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Technological Advances That Greatly Aid Adolescents With Autism

Technological Advances That Greatly Aid Adolescents With Autism

The age of adolescence is one known to be marked by tumultuous emotions due to the multiple changes and raging hormones that adolescents have to deal with. During this sensitive time, adolescents develop more independent lives as they crave to feel belongingness and seek peers to socialize with. Adolescents with Autism are no exception. However, as a result of deficiencies in communication and socialization skills, they often require interventions to facilitate their optimal functioning to deal with adolescent needs, issues, and concerns. In developing and refining communication and socialization skills while accommodating their special needs, technology can be the teenager with Autism’s best friend. Wing (1996) explains that Autism is characterized by a “triad of impairments,” which include social impairments that make it difficult for teenagers with Autism to relate to or empathize with others; a communication impairment that makes it a challenge to understand and use verbal and nonverbal communication; and finally, the impairment of being rigid and inflexible in thinking, language, and behavior. These challenges require some form of assistance in order for individuals with Autism to function well with others.
One effective tool in engaging people in tasks, including those that involve communication and socialization with others, is technology. Individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities are fortunate to live in this time when technology has evolved so rapidly and there are experts who design gadgets customized to their needs. In the past, such gadgets were large, inconvenient to transfer from one place to another, and often slow; and thus contributed little to the quality of life of those with special needs.
Technological gadgets nowadays are designed to especially assist individuals with Autism; they are light and portable and enhance the skills and mobility of those with Autism. Technology is used to help adolescents with Autism be more independent, increase their social acceptability, and integrate into the community with less stigma associated with being “special” or different. It may also be used to help the adolescent develop domestic skills such as cleaning, simple cooking, or washing dishes; self-care skills such as showering or brushing teeth; daily living skills such as shopping or exercising; and even perform some simple job tasks (Autismspeaks.org, 2011).
Reference:
Adolescent’s Use of Technology to Cope with the Challenges of Autism
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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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