Students in redtail are able to read, write, and use the internet with the help of a computer program that allows them to learn in the same way that adults can.
The technology is currently in use by some students and families at the Toronto District School Board.
But some educators say that while it’s a useful tool, redtail is not a substitute for learning, and that it could be a more efficient tool for older children.
In fact, some of the children with disabilities who use redtail, such as autistic children with speech disorders, are actually doing a better job of learning in their school environment because they’re using their own computers.
“I think they’re really doing a much better job at their own school because they are doing their own work,” said David Kupfer, a senior education and training program manager at the district.
“The kids are able use their own computer, and the technology is just so much faster, and there’s a much easier way for them to interact with it.”
Some parents have even begun to push for redtail to be used by their children in schools, even though some of its use is controversial.
One parent who has a child with a learning disability said that after she brought the technology into school, the teachers started treating it like a special education program, rather than a computer.
“They used to tell us that it’s the equivalent of having a classroom, it’s just a way to get information,” said the mother, who asked not to be identified.
“Now they’re trying to say that it does everything.
They’ve done their homework, they’ve done homework in the school, they’re doing everything with the software, and it’s going to work the same for them as they did in the classroom.”
The Toronto District is still using redtail in its classrooms, but some parents say that some teachers are beginning to push to use it in schools.
“There is a perception that redtail was never meant for children who have developmental disabilities,” said Kupferman.
“It’s not like there’s not some children that need the technology, but in fact they do need it.”
The Redtail program is one of many in Canada that are trying to create an environment where children with developmental disabilities can learn.
A few years ago, for example, the province of British Columbia changed its curriculum to include a special interest reading group for autistic children, which was based on the Redtail model.
The program, which teaches autistic children to read and write with the assistance of computers, has been credited with helping some children with learning disabilities.
And the Toronto district has also created a website for students with developmental disorders to find out about Redtail.
In some cases, parents have taken to social media to encourage other families to use the technology.
In Toronto, for instance, the parents of a child who has cerebral palsy have created a Redtail-themed page that encourages other parents to send their children to a Redtails class.
“We have a lot of parents who have children with autism who would love to have Redtail in their own home,” said Katie Kupberman.