Technology is a bit of a big deal in the ASD population (and that’s an understatement). People on the autism spectrum and their families use technology for a number of uses. Sure, there are a lot of negative experiences, but the benefits can outweigh these with some support. This post will share options in how individuals with ASD use technology and to encourage you to think about ways to incorporate them in your child’s day-to-day. Specifically, I’ll share several options, routes, and ideas about using technology in the home, school, and community, and all the places you go. In this guide, technology refers to any devices (computers, smart phones, tablets) and programs on them (apps!)
I’m starting off with a surprise here! At least, this is what a lot of adults say they are when they learn that people on the autism spectrum use technology to relax. But it’s true! I’ve been taking notes from my clients and students, and found them so useful for myself and to share with others.
Examples for chillaxing
Meditation, calming, and soothing apps
Videos with ocean waves, guided meditation, and/or ASMR
Videos of favorite scenes from movies
Music (classical genre is a favorite)
No surprise here!
Fun is a common way we all use technology for. And there are a number of ways to find fun opportunities. Funopportunities even.
Parents – it’s a great reprieve for you too if you can find an app or activity online your child can play while not needing your immediate supervision.
Technology is also another helpful way to build in leisure time into the day. Build this time into your schedule and add structure as needed.
What are apps or games online you like to play or your child likes to play?
Go go games
Ooh I bet there are more!
I know this isn’t a fun one. But it is still a good one – especially for those who have everyone home during breaks or even just for a long weekend. It may be also nice to incorporate into your nighttime routine at home.
I would argue though – that you could find an app that combines learning and fun, and then everyone wins!
In fact, some of the apps I listed above in the fun section have some learning opportunities built inside. <insert mind explosion here>
Skills to learn and promote with technology
Adapting to new things
Fine motor skills
Visual searching and identifying
Dealing with mistakes
LIMITING NEGATIVE EXPERIENCES
Parents have come to me with a history of negative experiences that they and their child have had in regard to using technology.
Technology can be distracting on a number of levels and contributes to a lot of arguments and conflicts at home.
Now that we’ve focused on the positive aspects of technology and using structure, you now have the mindset and tools and strategies to limit future negative experiences with technology
What can you do?
Set timers – on a device that isn’t the phone or technology device
Designate rooms where technology can be used
Password protection on websites, apps, and devices
TRY THINGS OUT
Combining all of these elements of using technology at home, at school, and in the community – you’re set free!
Just like any tool or innovation, there are multiple upsides and downsides. Now that you’ve got the strategies to use this tool – I hope you find it helpful in terms of supporting your child on the autism spectrum and your relationship with them.
NOW ONTO YOU…
What are some apps of interest?
What are your experiences with technology so far?
How can you add structure to future use?