Parents often have a love-hate relationship with technology. On one hand, new technologies are constantly being created to simplify and enhance our lives, and these developments can be highly useful to the busy, overbooked parent. On the other hand, as new advancements emerge, we have to start worrying about video game addiction, Internet predators, car accidents that result from teens talking on cell phones or texting, and the countless other worries parents mull over every day.
Should today’s parents fight the ever-increasing push to modernize, or give in and accept the presence of new technologies in their lives? The question is even more complex for parents of teens with special needs like ADD, ADHD, and Asperger’s syndrome, who may be even more drawn to technology, for both better and worse. What happens if parents, or their teens, become too reliant on technology?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer that can be generalized to all families, says Aaron McGinley, summer camp program manager at Talisman, a North Carolina program offering summer camps and semester-length programs for children ages 8 to 21 with learning disabilities, ADD and ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, and high-functioning autism. The task isn’t an easy one, but for most parents, it comes down to picking and choosing the technologies that will genuinely improve the lives of you and your loved ones, while maintaining close interpersonal bonds and plenty of time enjoying active, outdoor activities.
Most large public high schools have what social scientists call “a hierarchy of status,” which is a sophisticated way of saying that many students belong to cliques. Dr. Murray Milner, author of Freaks, Geeks and Cool Kids, identifies six subcultures with their own style of dress, language, rituals, and behaviors, which are common at most high schools.
Discussed are drugs and self-destructive behaviors associated with different cliques. However, keep in mind that the vast majority of teens get through high school and become productive adults without troubled adolescences, and very few will develop these problems.
For some young people, reading and writing come naturally. But thousands of children are diagnosed each year with learning differences like dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia, and other reading, language, and auditory processing disorders. Many others struggle with learning difficulties that go undiagnosed and unsupported, often resulting in academic failure, low self-esteem, frustration, anxiety, and acting out. Neurological conditions like Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD), autism, and Asperger’s syndrome can also make learning difficult.
In order to teach students in the way they need to learn, some of the best private schools in the country are utilizing the Orton-Gillingham approach. When used by a trained and experienced teacher, this approach can significantly moderate the learning and processing problems that stem from dyslexia and other learning disabilities.