Recent Research


Recent Research into Technology Use for Individuals with ASD

DSC_0126With the advances in technology allowing for more portable, interactive systems, widely used tools such as computers and tablets have become commonplace in many homes, classrooms and workplaces for individuals with ASD. Best practice guidelines for individuals with ASD have indicated that the use of visual supports can be beneficial to learning; therefore the use of interactive, visual learning methods such as the iPad may be effective for some individuals.

Recently there has been a large amount of research around to use of technology as a learning tool for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).This research has shown that technology can be an effective learning tool for individuals with ASD for example in the development of expressive communication skills (Rogers & Rogers, 2013), supporting transitions (Schreibman, Whalen & Stahmer, 2000) and academic skills development (Burton, Anderson, Prater & Dyches, 2013).

It is, however, important to note that not all individuals will benefit from the use of technology to aid learning and it is important to know and understand the person’s needs before introducing any tool.

In recommending applications for use with individuals research also highlights the need for:

  • consideration about why the technology will be used and clear goal setting,
  • individualisation of technology to suit each person’s needs and interests,
  • support to implement the technology such as modelling and prompting,
  • support for generalisation of skills to everyday environments and
  • the continual need for monitoring of the effectiveness, as with any intervention method.

“Broadly, technology is no different from any other tool. The power comes not from what it is, but rather how it is used.” (Ayres, Mechling & Sansoti, 2013, p. 216)

If you wish to read more information about recent research related to the use of iPads or tablets with individuals with ASD, please refer to the following links:

Evidence Based Practice for Supporting People with ASD

The Australian report by Dr Jacqueline Roberts and Dr Margo Prior (2006) provides key insights to the management and treatment of young children with ASD and identifies the most effective models of best practice:

  • Individualised Support and Services
  • Highly Structured and Supportive Learning Environment
  • Supported Transition between Settings
  • Functional Approach to Behaviour Management
  • Family Involvement

Roberts, J. M. A., & Prior, M. (2006). A review of the research to identify the most effective models of practice in early intervention of children with Autism spectrum disorders. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Australia.