When considering and planning to use Assistive Technology (AT) for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it is important to ask the following questions:
- Is AT currently used by the student? What is it used for? How successful is it?
- What task do we want the student to do, that they are unable to do at a level that reflects their skills, abilities and or knowledge?
- Is the student currently able to independently and consistently learn and demonstrate learning with current strategies or adjustments?
- Would the use of AT help the student learn and demonstrate learning more easily or efficiently?
- Would the use of AT help the student learn and demonstrate learning with more independence or more consistency?
When a decision has been made to use AT, further considerations need to include:
- the specific characteristics of the student (age, abilities, preferences and interests)
- the learning environments where the AT will be used
- the learning goals that the AT is intended to support
- when and how ongoing evaluation of the student's development and learning needs will occur.
- support and training required for students and staff in the use of AT
- consultation with others, such as special educators, therapists and/or Disability Services Support Unit (DSSU), to find out more about AT options and use and use online reviews, free trials and demonstrations where possible
- the range of technology solutions
- if using high-tech AT, consider operating system compatibility issues, licensing agreements and investigate freeware or shareware software options to save costs before making a selection
- any other costs involved in the AT such as training, upgrades or other support requirements as well as the level of support offered by the supplier or manufacturer
- if any built in accessibility features in the operating system may be accessed for free
- is the AT product durable and able to be easily implemented and transported; can it be adapted to become more portable, durable or more easily implemented
- is the AT aimed appropriately at the age of the student(s) who will use it
- which students will benefit from this technology
- the possible social, communicative and confidence benefits of the AT device or product.
The department's loans service offers a wide range of specialised assistive technologies for loan to support and facilitate inclusive education practices for students with disability, including students with ASD.
Education support teams can use these resources and equipment to trial with students with disability to ensure they are effective for the individual student before purchasing them. Loans services are currently transitioning to regional management. For further information, contact the Loans Contact in your region.