"HIGH" TECH STRATEGIES

There are two "high"-tech strategies which have proven very effective in focusing on various skill areas for children with autism: video taping and computers.

Video Taping:

Children with autism are often highly interested, motivated and thus attentive to videos. Many children enjoy repetitive viewing of videos due to the "predictability" of the information given; that is, knowing what's coming up next. Thus video taping can serve as an excellent tool with which to teach numerous skills to children with autism. These skills may include:

Non-verbal features of social communication can also be effectively taught through video taping (e.g., tone of voice, facial expressions, body postures/language, gestures, personal space, vocal volume, etc.).

In addition, video taping can be used to demonstrate how to appropriately engage and/or interact in various social contexts such as recess, lunch, music class, McDonald's, church, etc.



Computers:

Research on the use of computers with students with autism revealed the following (15):

Many students with autism are highly interested and motivated by computers. Therefore, computers should be infused into the child's daily curriculum, not used solely for reward or recreational purposes. Computer assisted learning can focus on numerous academic areas as well as provide an appropriate independent leisure time activity for people with autism. Camilla K. Hileman (11) states that computers are motivating to children with autism, due to their predictability and consistency, compared to the unpredictable nature of human responses. The computer does not send confusing social messages. The computer places the child in control, allowing for the child to become an independent learner.


"Touch Window"

Please note the attached Software Suggestions for programs that have been used effectively for children with autism to address various skill areas. An excellent article is "A Review of Kids Software for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder" by Jill Fain Lehman (17). This article lists various software programs for children with autism, by skill area (e.g., language comprehension skills, problem solving skills, etc.). Since autism is a spectrum disorder, the effectiveness and appropriateness of each program will be child specific.

CONCLUSION

It is interesting to note that the majority of strategies listed in this article fall under the category of "low"-technology and should therefore be easily accessible to many at a relatively low cost. It is important to consider that all of these suggestions, from "low"-tech to "high"-tech should always be individualized to meet the unique needs of any child with autism. Most importantly, use of these varied modes of technology will greatly increase the child's independent functioning skills by decreasing the amount of direct support needed from another person.