Use of Assistive Technology to Teach Social Skills to Individuals with Autism Problem Statement A goal for many students with disabilities is for them to become more independent and/or as independent as they can be. This is especially true for those students with autism. Students with autism need to learn skills to help them to be more independent so that they can be successful in society. Skills that can be taught using assistive technology are social skills, which include being able to transition from task to task with little to no prompting, starting conversations, play skills, and sharing. Topics The research conducted on this topic will be looked at under the following topics: types of assistive technology, issues in communication for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, educational goals, why assistive technology should be used, video modeling, and teacher perspectives. Types of Assistive Technology Computers and computer based programs iPods DVDs and videos Personal Digital Assistant Issues in Communication Deficits in: social development, communication, and repetitive behaviors and interest (Sansosti & Powell-Smith 2008) Impairments in: social interactions, communication, and restricted repetitive behavior (Bellini, Akullian, & Hopf 2007) Educational Goals Teach pragmatics, self-help skills, and social skills (Sansosti & Powell-Smith 2008) The ability to function independently throughout the day (Mechling & Savidge 2010) Why Use Assistive Technology? One strength of individuals with autism is their visual perception (Mechling, Gast, & Seid 2009) and they favor visual approaches (Cihak, Fahrenkrog, Ayres, & Smith 2010) Use of visual cues can help acquire, maintain, generalize a “range of academic, functional, domestic or self-care, leisure, and communication skills (p. 104 Cihak, Fahrenkrog, Ayres, & Smith 2010).” Found to be more enjoyable than other approaches (Young & Posselt 2011) Why Use Technology Continued Found to be more intrinsically motivating (Sansosti and Powell-Smith 2007) Can provide more information and promote independent task completion (Mechling & Savidge 2010) Video Modeling Video Modeling: “Demonstration of desired behaviors through active video representation of the behavior (p. 81 Bellini, Akullian, & Hopf 2007).” Video Self-Modeling: “The target student serves as the model and views himself or herself performing the target behaviors accurately and independently (p. 103 Cihak, Fahrenkrog, Ayres, & Smith 2010).” Teacher Perspectives Beneficial to the students When working on functional skills the teacher is more free to work one on one with small groups Intervention was appropriate and helpful in getting students to use the target behaviors In Conclusion Technology is a useful tool to teaching social skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorders References Bellini, S., Akullian, J., & Hopf, A. (2007). Increasing social engagement in young children with autism spectrum disorders using video selfmodeling. School psychology review 36(1), 80-90. Cihak, D., Fahrenkrog, C., Ayres, K.M., & Smith, C. (2010). The use of video modeling via a video iPod and a system of least prompts to improve transitional behaviors for students with autism spectrum disorders in the general education classroom. Journal of positive behavior interventions 12(2), 103-115. Mechling, L. C., Gast, D. L., & Seid, N. H. (2009). Using a personal digital assistant to increase independent task completion by students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of autism & developmental disorders 39, 1420-1434. References Continued Mechling, L. C., & Savidge, E. J. (2010). Using a personal digital assistant to increase completion of novel tasks and independent transitioning by students with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of autism & developmental disorders, 41, 687-704 Sansosti, F.J. & Powell-Smith, K.A. (2008). Using computer-presented social stories and video models to increase the social communication skills of children with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders. Journal of positive behavior interventions 10(3), 162-178. Young, R.L. & Posselt, M. (2012). Using the transporters dvd as a learning tool for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Journal of autism & developmental disorders 42, 984-991.