AT and Behavior Modification for children with ASD

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AT and Behavior Modification for children with ASD:

AT and Behavior Modification for children with ASD Marissa Kase Lynn University ESE 530- Technology and Exceptional Students Assistive Technology and Behavior Modification for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This presentation will look at different types of assistive technology that can be used for behavior modification and positive behavior support for children with autism. It will also briefly overview the SETT framework and the connection between AT, ASD, and Behavior Modification.


SETT What is the SETT Framework? Student Environment Task Tools The SETT framework provides educators with factors to consider when deciding on a type of assistive technology to use with a student. The SETT framework focuses on four factors: student, environment, task, and tools. The first factor, student, refers to the importance of considering the students, strengths, needs, and interests when trying to pick a form of assistive technology. The student has to be able to understand the technology enough to accurately use it and needs to be able to physically use or manipulate the technology. Giving a student with poor hand-eye coordination a piece of technology that requires them to push small buttons in order for accurate use, is not a good fit. The next factor to consider is the environment in which the student is expected to use the technology. Assistive technology can be both low-tech and high-tech. It is important to consider the environment the technology is to be used in because if it requires electricity to function, that particular piece of technology may not be the best option if the student needs to use it outside, away from a power source. The task is important to consider when deciding which piece of assistive technology to pair with a student because the function of the device needs to meet the goal of the task. It is not helpful to provide a student with a speech-to-text device in order to help them improve their time-management or lessen their anxiety of what comes next. Finally the tools factor is part of this framework because it is important to consider what tools the student already uses and the level of comfort they have with those tools. If a student is very confident in their ability to use a high-tech tool, they should easily adjust to the incorporation of another such tool. However, if the student struggles to use low-tech devices, it may not be the best idea to give them a complex high-tech device and expect them to use it accurately right away. Assistive technology is designed to help make a student’s life easier, not more complex.

The connection:

The connection AT helps individuals with ASD in a variety of ways including: Communication Skills Social Interactions Attention Motivation Organization Academics Independent Living Assistive technology has been defined by Autism Consultant Susan Stokes as any item or piece of equipment that can be used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capacity of individuals with disabilities. She also pointed out that children with autism often process visual information easier than any other type of information. This means that when looking for an AT device for these students it is often beneficial to use a device that appeals to their visual preference. AT can be beneficial to individuals with ASD in just about all aspects of their life from their educational life to their personal life. AT can assist individuals in understanding their environment, communicating, interacting with others, maintaining focus and attention, keeping them motivated, helping with organization, aiding in all aspects of their academics, self-help skills, and achieving independent living. AT also helps with behavior modification and positive behavior support. Many individual’s with ASD get very anxious over the concept of “what’s next” and this can lead to difficulty with behavior, AT can help alleviate these fears which in turn eliminates the behavior. AT can also help provide reminders of expectations and cues for what needs to be done as well as social cues. Though these may appear to be minor concepts, they can all impact and modify behavior.

V Sked:

Vsked is an interactive and collaborative form of assistive technology designed specifically for children with autism. This program combines the concepts of visual schedules, choice board, and a token-economy into one classroom system. This system is designed to help reduce the anxiety that is derived from unexpected events and the constant question of “What’s next?” One of the many benefits of this system is that is can be used not only for individual students, but also for group interactions. Research shows that Vsked has reduced the number of prompts given by education personnel, reduces transition times between activities by 61%, and promotes social awareness and community environments. One of the biggest differences between Vsked and a paper visual schedule is that is also provides educators with the ability to create tasks, input various forms of automated reinforcement, and provides real-time usage tracking. V Sked


Using timers with children who have autism serve a variety of purposes. The concept of time can be very abstract and difficult to understand for students who have autism. This contributes to the fear of “What’s next?” Implementing a timer with these children helps to create easier transitions by telling the children how much longer an activity will last or how much longer before another activity will begin. Timers also help to increase confidence and independence because children know how much time they have to complete a task or until they need to be ready for the next task. Children with Autism generally have a difficult time dealing with change. This includes when visitors or volunteers come to help in the classroom or when a new caregiver enters the picture. Timers elevate some of this stress because they provide a clear picture of when activities should start and end which creates a sense of calming and unison between the child, the current caregiver, and anyone who is new to the situation. Many timers used for children with autism generally include colors such as red, green, and yellow because it is easier for some children to understand that they have more time when the green light is on, there time is almost up when the yellow light is on, and that time is up when the red light comes on. Apps such as iPrompts provide visual countdowns paired with a pictures that represent activities on a visual schedule which counts down time until one activity ends and then until the next begins. This also aids in transition between activities because students have a timeframe to go by. timers

Smartphones :

Smartphones Smartphones are the more technological, modern day version of palmtop personal computers or PDAs. Smartphones can prove beneficial when working with children with autism because it appeals to their visual perspective of learning. Smartphones provide I digital interface in which children can learn or practice academic skills such as read and writing. Incorporating smartphones into the educational process of children with Autism has the added benefit of being able to install a variety of different apps, some of which were specifically designed for individuals with autism such as the iPrompts app discussed earlier. Reminders can also be set on smartphones and students are reminded of a task or are cued in on a behavior through the use of noises, flashing lights, or vibration. Also, smartphones encourage communication between people which helps children with autism work on their social interactions.


conclusion AT serves many purposes in the classroom other than just educational assistance. V Sked is a piece of AT that can be easily implemented in any classroom and can fulfill a variety of student needs. Timers serve a variety of purposes in the classroom and can help maintain order in a variety of situations. Smartphones provide a digital interface to help students with remembering and social cues.


reference Cramer, M., Hirano, S. H., Tentori , M., Yeganyan , M. T., & Hayes, G. R. (2011, May). Classroom-based assistive technology: collective use of interactive visual schedules by students with autism. In  CHI  (pp. 1-10). Mechling , L. (2007). Assistive Technology as a Self-Management Tool for Prompting Students with Intellectual Disabilities to Initiate and Complete Daily Tasks: A Literature Review.  Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities,   42 (3), 252-269. Retrieved from M. Chuah and M. Diblasio , "Smartphone Based Autism Social Alert System,"  Mobile Ad-hoc and Sensor Networks (MSN), 2012 Eighth International Conference on , Chengdu, 2012, pp. 6-13. doi : 10.1109/MSN.2012.41 Newton, D. A., Eren , R., Ben- Avie , M., & Reichow , B. (2013). Technology in Action.  View the entire TAM product line on your smartphone ,  28 (2), 53. Savill -Smith, C. (2005). The use of palmtop computers for learning: a review of the literature.  British Journal Of Educational Technology ,  36 (3), 567-568. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2005.00473.x Stokes, S. (2016). Assistive Technology for Children with Autism. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from Zahala , J. ( n.d. ). A Brief Introduction to the SETT Framework. Retrieved June 16, 2016, from

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