Assistive Technology for People With Autism Spectrum Disorders


This chapter reviews research involving the use of assistive technology in the education and treatment of people with autism spectrum disorders. The chapter is organized in three sections corresponding to the most common uses of assistive technology for this population—to support or improve (a) communication skills, (b) social and emotional skills, and (c) daily living and other adaptive skills. Three tables summarize intervention research involving assistive technology in terms of participant characteristics, dependent variables, intervention procedures, and outcomes. The most common forms of assistive technology are discussed within each intervention category, including (a) speech-generating devices, (b) computer-based intervention, (c) the Picture Exchange Communication System, (d) video modeling, and (e) audio-script training. The chapter concludes that a variety of high-tech (e.g., speech-generating devices) and low-tech (e.g., picture cards) systems have been used to teach new skills, promote independent functioning, and improve the quality of life of people with autism spectrum disorders. However, additional research in which a person’s individual preferences, existing abilities, goals, and natural environment are better incorporated within assistive technology planning and intervention is warranted. Considerations for researchers and practitioners working with people with autism spectrum disorders are discussed.


Lang, R., Ramdoss, S., Raulston, T., Carnet, A., Sigafoos, J., Didden, R., . . . O’Reilly, M. (2014). Assistive technology for people with autism spectrum disorders. In G. Lancioni & N. Singh (Eds.), Assistive technology for people with diverse abilities (pp. 157–190). New York, NY: Springer.