Research on Technology-Supported Teaching and Learning for Autism

Research on Technology-Supported Teaching and Learning for Autism

Leilani Goosen
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5915-3.ch005
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The purpose of this chapter is to highlight research on technology-supported teaching and learning for people with autism. The chapter's general perspective is introduced, and objectives stated. The background section provides broad definitions and discussion of the topic, incorporating others' views to support, refute, or demonstrate the author's position. The subsequent section presents the author's perspective on the issues, controversies, problems, as these relate to the theme, and arguments supporting the author's position. It compares and contrasts these with what have been or is currently being done relating to the topic and book theme. The following section discusses solutions and recommendations in dealing with the issues, controversies, or problems presented in the preceding section. Next, it discusses future and emerging trends, providing insight about the future of the book theme from the perspective of the chapter focus. A discussion of the overall coverage of the chapter and concluding remarks are provided.
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According to Chandler (2016), for several years now, the use of various Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) has had profoundly transformative effects on people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Describing the general perspective of the chapter, the use of research on technology-supported teaching and learning in, and the treatment of, especially children and/or adolescents with autism spectrum disorder will be introduced. Such technology-supported teaching and learning are creating great possibilities and opening new worlds for those on every part of the autism spectrum. The question addressed in the research reported on in this chapter is therefore: How can research on technology-supported teaching and learning be used in, and for, the treatment of, children and/or adolescents on the autism spectrum?

This comprehensive and timely chapter will therefore aim to be an essential reference, building on the available literature in the field of instructional technology in especially developing countries, while providing for further research opportunities in this dynamic field. Similar to that of this book as a whole, it is hoped that this chapter will also provide the target audience, including curriculum developers, policy makers, technology developers, educators, researchers, academics and learners, with the resources necessary for them to adopt and implement technology platforms in developing nations, as well as across the globe - they should find this chapter useful in furthering their exposure to topics pertinent to research on technology-supported teaching and learning for autism.

Children these days are frequently referred to as digital natives in terms of technology. According to Lofland (2016), this is often also true for learners on the autism spectrum. Many ASD individual learners are, in fact, more comfortable when interacting with inanimate objects like a computer or an iPad. It has been established that mobile technology, that, for most people, serve as only entertainment or convenience (Chandler, 2016), can be also be used effectively for assisting in learning academic areas, from fine motor to social, functional life and organizational skills, video modelling, reinforcement, speech/language therapy, visual support and increasing independence (Lofland, 2016). Personal computers (PCs) and standard operating systems first became an early option, and now, technology is opening new worlds and creating great new possibilities, not only for developers, but also for those on every part of the autism spectrum (Chandler, 2016; Lofland, 2016). Since they came along, mobile, multiple-use technologies have been offering opportunities to consumers and/or learners, which extended far beyond the capacities of earlier devices, at significantly lower costs.

Especially since the introduction of tablet devices, like the iPad, the subsequent explosion of such devices and specialized applications for communication and related skills (Chandler, 2016), the proliferation of such relatively inexpensive mobile technologies have dramatically changed how education and behavioral services are provided and/or delivered to individual learners with autism spectrum disorder (Lofland, 2016). Mobile computing devices, from touch screen telephones to tablets, have never been less expensive, more user-friendly and/or more universally available. ICTs, including, for example, affective computing, multi-touch interfaces, robotics and virtual reality, have been developed for supporting people with ASD (Chen, 2012). Such innovative technologies, on their own or in conjunction with others, could be used positively in several critical areas, which affect individual learners with autism spectrum disorders, their families and the professionals who support them.

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