The Use of Mobile Phone Technology to Support People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

The Use of Mobile Phone Technology to Support People with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

Kristie Asaro-Saddler (University at Albany (State University of New York), USA) and Diana Akhmedjanova (University at Albany (State University of New York), USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8239-9.ch119


The increasing accessibility and utilization of mobile phone technology has greatly enhanced the lives of many individuals, including those with disabilities such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In this article the authors provide a comprehensive review of the literature in the use of mobile phone technology to deliver interventions to support the communication skills, socialization skills, and academic skills of individuals with ASD. The majority of the studies reviewed in this emerging field indicate the potential effectiveness of mobile technology as a medium to deliver interventions; however, additional research in this field is warranted. Implications for practitioners and researchers, along with potential areas for future research, will be discussed.
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1. Mobile Technology For People With Asd

Technology-aided instruction and intervention (TAII) is not new in the field of ASD (Knight, McKissick & Saunders, 2013), and it has been identified as a research based practice for children with ASD (Odom, 2013). However, while many practitioners have promoted mobile applications as “effective” or “promising” with people with ASD, there are few experimental studies in the use of mobile technology. This may change, as the recent increase in the availability and use of mobile technologies has attracted more attention from researchers attempting to discern the feasibility of using mobile devices in interventions with children with ASD (Campigotto, MsEwen, & Epp, 2012; Falloon, 2013; Ganz, Hong, & Goodwyn, 2013; Mechling, 2011). At present however, technology in the broader sense, including desktop computers and video modeling, has been the primary focus.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Speech Generating Devices (SGDs): Electronic types of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) systems aiding individuals with speech impairments to express their ideas verbally or in writing.

Academic Skills: Skills that will allow one to be successful in learning content such as reading, writing, and mathematics.

Autism Spectrum Disorders: A range of neurodevelopmental disorders characterized by social deficits and communication difficulties, stereotyped or repetitive behaviors and interests, and in some cases, cognitive delays.

Socialization Skills: Skills facilitating interaction and communication with others (e.g. making friends).

Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS©): One of the AAC methods to facilitate communication of people with ASD and other disabilities. This method teaches students to choose appropriate pictures with preferred stimuli to initiate communication, show it to the communication partner, and receive desired item. At later stages, this method develops the skill of differentiating among stimuli, putting pictures together to sentences, asking questions, and even providing comments.

Communication Skills: Understanding and expressing oneself in order to interact with others and have one’s needs met.

Video Modeling: A teaching technique used with children with ASD to model desired behaviors through video-recording, encouraging learners to watch the videos and imitate presented behaviors.

Proloquo2Go©: One of the AAC mobile applications facilitating speech production and communication of people with speech impairments using symbols. People with disabilities learn how to use the app and improve their communication by typing in words, choosing appropriate symbols, selecting voice out of range provided, customizing of vocabulary, and using some other features that contribute to linguistic development of people with special needs.

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