Assistive Technology & Autism

See also:    Computers    Facilitated Communication    Robotics   

Internet Resources

Sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, U.S. Department of Education
Providing information and support services to children and adults with disabilities, and supporting their use of standard, assistive, and information technologies
This chapter will briefly review various etiologies that lead to communication disorders in individuals who may benefit from the use of augmentative communication technologies.
D. Jeffery Higginbotham et al
Provides professional services to businesses and inventors with strong support from the consumers of assistive technology products: market research and commercialization.
Assistive Technology: Putting the Puzzle Together; The Puzzle of Support; Assistive Technology Resources; The WATI Assistive Technology Checklist
Citations from the ERIC database
Assistive technology means 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.
Susan Stokes
Nothing could be taken for granted. "We had to be very, very careful with any type of pattern we used on the floor," she said. "If we had geometric forms, the kids could fixate on something and they wouldn't be able to stop counting."
Dave Platter, Interior Design
I have a right to communicate in whatever means is possible for me to communicate. I have the right to choose what means of communication is appropriate for me. If I am unable to speak, I should certainly be given other options.
Amanda Baggs
Resource directory of disability products and services for the disabled, elderly, caregiver and healthcare professional.
A division of the Department of Design Sciences at Lund University that strives to combine technology and education in ways that people with disabilities will find worth using.
Focuses on three interrelated areas of AAC research: social interaction, discourse comprehension and technology development.
Visitors to a major science exhibition are to help teach computers how to read confusion, mirth and other expressions. It is hoped that this will lead to the development of ways to help people with autism recognise emotions. The thousands of visitors to next week's Royal Society summer science exhibition are being invited to take part in research with "emotionally aware" computers designed to mind-read by analysing facial expressions.
Roger Highfield, Telegraph
It's easy for most people to tell whether the person they're talking to is happy or angry just by looking. Now, scientists at MIT's Media Lab are developing a wearable device they say is capable of helping people read the subtlest, most nuanced emotions in another person by tracking the movements of that person's eyebrows, lips, and other facial features.
Catherine Elton, Boston Globe
It allows for accurate evaluation of facial expressions for arbitrary user-defined emotion categories. It allows the creation of emotion objects, which are stored in an emotional indexer data repository that can be accessed and updated to provide more accurate results for future use. Real-time displays of reaction recommendations and temporal information are shown at the user interface in order to recommend a course of action to take.
Alexander Mark Birkby
Two MIT researchers wore tiny cameras mounted on wire rods extending from their chests to demonstrate the Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic, or ESP, at the Body Sensor Networks 2006 international workshop at MIT's Media Lab last week. The video cameras captured facial expressions and head movements, then fed the information to a desktop computer that analyzed the data and gave real-time estimates of the individuals' mental states, in the form of color-coded graphs.
Eric Smalley, Wired
The results demonstrate the value of teaching skills to recruit natural communities of reinforcement in order to generalize intervention effects to meaningful nontraining environments.
V. Mark Durand
A local school is using a high-tech device to help students with neurological disorders such as autism and Asperger's Syndrome better manage their lives. NewsCenter 5's Heather Unruh reported Friday that personal digital assistants are part of class for some students at The League School in Walpole. "We're helping them with the social pragmatics of language and communication," The League School spokeswoman Clare O'Callaghan said.
WCVB Boston
Rainbow Trainers' unique adapted bikes allow children to Lose the Training Wheels and ride conventional bicycles. We are involved in a program and its delivery to permit children to literally "Lose the Training Wheels." We can help your son or daughter, and other children, to lose their training wheels as well. Use this web site to find out how.
Researchers at the MIT Media Lab in the US have developed a device that “reads minds” and alerts wearers to the emotional states of the people they are communicating with. The Emotional Social Intelligence Prosthetic, or ESP, could be used by people with autism to better read the emotions of others around them.
Antony Savvas, Computer Weekly
Duke University student john Finan's idea of a "mood phone" placed first among five hundred submissions. The phone, designed to interpret the mood of the person on the other end of the line, is meant to help people with Asperger syndrome who are unable to recognize emotional cues in the speech of others. "Most people don't think of a gadget as a solution to Aspergers. But a truly new tool that makes people freer to move and communicate can change behavior, and that is how a revolution begins," Finan said.
Perhaps the most interesting and innovative software to recently start trialling in schools is Smart Cat Games, a suite of 13 mini-games developed (using Macromedia Flash) by Bath-based Screen Learning. The software does not emphasise learning but rather assessment of foundation stage pupils entering primary schools. Founder John Dorman says the games test children's strengths and needs, including colour perception and hearing, sequencing, short-term memory, word-matching and, most interestingly, empathy and emotional recognition.
Steve Boxer, UK Guardian
The present project is concerned with the possibility of enabling people with autism to show us how they think by means of multimodal knowledge-based systems.
Charlotte Magnusson
ORCLISH is a statewide federally funded project under the direction of the Ohio Department of Education, Division of Special Education, serving parents and educators of school-age students with low incidence and severe disabilities.
Serving people with disabilities with Communication Aids and Computer Access.
Offers a variety of high-tech assistive and adaptive technology products, augmentative and alternative communication devices, computer access equipment, multilingual speech synthesis and voice recognition software.
A good-sized list of links.
Scientists have come up with a device that can warn when you are boring the pants off people! It has been created to help victims of autism - but could be developed for use in classrooms or other social arenas. The "emotional social intelligence prosthetic" picks up on people's moods and consists of a small camera attached to a pair of glasses connected to a hand-held computer running image-recognition software plus software that can read the emotions these images show.
Lifestyle Extra
An innovative model for professional development
Supports professionals, parents, and computer-users in their efforts to use technology to improve our schools and to enhance the lives of people with disabilities.
Results suggested that the majority of students received technology for educational participation while a smaller number received voice output communication aids; some students received both types of technology.
There is a steady accumulation of evidence from individual case studies to support the idea that VIG may be an effective form of intervention.
Sheila Messenger
Search for devices by specific criteria (type, location, etc.); Post a 'device wanted' notice; Offer an item for sale or donation; Frequently Asked Questions; AT-Exchange user questionnaire

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This page was last updated on 5 November 2008, 3:48 pm
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