Contribution from freelance writer Emily Watts
Every once in a while, the Leka Team is happy to welcome external contributors and share their food for thoughts. This post has been written by Emily Watts. You can find her bio at the end of the article.
Autism is a behavioral disorder that is accompanied by difficulty in developing social skills. It is also referred to as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). People with autism have a hard time communicating with others and expressing themselves, and it is estimated that 1 in 59 children has ASD. The symptoms of this disorder often include:
- Behavioral issues
- Avoiding eye contact
- Delays in speaking
- Difficulty expressing oneself
- Difficulties in speaking
- Repetitive behavior
The exact cause of autism is unknown, but factors that increase the risk of ASD include:
- Maternal diabetes
- Medications for seizures
- Obese mother
- Alcohol consumption during pregnancy
- Metabolic disorders in a newborn
While there is no cure for autism, there are various treatment regimens that can help to control the disorder. Treatments include medications, behavioral and speech therapy. Another trend that might help children with this disorder is assistive technology for students with autism, because technology for autism makes it easier for children with ASD to study.
Even with therapy, the biggest problem for children with autism is with understanding the intentions of others, because they find it difficult to read other people's facial expressions. This, coupled with developmental and speech problems, makes it difficult for children with autism to go to regular schools.
Autism and technology go hand-in-hand, because technology is helping people with autism to explore their full potential. Technology can assist people with autism in many ways. We have a list of ways technology can help people with autism:
1. Improving Verbal Skills
Almost a quarter of people with ASD have speech difficulties. With the help of assistive technology for autism, these individuals can improve how they communicate with others. There are, for instance, mobile apps with interactive displays that make it easier for autistic children to learn words. These apps can also help these children to improve their storytelling abilities. Apps that can be used to improve verbal skills include:
- Speech with Milo
- Scene Speak
- Avaz Free Speech
2. Stimulating Hearing
Many people with autism process images faster than sounds. Another problem that people with autism face is the inability to listen and look at something at the same time. Apps and other devices can create many different images that autistic people can use to learn how to associate sounds with images.
3. Improving Writing
Autistic children have trouble when it comes to writing by hand or drawing. For these students, their writing helper comes in the form of online services and new technology. For example, instead of struggling with handwriting, they can use touch screens or speech-to-text applications to help them when writing. This makes the learning process less frustrating and encourages learning.
4. Helping with Organizational Skills
Children with autism may have a hard time with organization and self-management, but there are mobile applications that can help them to learn organizational skills without the help of others. An example of such an application is Pocket Schedule. This application can help them to plan their daily activities.
5. Improving Social Skills
STEM programs are very helpful for children with autism, because these programs can help autistic children to improve their social skills. Once a child starts such a program, he or she will become more comfortable with opening up to other children, because these programs can help autistic children to develop communication skills that help to build better relationships in the future.
6. Boosting Confidence
Digital tools can boost the confidence of students with autism. For the most part, children with autism are afraid of being around other children due to the difficulties they have with communication and socializing, but thanks to communication devices for autism, these children can develop their social skills. This will make them want to try new things that take them out of their comfort zone.
Technology for students with autism can make learning more interesting. While some devices and apps are free, others have to be paid for. Because every child with autism is different, the choice of what technology should be used should be decided on a case-by-case basis. The growing number of technologies for autism is helping people with this disorder to live life to the fullest.
Emily Watts Bio
Emily Watts started her writing career in 2005 and has never looked back. She writes articles and research papers, and she is very passionate about her profession. Her other interests include reading, traveling, and volunteering for charity events. Knowing that readers are getting the right information is what motivates her. Writing is a very important part of her life, and she can't imagine a day without it. Emily is also passionate about helping people and volunteering in her community.