Loading...

Helpful Examples of How Technology Can Support Children with Autism

2022-07-15T16:06:03+01:00

Last Updated on 15th July 2022

Share this with your friends, family and colleagues

To celebrate Disability Pride Month and Disability Awareness Day, we’re looking at how technology can support people with Autism in their day-to-day lives.

As technology continues to evolve, we realise it has the potential to be a force for good; a powerful way to empower children and young people living with autism, and those that care for them.

What is Autism?

Autism, or Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a lifelong condition affecting how people communicate and interact with the world around them.  There are a broad range of characteristics associated with it. These can range from challenges with social skills, speech and communication, and sensory issues. It is not an illness or a disease, but simply means that a person with autism’s brain works in a different way to people without autism.

In our experience, many children and young people of all ages with additional needs experience the same desire to use technology and explore the online world. With the right support and supervision, they can not only use apps and websites that provide help and support but also fun and enjoyment! 

Here are five apps and websites that can be used to support children and young people with autism.  

At the time of publication all the below apps are free to download but may offer in-app purchases.

Please note: None of the below have been created or are owned by INEQE Safeguarding Group and we suggest reading the reviews before downloading or using any of the suggestions.

To Help with Communication

Emergency Chat

Individuals on the autistic spectrum may struggle to communicate verbally when feeling heightened emotions, experiencing an emotional overload or as part of the overall condition. Having apps that provide communication solutions is one of the great ways we see technology helping people with autism.

The Emergency App provides both pre-set and adjustable cards that can be shown to others as an alternative form of communication.    

As stated on the App stores, the Emergency Chat app is “a clutter-free single-device chat for situations where speech is impossible.” 

The Emergency Chat app has a splash screen with “base text that explains to the person you gave your phone to that you can’t use speech and want to use this app to communicate. The default text is aimed at people experiencing an autistic meltdown where their speech centres stay non-functional for a while even after they’ve recovered.”

4.7 / 5
4.9 / 5

Card Talk

Children and young people with autism may prefer to communicate via visual aids like image cards that depict activities and emotions. For example, a visual support card showing a picture of a milk cartoon may be used to request a glass of milk. A card showing an angry face may be presented to explain how that person is feeling. They can also be used to outline what will be happening that day or in the future and create social stories.

The app Card Talk provides users with picture cards to communicate with others. It has 200 free cards for everyday use and includes the option to add a voice recording to the cards. Users can create their own cards by uploading pictures and photographs. The app was developed from actual cards used in classrooms of children with special education needs and transferred into app form, using technology to help children with autism communicate digitally. Card Talk is free but offers in-app purchases.

4.6 / 5
4.1 / 5

Learn Makaton Online

Makaton is a language support programme that uses signs, symbols and speech to enable people to communicate. Using Makaton can really help in giving children and young people with difficulties understanding or using spoken language a means of communicating. Being able to communicate with others is a basic human need – without a method of communication, people can end up feeling frustrated, isolated and without the ability to express their needs and wants.  

The Makaton Charity has an active Facebook page with a new Makaton sign posted every week, a library of signs on their YouTube channel and a collection of free resources on their websiteThe Makaton Charity has an active Facebook page with a new Makaton sign posted every week, a library of signs on their YouTube channel and a collection of free resources on their website. You can also find access to official Makaton training in your area under the ‘Learn Makaton’ section of the website. 

The Cbeebies children’s TV programme Something Special features the character Mr Tumble who uses Makaton signs, speech and symbols throughout each episode.

To Help Deal with Emotions and Anxiety

Molehill Mountain

A free app designed by Autistica in conjunction with King’s College London, Molehill Mountain is designed to help people with autism understand and manage their anxiety.  

A user can track their mood and situations which may trigger anxiety through daily check ins and provides daily exercises to help to cope with any worries. The app also provides helpful tips to help manage anxiety and build confidence in its user.  

Through the short daily check ins, users can unlock a full Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) course, which was designed specifically for users with autism.  

What is CBT?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a type of talking therapy that focuses on breaking down negative thought patterns and behaviours to change how a person thinks and to improve their state of mind. It is often used to treat anxiety and depression, alongside other mental and physical health problems.

By using technology to help children and young people with autism, apps like Molehill Mountain are providing a 24/7, easily accessible way for them to track, understand and manage their emotional needs. 

No rating yet

4.3 / 5

Visual Support

Pablo

Pablo is an animated cartoon about a boy with autism who draws imaginary animals to help him handle situations that make him feel uncomfortable. Voiced solely by individuals on the autistic spectrum, the characters within the show represent different traits of the spectrum. For example, the llama repeats things that people say – a trait associated with autism, known as echolalia.

Learn more about the characters

Signposting to Support for those on the Autistic Spectrum

UK Wide

https://www.autisminitiatives.org/about

Autism Initiatives deliver unique services and personalised opportunities to adults, children and families in a variety of locations in the North of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.

https://www.autism.org.uk/

The leading UK charity for autistic people (including those withAsperger syndrome) and their families.

https://www.autism-alliance.org.uk/

The Autism Alliance strive to support, raise awareness and increase understanding of Autism Spectrum Conditions throughout the UK to allow all affected by autism to lead productive and fulfilling lives.

https://www.childautism.org.uk/

Child Autism UK helps children with autism achieve their potential.Providing services to enable children to overcome difficulties with communication, learning and life skills and give families the techniques and strategies to cope with autism through the use ofApplied Behaviour Analysis (ABA).

England

https://www.autism-anglia.org.uk/

Autism Anglia is an independent charity which provides care and support to children, adults and families affected by autism in EastAnglia.

https://autismwestmidlands.org.uk/

Autism West Midland’s mission is to provide specialist support and advice to autistic people of all ages and their families living in theWest Midlands, enabling them to meet their full potential.

https://www.ne-as.org.uk/

North East Autism Society work in partnership to achieve outstanding personalised services for people with an AutismSpectrum Condition (ASC).

https://www.autismhampshire.org.uk/

Founded in the mid 1960’s, Autism Hampshire’s mission is to create opportunities, challenge perceptions, enhance choices and provide high quality services to meet the diverse needs of people on the autism spectrum

For the full list of regional resources, please visit the website of the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Scotland

https://www.scottishautism.org/

Scottish Autism is an organisation dedicated to enriching the lives of autistic people.

https://www.employment.autismnetworkscotland.org.uk/

Autism Network Scotland connects and communicates with individuals on the autistic spectrum, their families and carers, and practitioners working in the field of autism.

https://swanscotland.org/

SWAN is a charity established in August 2012 in partnership withAutism Network Scotland.

http://www.autismtoolbox.co.uk/

A resource for Scottish Schools from the Scottish Government in partnership with Scottish Autism Network Scotland

Wales

https://autismwales.org/en/

National website for ASD including information about AutismSpectrum Disorders (including Autism and Asperger Syndrome),service details, training opportunities and updates on the implementation of the ASD Strategic Action Plan for Wales.

The Birthday Party is a training film for professionals. The film is a partnership project between government, university and clinical partners, including Dr Sarah  Carrington from Aston University. It has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council andWelsh Government.

Learn More & Watch

Isle of Man

https://www.autism.org.uk/directory/a/autism-in-mann

Autism in Mann was established in 1991 by two parents with families affected by autism, who wanted to reach out and help other affected people, parents and carers. The charity has been involved in the local community ever since.

Northern Ireland

https://www.autismni.org/

Autism NI is a parent led partnership organisation formed to promote positive collaboration between parents, professionals and individuals with Autism and address the need for appropriate services.

https://www.peatni.org/

PEAT – Parents’ Education as Autism Therapists is a parent led autism charity for support, advice, training and events.

More services can be found on the Family Support NI Website

Share this with your friends, family and colleagues

Join our Online Safeguarding Hub Newsletter Network

Members of our network receive weekly updates on the trends, risks and threats to children and young people online.

Sign Up

Pause, Think
and Plan

Guidance on how to talk to the children in your care about online risks.

Watch video on youtube
Image of a collection of Safer Schools Resources in relation to the Home Learning Hub

Visit the Home Learning Hub!

The Home Learning Hub is our free library of resources to support parents and carers who are taking the time to help their children be safer online.

Visit Website
Go to Top