Children with autism often have learning difficulty or speech and language difficulties. Many children on the spectrum are “minimally verbal” with some being completely nonverbal. Challenges with verbal communication can spill into ALL areas of the child’s life as it leaves them unable to express their feeling or concerns. Knowing how technology can help children with autism can make the world of a differnce. Technology is an integral tool in helping children with autism communicate. A study in Indiana Resource Center for Autism notes that children with autism are visual learners, which means technology is a significant tool in their learning process. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a specific type of assistive technology that can benefit people with autism of all ages by promoting independence, expanding communication, and increasing social interactions.
Here are a few of the most common technological tools used to help them on a day-to-day-basis.
- Smart boards in a classroom or an app on a tablet, helps improve communication skills.
- There are countless apps dedicated to helping the ASD community such as Autism Education (AutEdu). This app is great for teaching communication between the child’s family and teachers. This app tracks data which helps the educator see a larger picture in students’ patterns.
- Another app known as SceneSpeak is a great tool which provides interactive visual scenes and social stories. This app is a wonderful for those with Autism to help strengthen communication and visual memory.
- A caregiver or an adult with any sort of disabilities including ASD will likely have heard of the term Assistive Technology, a term referred to any aid, device, or tool which allows any user with disabilities perform tasks that they would find difficult and challenging without assistance. Think along the lines of magnifiers, braille displays, iPad’s, Electronic Spell Check, Digital Recorders etc. All these tools can help your child in a practical day-to-day kind of way.
- Children with ASD also often do not have strong sequencing skills; for example, mom would say “go to the table eat your dinner and throw your plate in the garbage when you are done.” A child that has difficulty with sequencing, may have no idea what to do first and will get overwhelmed. Technologies teaching sequency skills will benefit a child like that.
The top apps that can help with sequence skills are:
2) Advance Making Sequences
3) Sequencing Tasks: Life Skills
6) StepByStep Sequencing for iPhone
Some other technological benefits for individuals with ASD:
- There are apps that are designed to help people with autism manage their anxiety. By tracking their mood and triggers throughout a daily check in, one can learn their own anxiety patterns and by default learn to manage them. A system like that is incredibly beneficial for the user.
- Engaging on any social media platform can help anyone on the ASD spectrum improve their social skills and it will help them learn to connect with other people.
- Technology has been proven to be mastered by people with autism. Why? Because they have a more dominant left side brain, which means they are naturally drawn to computer science, writing codes, and other detailed oriented tasks.
- Certain technologies such as coding and robots can really empower children with autism. Coding relates to their interests because ASD people are known for being super focused. This would be a catalyst to tapping into their creative side because it requires out of the box thinking as well as unique ways of approaching the subject. This boosts their self-esteem and confidence because they are accomplishing a preferred activity in which they excel in
- Computer based activities can help improve problem solving, and teamwork-based learning.
To conclude; technology in today’s times can be super helpful for almost any issue one is experiencing. There are various apps and devices to assist in a myriad of ways. Many articles online are very helpful with a plethora of knowledge on each form of device. Autism Parenting Magazine, Autism Speaks, Verywell Health, Autism Spectrum News, and Verizon are a few of these sources.
Please explore and browse what suits your child’s needs and will be the most effective to help them have a better and brighter future.
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