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Assistive Technology & Autism

Assistive Technology & Autism: Top Benefits and Online Solutions

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For children diagnosed with autism, communication, social interaction, and daily activities can be challenging. Assistive technology (AT) and related devices, in this regard, can be of significant help. These devices are specially designed to enable children on the autism spectrum live more independently while being able to access important services and information.

Assistive technology for ASD can also safeguard the interests of children – increasing their privacy as well as dignity by enabling care to be delivered only when required. Besides, the use of these technologies also encourages them to make independent decisions and choices about their own lives, thus improving their ability to perform daily activities and overall well-being.

This article covers the ways in which assistive technology can help a child with autism, as well as the advantages of the various options available. 

Improved Communication

For some children with ASD, problems with social interactions and communication are relatively subtle. However, for others, even initiating or maintaining basic interactions can be challenging. Assistive technology can help children on the autism spectrum communicate more effectively through alternative means like augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. For example –

o  Proloquo2Go is a completely customizable AAC app with over 100 free natural-sounding text-to-speech voices across all languages – the voices are created using real recorded speech, making them feel astoundingly natural. The symbol-based app’s versatility makes it highly advantageous for non-verbal children with autism.

o  Jellow Communicator is an AAC solution that makes use of icons in order to facilitate communication in children who face difficulties with language and speech.

o   Avaz App is a picture and text-based AAC app that enables children with complex communication needs to learn and express themselves better. The app constitutes a robust vocabulary graded in three levels. These include beginner, intermediate, and advanced.

Supports Learning

Some of the most common learning challenges faced by children on the autism spectrum are problems with language development and speech delays. Assistive technology can play an important role in helping children learn and retain information better and more easily through visual as well as auditory aids. Aligning with this, various types of software and apps intended to help visual learners write, think, and communicate, are available –

o  Livescribe’s Smartpen is an assistive technology aid that helps facilitate learning and note-taking. Recording classroom discussions while taking fewer notes enables children with intellectual difficulties to spend more time learning and listening.  

o  Visual learners can utilize signs and pictures, such as those from the Boardmaker program. The visual support software helps children with autism understand concepts and routines through pictures and symbols.

Promotes Independence

Technology promotes independence among autistic children

Assistive technology can help children on the autism spectrum become more independent by enabling them to accomplish tasks they may not otherwise be able to do on their own.

o Apps like Choiceworks can help children with autism complete daily routines by providing visual schedules and timers. The app is an excellent choice for establishing visual schedules in order to guide them through multi-step tasks and routines, such as calming down when they’re upset or getting ready in the morning.

Reduces Sensory Overload

Difficulty in focusing due to competing sensory input, restlessness and discomfort, and extreme irritability are some of the ways in which children with ASD experience sensory overload. Here, assistive technology can be extremely beneficial in helping kids manage sensory overload by providing tools that minimize distractions and build a calming environment.

o  The Relax Melodies app can help provide soothing sounds to help children with autism regulate their emotions. In addition to encouraging a relaxing and calming ambiance, the intuitive tool also aids better sleep.

o   Magic Fluids Free has proven to be highly popular among children with ASD. Essentially, it is an interactive live wallpaper that lets users play with various visual effects on the screen. It is particularly helpful for kids on the autism spectrum who have difficulty calming down.

Enhances Social Skills

AAC tools and solutions can help children improve and practice their social skills through virtual as well as interactive simulations. For example –

o  The Social Express is an engaging platform for children on the autism spectrum. The social skills program-oriented app helps develop social skills and abilities while helping children build fulfilling and meaningful social relationships. The characters in the app are depicted in social encounters inside as well as outside of school, where recognizing and understanding their companions’ emotions helps achieve the resolution. Moreover, the interactive games and scenarios also help kids learn social cues and develop communication skills.

Promotes Executive Function

Autism treatment of children

While some children on the autism spectrum operate on a very flexible schedule, unaware of what time it is and how long it may take to finish a particular task, others may adhere to a very strict schedule – often managing it to the minute or second. With regard to this, assistive technology can help children with ASD develop executive function skills such as planning, organization, and time management.

o  I’m On It: Focus Timer can be super beneficial for children who have a hard time retaining focus. The simplistic timer app can be set for up to 60 minutes, with the remaining time displayed in either a digital timer, traditional clock face, or a progress bar. It also helps children understand the concept of time and manage their schedules.

o  Companion by Identifor is an app best suited for children looking for more independence but still requiring a certain degree of assistance. Its core features include task reminders delivered via text messages and notifications, school and work schedules, and calendar management.

 Assistive technology can be a powerful tool for children, helping them to better communicate, learn, and navigate their environment. In essence, the advantages of AAC for children on the autism spectrum include –

  • Improved Communication
  • Supports Learning
  • Promotes Independence
  • Reduces Sensory Overload
  • Enhances Social Skills
  • Promotes Executive Function

And as evidenced, the benefits of using assistive technology are profound, as it helps to improve children’s learning capabilities, fosters their independence, and encourages them to form meaningful relationships with peers and family members.

At Early Autism Services (EAS), we believe the best way to develop your child’s potential is through proactive, personalized autism therapy programs to enable families to work hand in hand with licensed professionals.

So, don’t wait any longer and book a consultation call with our autism care experts right away: +91 8929153820

Top 10 Strategies to Encourage Communication in Children with Autism

Top 10 Strategies to Encourage Communication in Children with Autism

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As highly social beings, communication is an essential part of everyday life. However, for children with autism, it can be challenging to interact and communicate like typically developing kids. Moreover, communication difficulties are one of the hallmark characteristics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), characterized by persistent deficiencies in social communication and interaction.

Some of the communication challenges faced by children with ASD include difficulties in expressing emotions and maintaining a back-and-forth conversation, problems associated with nonverbal communication (eye contact, facial expressions, and reading body language), and feeling overwhelmed in social situations.

On a more personal note, parents often wonder whether their child diagnosed with ASD will ever be able to communicate effectively with others. While the answer depends on various factors, it is absolutely essential to remember that with the right strategies and support, children on the autism spectrum can gradually learn to communicate more effectively and improve their overall quality of life.

Through this blog, we hope to provide parents, educators, and autism caregivers with practical techniques for promoting effective communication in children. By using evidence-based approaches, solution-oriented tools, and fostering a supportive and encouraging environment, it is certainly possible to help your child reach their full potential, empowering them to lead fulfilling lives.

So, let’s discuss 10 effective strategies for encouraging communication in children with autism –

Reinforcement

Best ABA Therapy Centre for Autism - Why Choose Early Autism Services

Reinforcement techniques, such as praise and rewards, can encourage children with autism to communicate better in social settings. Besides, as an important principle of ABA therapy, reinforcement can yield significant results in achieving meaningful behavioral changes, including better communication abilities, in children on the autism spectrum.

Collaborative Problem-Solving

Collaborative problem-solving is an effective strategy for encouraging communication. By providing opportunities for joint decision-making, children can learn to better communicate their ideas and preferences with others. This approach also promotes social skills such as turn-taking, listening, and empathy, which are essential for meaningful interactions and relationships.

Early Intervention

Early intervention services can help children develop communication skills at an early age, leading to improved outcomes in the long term. The earlier a child receives intervention, the better their chances of developing effective communication skills. Early intervention programs may include speech therapy, social skills training, and behavioral interventions tailored to the child’s specific needs.

Prompts

Verbal prompts for children with Autism

Verbal or physical prompts can help children initiate and maintain one-on-one communication as well as group interactions. An example of a verbal prompt could be asking the child a question and providing a few possible answers to choose from. For instance, “Do you want an apple or a banana?” This gives the child a choice and motivates them to respond verbally.

Illustrative Schedules and Routines

Children with autism often benefit from predictability and structure in their daily routines. Visual schedules and routines (picture schedules or written lists), in this regard, can help them understand what to expect and reduce anxiety. This approach, in turn, can help them remain at ease and communicate more freely and effectively.

Video Modeling

Video modeling is a technique that involves watching videos of desired behaviors or actions to learn how to imitate them. The strategy can be particularly helpful for learning social and communication skills. Moreover, by practicing the exhibited behaviors, children can improve their communication abilities, while increasing their confidence and self-esteem.

Peer Modeling

Like video modeling, peer modeling can be a powerful tool for encouraging communication, as children with ASD can observe and learn efficiently from peers who demonstrate strong communication skills. Additionally, by observing and imitating their peer’s behaviors, children can learn new and improved ways of communication, leading to better social interactions with others.

 Play-Based Therapy

Play-based therapy can be a fun and engaging way for children to practice their communication skills. By using games and toys, therapists, as well as parents, can encourage children to communicate and express themselves. For example, sensory bins in a child’s play area can help provide sensory input as a calming activity while granting numerous opportunities to learn, play, and explore. They are also excellent for practicing fine motor skills, exploring new textures, improving imaginative play, and prompting verbal and non-verbal communication.

Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

AAC is a method of communication that uses tools and techniques, such as sign language, gestures, or digital communication devices, to supplement or replace verbal communication. AAC can help children with autism, especially those who struggle with speech, to express themselves and convey their wants and needs.

 Social Skills Training

Social skills training can help children on the autism spectrum learn how to better interact with others and develop their communication skills. These programs play an essential role in teaching social behaviors, such as making eye contact, initiating conversation, interpersonal skills, and reading social cues, as well. Through this, children can better navigate social interactions and communicate more effectively with others.

Children diagnosed with ASD have trouble comprehending the emotions and thoughts of others, making it challenging to express themselves with gestures, words, or facial expressions. And if you are struggling to help your child in this area, remember that you are not alone! With the right support and strategies, as demonstrated above, children with autism can make significant progress in their communication skills and overall social development.

In summary, some of the most effective strategies to encourage communication in children with ASD include –

  • Reinforcement
  • Collaborative Problem-Solving
  • Early Intervention
  • Illustrative Schedules and Routines
  • Play-Based Therapy
  • Social Skills Training
  • Video Modeling
  • Peer Modeling
  •  Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Early Autism Services (EAS) is committed to providing the best possible care and support for children with autism. In addition, our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to providing high-quality care and support at every level.

We also offer a wide range of services to support children with autism as well as their families. So, if you’re looking for the best autism care service provider in Bengaluru for your child, connect with us today to learn more about our services and how we can work towards a brighter future for your little one.

Schedule a free consultation now.