Technology and ASD
Today, wide ranges of technological devices are available to help improve the quality of lives for individuals with ASD by helping them communicate, socialize, and function independently. However, no matter the device, finding the best fit for an individual with ASD can be complicated and may feel overwhelming to the individual with ASD and his or her family.
As the internet has expanded, the increase in the number of websites, chat groups, games, and programs has created an opportunity for individuals with ASD to better communicate, socialize, and find support and avenues for advocacy. The use of computers, laptops, and even devices such as the Neo, improve a student's ability to participate and complete activities and projects both inside and outside the classroom.
The Virginia Assistive Technology System, or VATS, is a statewide program that can help with evaluation of AT devices, provide training, and find funding sources to help pay for devices.
The Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers (TTACs) Assistive Technology Project addresses priorities of VDOE with centralized coordination, implementation, and dissemination of information about the laws which define AT devices and services, the process of consideration of AT by Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams, and AT assessment and resources.
Closing the Gap is a website, magazine, and annual conference dedicated to the advancement of assistive technology for all users. Closing the Gap provides a wealth of information on the latest advances in AT and includes trainings and webinars on how to implement AT in the educational, rehabilitative, and vocational settings.
The AAC-RERC is a research based center focused on the development of effective assistive technology for those with disabilities across the lifespan.
The Assistive Technology Industry Association is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of AT. The website includes newsletters, resources, webinars, and research.
The Pass It On Center is a national organization dedicated to recycling and reusing assistive technology devices. They have created an extensive network in order to share resources. Pass It On also provides technical assistance, educational awareness programs, and provides teleconferences and webinars.
Guides and Fact Sheets
The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative has an excellent resource on AT supports for students with ASD. The guide (February, 2009) contains sections on student information, environmental observations, decision making processes, and AT tools and strategies for the student with ASD.
Videos and Training
VCU-ACE has developed a Seminar on Communication, which includes an Introduction to Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) with Individuals with ASD.
This video from the Florida Atlantic University Assistive Technology Lab displays a wide range of general assistive technology options for students with disabilities.
Research and Article
Burton, C.E., Anderson, D.H., Prater, M.A., Dyches, T.T. (2013). Video self-modeling on an iPad to teach functional math skills to adolescents with autism and intellectual disability. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 28(2), 76-77.
Gelbar, N.W., Anderson, C., & McCarthy, S. (2011). Video self-modeling as an intervention strategy for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology in the Schools, 49(1), 15-22.
Knight, V., McKissick, B.R., & Saunders, A. (2013). A review of technology-based interventions to teach academic skills to students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 2628-2648.
Mechling, L.C. (2011). Review of twenty-first century portable electronic devices for persons with moderate intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 46(4), 479-498.
Smith, B.R., Spooner, F., & Wood, C.L. (2013). Using embedded computer-assisted explicit instruction to teach science to students with autism spectrum disorder. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 7, 433-443.