The Use of Technology and How It Affects Behavior of Children with Special Needs
The Use of Technology and How It Affects Behavior of Children with Special Needs
Sociology is one of the disciplines in social sciences that deal with the study of human behavior and interaction within the society. It helps scholars and academicians understand the society, individuals, and other social relationships within the social world context. Therefore, as a discipline, sociology contextualizes various events and phenomenon in a society, and explains the effects of events on human behavior. This paper will give deeper insights on the effects of the use of technology on the behavior of children with special needs, from a sociological point of view.
Technology has advanced and evolved tremendously over the years. Life has become unbearable and unimaginable without it. It is available for all, children with special needs and disabilities included. For instance, children with special needs and disabilities often have trouble while learning in regular classes. Technology has been introduced in the education system to assist them in learning processes. This is referred to as assistive technology in learning. Technology has not only been used in special education but in other aspects of life as well. For instance, there are automatic wheelchairs for those with mobility disabilities; there are speech aids for those with speech and language disorders, specific software used, and the general contemporary technology that is used by everyone. The children can now live normal lives with technology. It has been perceived as an equalizer for children with special needs (Slater, n.d.).
Technology used by special needs children was designed to impact positively but not adversely on their lives. In education, it places the children on a level playing ground with the rest. Through various technological aids, they are able to engage in seamless learning just like the rest of the children. For instance, a blind student will be able to use visual aids and AAC for those with speech disorders, the partially deaf may use cochlea implants that act as hearing aid. Such ensures that special needs children are able to engage in learning and this boosts their esteem and confidence in themselves. They become assertive, knowledgeable, and ambitious, since they are able to use technology to advance their skills.
While the children use the different aids, they are able to delve deeper into the world of technology. For instance, a visually impaired child is able to use visual aids on a computer and this enables him to engage in computer games, among other activities. This may motivate the child and make them ambitious in life, because they feel empowered by the technology. In such scenarios such children are observed to have a positive outlook on life, are diligent in their work, focused and well mannered. Technology plays a great role in motivating children with special needs. It also helps them realize their dreams in life, discover, and develop their talents.
Through technology, special needs children are able to widen their social circles and interactions, through for instance social media and playing video games, the children develop a sense of belonging. Sociologists argue that a child who belongs in a group where he feels accepted and comfortable tends to have a high esteem, and this propels them in life to become better persons in the society.
Technology largely influences the behavior of all children, not only those with special needs. Research reveals that children with special needs end up being overly reliant on the technology they use on the daily. For instance, they become used to using computers and speech aids such that they are no longer autonomous on their own. They cannot function properly without technological assistance. This creates awkward behavior among the children and influences some of the decisions they make in life. From a sociological point of view, dependence on technology prevents an individual from living life to the fullest and engaging in activities that are enjoyable and helpful in the growth and development. An example would be a lame child, who uses an automatic wheelchair. It may be that his physical condition can be improved though physiotherapy, which involves attempting to walk and stretching out muscles. However, the child may never find out that he can improve because he relies on the wheelchair for movement. Therefore, he makes no prerogative to try out walking. In schools, children with speech and language problems are provided with augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices to help them with their speech. A child may develop the attitude that technology solves their problem and hence, make no effort towards learning on how to overcome some of their speech problems. Being heavily dependent on technology make the children with special needs complacent and generally lazy in life.
With the technological advances in the modern day, children with special needs are able to enjoy using technology the same the rest do. For instance, through hearing, speech, and visual aids, they are able to enjoy the use of technology. Therefore, they can interact with others over the internet, play video games, among other fun activities. This makes the children develop a sedentary lifestyle, with very limited physical activity. Additionally, the loose touch with the outdoors and become withdrawn. A child with special needs who is withdrawn is highly likely to develop depression. This is because social interaction on a face-to-face level is usually almost phased out. They have no one to relate with and talk about their daily encounters or events in life. Their lives become devoid of social relationships with their peers and they grow up to be socially awkward young adults. Sociologists claim that children who grow up without much social interaction with their peers grow up into teenagers or young adults with deviant behaviors that may sometimes lead to crime (Clinard & Meier, 2015). Sometimes children with special needs become overly excited about learning how to use technology and may begin engaging in online crime as a way of trying to validate themselves are capable of doing what normal people can do.
Technology has simplified lives for children with special needs. This commendable as they also have a right to access amenities and other facilities just like everyone else. As mentioned earlier, technology serves as an equalizer especially in an educational context. Such children sometimes have it easier than the rest in terms of understanding concepts in the classroom. They are not strained by the teachers and may be offered preferential treatment. This, coupled with the use of technology in classroom to make their work easier may sometimes make them develop a feeling of entitlement and self-importance. The use of technology in special education was intended to equalize the special children with the rest and make learning an easier, normal, and enjoyable process. However, sometimes, it may achieve undesirable effects such as giving the children a sense of self-importance and entitlement and believe things should come their way easily.
Sociologists have identified the various social classes in the society. Special needs children are not exempt from these social classes. Therefore, different families will afford the technology for their children, and there are those that may not afford the high-end technology used by children with special needs. It can be difficult at times to for child ignore these disparities. This induces inferiority complex among those children from lower social classes. This adversely affects the children’s self-esteem and reduces their self-worth. Sometimes they may consider themselves unfortunate in life, whereby they are disabled and unable to afford equipment to help them. Low self esteem and self-worth causes depression in children and is especially worse in children with special needs.
The citations from this paper are drawn
from two scholars who have wide knowledge in disability studies and sociology.
Jenny Slate is a lecturer in education and disability studies in Sheffield
Hallam University. She has completed her doctoral studies in disability and has
conducted several researches in the field. She is therefore qualified to be
cited in this paper as her book, Youth and Disability, gives deep insights on
youth and children with special needs behavior, which assists in explaining the
effects of technology on children with special needs. The second citation is from
the book Sociology of deviant behaviorby Marshall Clinard who was an American criminologist and had wide
knowledge in sociology. His book seeks to explain deviant behavior in people,
disabled children inclusive. Therefore, as a criminologist who studied
sociology of deviant behavior, his work qualifies to be cited in this paper, as
his book proves to be resourceful and relevant in this paper.
Clinard, M. B., & Meier, R. F. (2015). Sociology of deviant behavior.
Slater, J. Youth and disability a challenge to Mr Reasonable.