How does social media benefit the special needs community? - The Gateway School

How does social media benefit the special needs community?

girl looking at computer in apartment

Social media often gets a bad rap for reducing our attention span and discouraging face-to-face interactions. While this may ring true for some people, for many others, it provides a safe, comfortable environment to interact with friends and meet new people who share the same interests. For example, individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often find face-to-face conversations to be a source of anxiety and therefore prefer virtual forms of interaction.

Social Media and Children with Special Needs

For special needs educators, social media offers various benefits as a tool for learning. There are, of course, risks that come along with social media and the internet, such as security and cyberbullying, but that does not mean we shouldn’t take advantage of the intrinsic benefits. The main benefits of social media in special needs education include:

  • Improved social skills
  • Enhanced peer-to-peer collaboration 
  • Increased independence
  • Ability to express emotions
For many children diagnosed with ASD, making eye contact with others can cause anxiety and hinder their ability to perform in the classroom. Social media allows children to interact and participate in a way that is more conducive to them.

Educational Benefits of Social Media

Social media and technology are becoming increasingly prevalent in our daily lives, including educational institutions. Social media not only provides a platform for children with special needs to interact in a way that is best suited for them – but it also comes with numerous other educational benefits, such as:

  • Improved literacy and reading skills
  • Unlimited access to concrete information
  • Remote and distance learning opportunities
  • Exposure to online and global communities 

Social media has the power to open new horizons for children with special needs, both inside and outside of the classroom. Giving students the tools and guidance to constructively engage with social media and online platforms is imperative to thrive in today’s technologically-driven society.

How To Use Social Media In The Classroom 

There are many fun and beneficial ways to incorporate social media into your daily curriculum with the seemingly endless online tools and platforms available. Some fun and collaborative ideas are:

  • Starting a blog for classroom discussions and exchange of ideas
  • Creating an interest-based social media group to encourage educational interaction
  • Streaming lessons and lectures for students to refer back to as needed
  • Posting school events to encourage participation in extracurricular activities

Did you know?

The role of social media in education is quickly evolving, and special needs educators are at the forefront when it comes to ensuring inclusivity for their students. While we must be vigilant regarding the potential dangers of social media, we must ensure the special needs community is not left out and is allowed to reap the benefits.           

Request a Tour of The Gateway School

Since 1980, RKS Associates has been a leader in providing the needs of special education students and helping children grow to their fullest potential. Each of our schools seeks to empower each student with skills for life, work, and recreation; we believe that every individual possesses the dignity and potential to contribute to a better world.

As part of the RKS Associates Network of schools in New Jersey, the goal at the Gateway School is to assist all students in becoming as independent as possible and help them get ready for the future. Located in Carteret, NJ, we serve individuals throughout Central and Northern New Jersey. Contact us at our main office at 732.541.4400 with any questions or schedule a private tour of the Gateway School today.

Chris Hoye, Principal-The Gateway School of Carteret, NJ