assistive technology

definition of assistive technology: Augmentative and alternative curriculum (AAC) interventions aided with technically advanced tools, such as VOCAs or computers.

Family Raises Funds for iPads for Kids with Autism

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Lucas Olson, a 4-year-old with autism, has had an iPad for the year since he was diagnosed.

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Lucas Olson, a 4-year-old with autism, has had an iPad for the year since he was diagnosed. Lucas is non-verbal and his parents have been amazed at what Lucas has learned to communicate on the iPad. His mom explained, “It has also helped us in being able to go out in public and do things that we had kind of stepped back from doing because it was too hard on him.” Andrea Reynolds, a speech pathologist who works with Lucas, says augmentative and assistive technology such as iPads can help kids improve communication, comprehension, and educational development. In the Crookston MN community, Lucas’ mom decided to pay forward their success with the iPad and began to raise money so that other kids on the spectrum could have an iPad. She was able to raise enough money for 4 children to receive iPads through her RiverView Foundation iPad Fund.

Mom of Kid with Autism Develops Visual Communication Tools

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Marie Duggan began creating visual tools to help her son communicate after he was diagnosed with autism.

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Marie Duggan began creating visual tools to help her son communicate after he was diagnosed with autism. Now her company, Technology for Autism Now (TAN), helps lots of kids and their families communicate. Her first efforts included showing her son pictures of household objects, next she provided him with a touchscreen computer that contained images and words. Within several years, he was able to construct complete sentences with the computer. She realized that advocating for technology was the way to go. She worked with the Mayor of Boston to develop a program for students with autism that helped with academic and social skills. TAN believes in collaboration and integrates families, healthcare providers, and teachers with assistive technology to help people with autism and their families communicate. TAN is currently working with FableVision to develop software to run on mobile devices.

Suggestions for Helping Teens with Autism Transition to Adulthood

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In this article, Wrightslaw, special education advocates, provide information on helping teens with autism transition to adulthood.

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In this article, Wrightslaw, special education advocates, provide information on helping teens with autism transition to adulthood. Did you know that by age 16, students covered by IDEA are required to have a transition services plan (TIEP) in place? Some issues to consider in the transition plan include: vocational rehab, counseling and training; college; career trade or profession; integrated employment; adult services; assistive technology; and independent living. If you need help during these transition years, you can contact the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). NDRN is the federally-mandated organization to protect and advocate rights for people with a range of disabilities.

Missouri Autism Center Seeks to Share Resources with Other Autism Centers

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The Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment, in Southeast Missouri plans on sharing resources with other area autism centers.

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The Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment in Southeast Missouri plans on sharing resources with other area autism centers. Centers sharing space and resources include: The Tailor Institute; Touchpoint Autism Services; and Thompson Outreach Center. The center provides assistive technology to help children with autism learn to communicate; in addition, they have a sensory room, an occupational therapy room, and an outdoor playground. Therapies are provided by licensed therapists as well as by supervised Southeast Missouri State therapy students. The State of Missouri, like others, has legislation pending that would increase financial options for autism treatment.

Techniques and Recommendations for the Inclusion of Users with Autism in the Design of Assistive Technologies

Involving people with autism in the design process for digital devices may help create products that work well for them.

Francis P, Mellor D, Firth L.  2009.  Techniques and Recommendations for the Inclusion of Users with Autism in the Design of Assistive Technologies. Assistive Technology . 21(2):57-68.

Assistive Technology in the Classroom Helps Children with Autism

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Assistive technology helps busy teachers in their classrooms with children with autism. Classroom teachers are busy all day long and may have difficulty documenting every issue and behavior that arises in the classroom. Selective Archiving is a tool that allows the teacher to record classroom events and then review the video at the end of the day. Another assistive classroom tool is Visual Scheduler (vSked). vSked takes children with autism through their day using a touch screen. They answer questions that include knowing the day of the week, the month, the weather outside, and "other things a teacher might ask in a typical elementary school classroom" 

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Preparing for College with a Disability

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A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does not mean higher education, like college, is out of the question.

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A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does not mean higher education, like college, is out of the question. More and more students, including those with Asperger's are finding college accessible for them and some of their special needs. Daniel Fendley of Tennessee, who was diagnosed with asperger syndrome in middle school, begins college in the fall. Federal disability regulations, awareness by professors, and changing teaching methods are making higher education available to students with disabilities. For example, adjustments in curriculm include "printing handouts on light blue paper, because some autistic students with visual sensitivities find black text on white paper jarring." Students are encouraged to come to campus early in order to learn about assistive technology that is available and sign up for tutors. Parents are encouraged to prepare their children with living skills for the dormitory.

A diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) does not mean higher education, like college, is out of the question.

Assistive Technology Helps Children with Autism Gain Independence

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Louise McKown, project coordinator with the East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC), wants to make sure children with autism and others with developmental disabilities get all the help they ne

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Louise McKown, project coordinator with the East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC), wants to make sure children with autism and others with developmental disabilities get all the help they need. The ETTAC exists to provide assistive technology in whatever form a person needs to function in the world. Assistive technology can help a child learn to read or speak, or be as simple as a "grabber" to help reach something that is out of the way. Some of the devices are "low-tech" and help people function in the kitchen or bathroom. Other devices are sophisticated computers with magnified text or specialty keyboards.

Louise McKown, project coordinator with the East Tennessee Technology Access Center (ETTAC), wants to make sure children with autism and others with developmental disabilities get all the help they ne

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