Technology

What Are Assistive Technologies?

Assistive technology (AT) device is “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 functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities” (Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988). Such technologies can be “high” or “low tech” (from canes to voice recognition and speech generation devices). More information on different types of AT can be found at https://at.mo.gov/information-resources-publications/documents/Autism.pdf

AT for Communication Skills

Some individuals with ASD may be non-verbal or have difficulties understanding social cues or conversation. Speech generating devices may help such individuals. This can be a standalone device or specialized software installed on a tablet of phone.

Learn more at https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/assistive-devices-people-hearing-voice-speech-or-language-disorders

AT for Social Skills

Social skills is often a challenge for individuals with ASD. There are many applications to help individuals with ASD develop social skills that range from teaching facial expressions, to academic and social learning, to helping deal with stress and maladaptive behaviors. You can find some examples at https://informingfamilies.org/assitive-technology/

Daily Living Skills

Daily living skills, such as hygiene, organization skills, and recreational skills, are important for individuals with ASD to master on their path towards independence.

You can find some examples at https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Assistive_Technology_in_Education/Life_Skills#Software_Offering_Functional_Skill_Content

Where to Find Information on Such Devices

You can check out the following recources:

Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs: https://www.ataporg.org/

AbleData: Tools and Technologies to Enhance Life: https://abledata.acl.gov/

 

CRISIS? Read This

When an individual engages in negative behaviors, such as a tantrum or aggression, it is important to focus on the safety of the individual, those around them, and property.

In case of emergency, call 9-1-1!

Hotlines:

Indiana’s Adult Abuse Hotline: Report any types of adult (18+ y.o.) abuse (e.g., neglect, battery, or exploitation) who may be incapable due to mental illness or other physical or mental incapacity to Adult Protective Services. State hotline: 1-800-992-6978. For more information or to report online: www.in.gov/fssa/da/3479.htm

Indiana’s Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline: Call 1-800-800-5556 to report child abuse (e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse) and neglect allegations. Help is available 24/7.

Suicide hotline: Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a counselor at Lifeline crisis center near you. Help is available 24/7. For more information:  www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org

SAMHSA’s National Helpline (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service):  Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). Help available 24/7. For more information: www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov

When to Ask for Help?

Individuals with ASD experience many challenges. However, it is important for parents and caregivers to recognize when they need to seek help:

  • Aggression, self-injury or other changes in behavior, like irritability or anxiety, are recurrent, persistent, and have strong negative impact onto those around them
  • Dangerous or unsafe behaviors that are challenging to manage or contain (e.g., elopement and wandering)
  • Threats of suicide
  • Regression in skills

 

 

 

 

Featured Presentations

Supporting Families through the LifeCourse with Julie Reynolds, DDRS

Insurance and Advocating with Michele Trivedi, The Arc of Indiana

Indiana Systems of Care: Strengthening Our Communities with Jayme Whitacker, FSSA, DMHA and Christy Gauss, IDOE