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?
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.