Researchers Develop App That Can Help Students With ADHD and ASD Make Independent Decisions

In Education

A University of Missouri researcher has developed an app to support high school students with developmental disorders like Down syndrome and autism. The app, funded by a generous grant, aims to enhance independence and self-regulation among these students, helping them stay on track in the classroom.

New app to help students make own decisions and reduce disruptive behavior

According to Sara Estrapala, a professor at the University of Missouri College of Education and Human Development, the current interventions provided by teachers for high school students may not fully meet their needs. Students desire the chance to make their own decisions and be involved in their choices. The goal is to equip students with the necessary skills to enhance academic engagement, reduce disruptive behaviors, and improve access to the school curriculum.

The four-year grant will enhance academic engagement and decrease disruptive behavior among students with disabilities, empowering them to independently manage their conduct. The project involves 50 public high-schoolers from Jefferson City, Hallsville, and Fulton, Missouri. Students will establish personal improvement goals, such as paying attention to teachers and following directions, and use the I-Connect self-monitoring app to track and assess their progress.

Incorporated within the application, pupils shall be regularly notified with cues to assess the alignment of their actions with their objectives, such as attentiveness and active engagement in coursework. Additionally, the application will generate graphical representations of students’ advancements, facilitating insightful evaluation of their progress. This revolutionary tool has the potential to grant high school students a sense of agency and serve as a constant reminder of their self-established ambitions, thereby promoting accountability.

Evidence-based practices necessary to enhance development

To enhance student development, Estrapala proposes combining their need for independent decision-making with evidence-based practices like goal-setting, self-monitoring, and self-evaluation. Instead of assuming what’s best for students, Estrapala suggests involving them in determining their goals and guiding them through a systematic process of learning and behavior change, ultimately benefiting the classroom environment.

The app’s funding originates from a grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences.

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