Programming for Special Needs purposes (Was: Game Developers -- Call)

Tony Balazs tony at
Sun Jul 16 12:43:01 EDT 2006

I have been following the Game Developers discussion with interest.   
I am a beginning coder and am doing my best to learn Revolution.

I have a son with autism.  I have become a professional in the field  
of teaching children with special needs and now consult to his own  
program as well as to other families in the UK who have children with  
special needs.

These children tend to love computers and, once their abilities are  
at a sufficient level, they can learn certain skills amazingly well  
on a computer.  Our son is learning to read this way (very fast) and  
he has used programs to learn many other language skills.

There are some good programs out there, but most I have seen are  
quite clunky and old-fashioned in terms of the interface and  
definitely sub-optimal in terms of the teaching technology that is  
employed.  There are a couple of honorable exceptions that are very  
good indeed.

What I would like to do is to work with a programmer (or a team) to  
develop software for teaching language and communication to children  
with autism and other learning difficulties.  I would like to learn  
to code in the process, but I would see my main role as providing the  
educational structure (the teaching content, strategies,  
methodologies etc) around on which the programs would be based.

So I am asking: would anyone be willing to talk to me about this?  If  
so, please email either here or off-list.  I am very serious about  
the idea.  Rather than seeing it initially as some grand project, I  
would see it as an effort to produce discrete programs to fulfil  
specific teaching tasks. at least initially.  And as for money, well  
I wouldn't be asking anyone to undersell themselves.  Money is  
something that would have to be discussed, and no doubt raised.  If  
anyone has any experience of that side of the business, and possibly  
a track record, I'd be interested in hearing about that too.

I can be much more specific about the kinds of teaching programs I  
have in mind.  This is just an intro.

Thanks guys.

Tony Balazs, MSc, BCBA
Consulting Behaviour Analyst
London, UK

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