Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a mental condition which impairs normal perceptions and relationships. It is an abnormal psychological development in which the patient finds it difficulty in using language, reacting to various stimuli, interpreting the world around him/her and they form relationships in an unusual pattern or cannot fully establish a relationship by themselves. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tens of thousands of children in live with ASD, which can be translated to about 1 in every 68 children in America, further translating to 1 in every 3 classrooms in North America.
Many of these children also demonstrate some special abilities. Some can easily find places they’ve visited before by simply using satellite images displayed on Google Maps, some can literally quote verbatim from a Star Wars or Disney movie with high accuracy. So there is evidence that as much as they are handicapped, they do possess within them extraordinary abilities.
April being the month of National Autism Awareness campaign Innov8tiv has endeavored to bring you some technology developments that could be used to make the lives of ASD patients easier. Given below is a summary look at all we could gather in a special tribute to this month National Autism Awareness campaign:
- The Internet: Medical Insurance does not cover tech-devices that would ease the lives of patients with ASD. Hence families which can’t afford to buy such tech-devices can turn to crowdfunding sites like the GiveForward and Crowdrise which has well-wishers willing to give support to such families. You can also turn to Facebook group such as the Autism-technically speaking meant for parents with autistic kids. Another social network platform away from Facebook is the site called MyAutismTeam. Other sites which combines a bit of everything dealing with autism are Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism and Autistic Self Advocacy.
- iPad & iPhone Apps: In the words of Apple’s late 2008 campaign slogan “There’s an app for that”. It would seem that assistive technology for ASD has been in existence for decades now, but have conventionally been too expensive or very low tech to be meaningful. iPad has set out to change that: many ASD patient are nonverbal, previously parents might have been required to part with $8,000 and above to buy a dedicated single-purpose computer which would help their kids communicate using symbols. A tap on a picture, the computer recites a word associated with that picture, several pictures taps consecutively the computer would formulate a rudimentary sentence. Now thanks to Apple, kids with ASD can get a cheaper version of the same by installing a $220 AssistiveWare knows as the Prologquo2Go app. Having this app running on the iPad, autistic kids can do the same as the high-end computer does, but they would not stand out among their peers especially when at school making them look very unusual. They would just be another kid in school with an iPad, in fact just another cool kid with a cool tech-device.
- Apart from impaired communication, ASD patients are faced with more challenges and similarly there are other apps to help them face some of these challenges. For instance there is the Common Sense Media apps which can help ASD kids in understanding social norms and the appropriate response to others. Another one is the Calm Counter can help them not get worked up so easily. Apps such as Choiceworks and Time Timer help through visually oriented schedules which can help ASD kids in managing their lack of executive functioning skills to help them complete tasks on their own. The numbers of apps to assist ASD kids are numerous to view more of them click here.
- There are also other non high-tech ways to help you better manage ASD kids better. For instance ASD kids who are hypersensitive to sounds can wear noise-canceling headphones to keep them calm. Another idea would be instead of fitting your kids with GPS tracking gadgets, you can instead use a med-alert bracelet with your cell phone number on it.
These are some of the ways Innov8tiv shares with you in managing ASD patients. Innov8tiv also would like to advice you to stop looking at websites that emphasis on autism stigmas, negativity, misinformation and self-pity. Instead, spend your energy in being aware of the needs and rights of autistic people and join on board on working to fight for their best interest.