Assistive Technology for Autism

Assistive technology is typically classified as mid-tech, high-tech, or low-tech.

  • Low-tech AT describes all devices that do not require electricity, such as sensory balls, picture boards, or weighted vests
  • Mid-tech AT is referred to as any equipment that is simpler to use than the high tech products. These gadgets are reasonably priced and easy to use. They include:
    • Battery-powered sensory toys
    • social skills videos
    • Visual timer
  • High-tech AT includes sophisticated technology such as assistive devices used for communication for people who cannot talk.

People living with autism do not have obvious physical disabilities. As most autistic individuals are able to communicate, it might be easy to ignore how useful assistive technology is to these people.

Using assistive technology for people living with autism has various benefits including:

Communication

Amongst the most important benefits of assistive technology is that it aids in communication for people with autism. They can “voice out” their needs and thoughts.

Research show that most people autism people are verbal. However, a large percentage have challenges with communication. And most struggle with communicating in a social setting.

Low-tech AT that is affordable and is easy to use include picture cards and boards. They assist autistic people in therapy. Some mid-tech AT help with speech therapy and argumentative communication.

AT used for Learning

Research shows thirty-one percent of autistic kids have an intellectual disability that disrupts their normal life. Many are diagnosed with Dyslexia and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and struggle with processing language. Low-tech solutions include tools that assist in reducing anxiety such as worry beads, stress balls, standing deck, and weighted vests.

Mid-tech options are readily available and often at a low cost. Some examples include:

  • Visual timers
  • Headphones blocking sound
  • Helpful calculating
  • Watches that have alarms
  • Use of audiobooks
  • Using recordings to help replay instructions.

AT for Social Skills

Accounting for individual differences, most autistic people have poor communication and social skills. Some low tech products can assist autistic people to behave and think properly in different situations.

Games and cards for social skills

Companies have specialized in creating games and cards that will help in building their social skills. Games like ladders and chutes were made to reinforce empathy. With mid tech, they focus more on apps and video modeling. Apps that help them interact and learn from other people allow people living with autism.