Technology guides our everyday lives. We wake up to a programmed alarm clock, check our emails regularly, use apps to direct us to a driving destination, speak to friends with a simple click, and so much more. In the world today, technology is everywhere and is quickly accessed through our smartphones and tablets no matter where we are.
Technology is continually growing. We can connect with others faster than ever, have the ability to obtain news and information immediately, and are able to document any and all aspects of our lives instantaneously. This access can provide so much independence and developments for individuals with autism.
What can technology do for my child? (List provided by www.autismspeaks.org)
Communication: The most common use of technology for individuals with an autism diagnosis is through communication devices. There are many different types of communication tools that can be used to increase/ improve communication skills. Phone/ tablet apps and AAC (augmentative alternative communication) devices can be used to increase speech and social skills.
Visual Schedules: Visual schedules provide a sequence of upcoming activities through pictures, words, objects, and icons. Tablets and phones can be used to create schedules to increase participation in daily living skills and aid in reminders for routines. Visual schedules are a great way to increase independence and improve living skills.
Decision Making: The use of technology can provide a “voice” for your child with autism and help aid them in independently provide information and make decisions for themselves. For example, they can use technology to let you know if they would rather wear a purple shirt or a yellow shirt. This can start small with a shirt choice and grow into adulthood to self-advocate.
Motivating Tool: Favorite game apps and videos on a smart phone or a tablet can be used as a reinforcer and motivation for your child to complete an activity.
Video Modeling: Video modeling uses teaching through a video recording of the targeted behavior or skill. Your child can watch the video of themselves, a caregiver, or a teacher completing a task to learn and retain a skill.
Social Networking: Socialization can often be a challenge for individuals with an autism diagnosis. Using social networking through technology can help take away the intimidating aspect of socializing face to face. Communication through technology can help gain the skills needed and confidence to communicate in a more traditional fashion in person.
Vocational Assistance: Technology can be a vital component for an individual with autism to be successful in a workplace. It can help provide a to do list and checklists. It allows the individual to stay on task and can guide them to complete responsibilities in a timely manner and with independence.
Smart phones and tablets can be a great tool for your child with autism and there are so many different benefits to using technology. It can create more independence for your child with autism by helping to improve upon strengths your child already has and to aid in achieving more skills.