2001 Conference Proceedings

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ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS & STRATEGIES FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER

Paula Walser
PO Box 2568
Oshkosh, WI 54903

Susan Stokes
PO box 2568
Oshkosh, WI 54903
sstokes@cesa6.k12.wi.us

Working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorder is an exciting but sometimes challenging venture. Finding appropriate tools to help school district teams develop and implement strategies incorporating all aspects of the student’s educational life can be a formidable task. The Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative has developed a tool to assist districts personnel with this task: the Assistive Technology Tools and Strategies Assessment Kit for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The kit includes: the manual for Assistive Technology Tools and Strategies Assessment Kit for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2 Five Hungry Mice Storybooks (one color and one black and white), Communication Boards for Five Hungry Mice, activity boards, overlays for talking picture frame, activity termination signals, wait symbols, I need help signal, calming down board, social story for waiting in line, a visual timer, a set of True Object Based Icons (T.O.B.I.s), cloud ball, visual schedule, reusable alert symbols, dry erase board, Time Frame Talking Picture Frame and a clear acrylic easel.

The manual contains a set of three sequential guides which lead you through a process of information gathering and decision making related to the selection and use of assistive technology tools and strategies.

1. The Student Information Guide for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a tool used to gather information about the student with ASD. The information is directly related to choosing the assistive technology that might prove useful. It is completed based on past experience, file review, interview, and/or direct assessment of the child.

2. The Environmental Observation Guide for Students with ASD is used while observing, together information from the various environments in which the child is expected to function. It asks the observer to look for information about Auditory and Visual Stimulation, Boundaries, Staff Placement and Responsibility, Schedules, Access to Communication and Environmental Consistency.

3. AT Planning Guide for Students with ASD is a team decision making guide developed using the SETT Framework (Zabala, 1994). It leads the team through the process of making a decision about assistive technology and strategies based on the information gathered with the Student Information Guide and the Environment Observation Guide. It incorporates specific information about Sensory, Communication, Academic, Motor, Behavior, Social Interaction, and Transition, which are critical for students with ASD. Teams are provided with leading questions within each of these categories to help gather accurate and comprehensive information about the target student.

The Assistive Technology Tools and Strategies Resource Guide for Students with ASD describes a variety of assistive technology tools and strategies that may be useful to students with ASD. It provides resources and tools consisting of no tech, low tech, mid tech and high tech tools and strategies within the areas of sensory input, receptive communication, expressive communication, academics, motor, behavior, social interaction, and transitions. A thorough listing of references and resources is also included. All of the tools and strategies presented can be used to increase the student’s overall understanding of his/her own environment; increase attention and motivation, improve organizational skills, social skills, and self help skills; allow the student to focus on the content of academic materials and tasks; and most importantly increase independent functioning in all aspects of the student’s life, which typically results in an overall decrease in the occurrence of challenging behaviors.


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