LA pilots visual learning program for students with autism

The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is taking a step to help the growing number of children with autism succeed in public schools. Through funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), LAUSD will pilot VizZle® in 23 schools across the eight districts within LAUSD. The district selected VizZle for the pilot based on results in classrooms across the country.

“We had a few teachers initially pilot this software and saw great response from our students,” said Debra Moss, MA, LAUSD autism specialist and inclusion supervisor. “Students were engaged and performing at unprecedented levels. I am always seeking resources that will support the cognitive and behavioral goals we have for our children. VizZle not only affected student learning, but also was embraced by the teachers quickly. The program was easy to learn and provided a rich library of existing lessons.”

VizZle helps students with autism succeed by capitalizing on their visual processing skills and inherent interest in computers, touch screens and electronic whiteboards. Research shows that children with autism pay more attention and retain more of what they learn when lessons are presented interactively utilizing technology. Teachers using VizZle are finding that children are better able to interact, understand emotions and daily life concepts, as well as improve academically.

Short for “visual learning,” VizZle gives teachers the ability to create lessons on the web or tap into a library of more than nearly 4,000 templates designed by users to teach both academics and activities of daily living. Educators from around the country add to the library of lessons daily and share materials with peers and parents.

“Any student we can reach is a victory. But when you can impact a large district like Los Angeles with a diverse student population, we know we are making a breakthrough,” said Terry Murphy, president of Monarch Teaching Technologies, the creators of VizZle. “Diversity is not just a socio-economic reference, in a district such as LAUSD, it also refers to the range of student needs across the autism spectrum, which places unique demands on educators. Our partnership with LAUSD schools demonstrates that VizZle is a scalable technology that can work for any school or district.”

Monarch Teaching Technologies staff combined with VizZle resources and the online community will support LAUSD pilot participants in meeting their goals.

“We have structured this pilot so we can measure student progress, not only through the data tools within VizZle, but through the collaboration by the team of professionals who work with each child.” Moss added. “Collaboration and measuring outcomes is critical for these students, our teachers, and overall accountability.”