Using Handheld Applications to Improve the Transitions of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Using Handheld Applications to Improve the Transitions of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Michael Ben-Avie (SCSU Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders, USA), Deborah Newton (Southern Connecticut State University, USA) and Brian Reichow (AJ Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities University of Connecticut Health Center, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8789-9.ch066
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Abstract

While the knowledge that has been gained from previous studies has accelerated the understanding of the difficulties facing individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), there is concern regarding the speed with which and the overall lack of translation of research into interventions that make differences in the everyday lives of individuals with ASDs (Gresham, et al., 2001; Volkmar, et al., 2004; Volkmar, Reichow, & Doehring, 2011). For example, the symptoms of ASDs can greatly impair an individual's ability to navigate independently through everyday events. Translating this knowledge into instructional practice requires, then, the design of methods for easing students' transitions within the school, home, and community. While research has validated the use of low-tech visual supports (e.g., National Autism Center, 2009), little has been done to analyze the utility and appropriateness of high-tech assistive technology, such as those interventions administered through smartphones, tablets, and other handheld devices, which are devices that are being used more frequently in education settings (Gray et al., 2010). This chapter presents the results of federally funded research to determine whether the use of iPrompts—a software application for iOS and Android-based smartphones and tablet computers—assists teachers and other educational professionals as they help students with ASD transition from one activity to the next or from one setting to another.
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Assistive Technology

Visual supports can be considered assistive technology using the definition of assistive technology (AT) provided in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, 20 U.S.C. § 1401:

  • 1.

    Assistive Technology Device

    • a.

      In general ‑ the term ‘assistive technology device’ means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability

    • b.

      Exception ‑ the term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such a device (Public law 105-394 [29 USC 2201]).

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