As parents to a special needs son, my wife and I have struggled with the right way to teach him the things he needs to learn. One of the things that really holds his attention is electronics. How did we determine how much screen time is right for our child? The same way we measured everything else that he consumed. We question if it is providing a healthy benefit, or is it just empty calories, to be consumed sparingly.
Different abilities require different tools. Screens are a tool that we can use to improve our lives. Our son has sensory processing disorder and cognitive verbal delay. Typical verbal and written lessons are more challenging for him than for most kids. Educational apps on his iPad and shows on Netflix allow him to learn at his own pace, and repeat lessons as much as he needs to without testing the patience of a teacher or classmates.
Using these tools, and with help and encouragement from his teachers, he has advanced past grade level in several subjects. We can attribute his progress directly to his guided use of technology. Just like any tool, not all screens are the same, and if used correctly they can help produce great work. It’s how you use them that makes all the difference. To bring it back around to the food analogy, we are happy to let him consume healthy content that helps him grow.