What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) refers to a wide range of similar disorders that affect a person’s social interaction, communication, and behavior. ASD is a spectrum disorder because there is variation in the symptoms and their severity among individuals. Children and adults with autism will not share universal symptoms; each person presents a unique combination of indications. There are three general classifications of ASD symptoms—problems with social interaction, problems with communication, and exhibiting limited recurring behavior. A diagnosis of autism is generally accepted if a child shows symptoms in at least two of these three areas.
Social Interaction In Autism
In general, children with autism will struggle with social interactions. Possible indicators include:
- A lack of interest in their peers
- Difficulty understanding or relating to their peers
- Unable to express emotion, especially around their peers
- Struggling to understand or predict other people’s actions
- Struggling to keep a conversation going
- Avoiding eye contact or looking at a person using peripheral vision
Communication In Autism
Communication is a common struggle for children with autism. Along with delays in speech and language development, indicators of communication difficulties include:
- Unresponsiveness to verbal prompts
- Speaking in a flat voice or using an unusual cadence
- Struggling to understand nonverbal communication like facial expressions, gestures, and body language
- Taking things literally; not understanding jokes, expressions, or idioms
- Struggling with imaginative thinking or pretend play
Limited Recurring Behavior
Another term for repetitiveness, limited recurring behavior can manifest in many areas of a child’s life, not just in communication. Common signs of this behavior are:
- Being hyper-focused on specific topics, tasks, or objects
- Talking excessively and endlessly about a particular interest, often not allowing anyone else to speak
- Following a routine and becoming upset if there is any disruption in this routine
- Repeating a certain motion or behavior, like opening and closing a door or saying specific words or phrases over and over
- Exhibiting hyper- or hypo-sensitivity to sensory input
Technology casts a wide net when it comes to potential therapies for autism spectrum disorder. Assistive technology refers to a device that aids an individual to function better. Nowadays, commonplace devices like smartphones and tablets have paved the way for interactive games, toys, and apps that cater to children with autism.
What Is Assistive Technology?
Assistive technology is a device or tool that helps someone with a disability function better. Assistive technology improves function in children with both learning and physical disabilities. Many of Assistive Technology devices are customizable and will gradually adapt to a person’s voice (voice recognition) or handwriting (tablets with a computerized pen option). Both of these can be optimized to include word prediction (to lessen the amount of typing or writing), plus grammar, punctuation and spelling checks. Audiobooks are another option for children with dyslexia or who are audio-learners, as they can listen and read along to enhance understanding.
Assistive Technology Tools for Home
There are many benefits from digital games and software. These tools offer a “safe space” to develop and practice skill sets and imaginative play. Some assistive technology tools are helpful for autism. Otsimo | Special Education, being one of them, serves families with children with autism a safe atmosphere without any advertisements. Games in Otsimo | Special Education educate and entertain the child, keeping their motivation and eagerness to learn. It consists of two separate modules dedicated to settings and games. Settings section is the platform where the parent has full access to specialized education program, can review the child’s progress, check the reports and configure difficulty settings. So, it provides assured control for parents. Games section includes ad-free educational games which are shaped individually to children’s mental development. The child section has been designed to be implemented on its own. Children can learn and play the games on their own without having to have a teacher or someone else supervising them.
So if you know someone who is facing difficulties in raising kids with special needs as caused by Autism, we suggest you let them know of the wonderful, therapeutic world of assistive technology.