Technology is changing the way we live our lives, and many don’t realize the positive effects it can have on children with autism. Many electronic devices and apps can help improve communication, assist in the development of social skills and enhance their ability to learn. Every child is different and the technology that best serves them should be based on their individual needs.
The sheer amount of technology available can be overwhelming. Take the time to research what devices, apps and offerings may benefit your child and slowly introduce them to see what fits. There are plenty of resources available, including information on The Arc Westchester’s website on how everyday technology can benefit people of all ages with cognitive disabilities, such as autism.
When introducing a new technology or device, especially when it can connect to the internet/social media, start by letting your child know they can always come to you with questions about confusing things they may experience online. Go over what is “private” and “public” to help them understand what they can safely share on social media platforms, if applicable. An open communication line is the best protection against online dangers.
When a child finds a device or app that helps them, it can be extremely motivating. Some young people can become so focused on a tablet or computer that they “get stuck” engaging with the device and refrain from interacting with their environment and those in it. Apps such as OurPact (ourpa
Using apps for children with autism can be useful for learning and social development, and there are numerous apps available that can assist your child based on their specific needs. For example, several apps have been developed to help with anxiety, such as Calm Counter from TouchAutism. In addition, SoarTherapy offers an app called StepByStep, which helps children practice the vital skill of sequencing, knowing the order of the steps needed to accomplish something.
— Jordan Jankus
Coordinator of Person-Centered & Cognitive Supports
The Arc Westchester