It is important for all parties involved in supporting a pupil with Autism to consider potential benefits and challenges of using ICT. Technology can provide a secure, comfortable environment for children and young people with autism. They can feel more in control, be familiar with the routines involved, and there is often little need to communicate with others, which can have positive and negative implications.
Technology can help children to become more independent in work tasks and develop skills they can also use at home. However decisions regarding the set-up of any technology will need to be carefully planned; the use of a laptop can require a higher level of school staff support than some staff expect.
Often staff use ICT as a reward activity – or to help reduce demand in busy social situations (i.e. during break times) or to unwind.The appeal of ICT to many pupils with autism can be used as a motivator and offers opportunities to learn in ways suited to their learning styles. However, it is important that it is made clear to pupils when ICT is being used as a learning tool or as a recreation activity. This will help reduce anxiety and will help avoid pupils accessing programmes/websites unrelated to current task.
Techonology is dynamic and can utilised in a variety of innovative ways not simply restricted to using a computer. Many schools have examples of good practice and use of many forms of ICT to enhance the learning and skills development of young people with autism.