire was α=.96. Data was analyzed using SPSS. It is concluded that parents of autists and speech therapists have average to high perceptions (based on their means) regarding the usage of educational applications. However, positive perceptions were shared by the speech therapists and parents of autists about the educational applications using these applications for specific purposes. It is also noted that an individualized set of activities are essential for autistic children.
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