How Does Assistive Technology Assist People With Communication Need?

The frustration of not able to communicate or express their wants can have a negative effect on individuals with autism. They may tend to stay aloof, throw tantrum and indulge in negative behavior

For autism, assistive technology can benefit individuals (of all age groups) in promoting communication and social interactions. Assistive technology refers to hand-held gadgets such as Tablets and iPhones which are light in weight and easy to handle. The touch screen and layout help to slide or tap instead of typing. These modified or customized assistive technology for autism helps in improving the functional capabilities and communication of individuals with others. It helps them to become independent by working on their challenges and improving undeveloped skills. 

 What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology for autism refers to a modified or customized device with assistive technology service, employed to increase or improve the functional skills of individuals with autism. As children with autism understand visual information better than audio information, assistive technology devices provide needed information through visual (pictures and videos). Therefore, ‘low’ tech to ‘high’ tech technology is incorporated to improve the functional abilities and skills of children with autism.

Various assistive devices are used to improve:

  • The overall understanding of their environment
  • Their expressive social interaction and communication skills 
  • The attention span
  • Their academic skills and performance
  • The self-help skills for improved overall daily functioning 

How does assistive technology help in managing communication skills? 

Communication Skills

People with autism experience a wide range of communication difficulties. Those who are totally non-verbal may face difficulty in understanding cues or the topic of the running conversation.


Mobile devices and tablets provide excellent solutions for people looking for assistive technology to help them with speech or language production. These small-sized portable electronic devices come with pre-recorded digitized speech output, instant messaging systems, images, and videos to help with communication.

A device with picture-cards collections including related words can be helpful for people struggling with a communication disorder or for those who have an issue with word-recall. For example, to express that he/she is ‘hungry’, the person can point at a related image to display his/her feeling.

Thus assistive technology assists those with communication problems through a device. People with autism can convey messages and attract attention using sound (tapping, banging, clapping, or cooing). Many of these communication devices are programmable, adjustable and are recommended for homes, classrooms, and public places.

Author: autismconnectassociation

Autism Connect is a voluntary group based in Mumbai, India formed by parents and professional care-takers of children on the autism spectrum. Parenting and caring for a child with autism is a special responsibility in itself. There are doubts, questions and uncertainties in our minds. At Autism Connect, we endeavor to collect literature on evidence based practices (with special emphasis on newer emerging therapies) in the management of autism and share it with autism associations and organizations across the world with the hope that these associations disseminate and distribute this to their members and parents of children with autism.

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