Original Articles

Are Touch screen technologies more effective than traditional educational methods in children with autism spectrum disorders? A pilot study.


Applied Computer technologies can address the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Data on the efficacy of assistive technology in ASD is limited, and its effectiveness in supporting and facilitating skill acquisition in this specific population must be still demonstrated. 63 Italian ASD subjects underwent learning activities administered by cardboards or a touch screen support. The support preference was evaluated in a choice trial, and quantitative analysis was performed on items regarding communication and challenging behaviours. Touch devices are attractive especially for males without intellectual disability and a lower communication and cooperation behaviours with the use of touch screen compared with paper support was shown depending on activities. Overall, our data do not confirm the hypothesis that touch screen presentation improves activity completion and behavioural performance for each individual with ASD. Data discourage an indiscriminate use of these devices and suggest analysing with more attention the core ingredients that should shape digital devices when used for people on ASD.



Autistic Spectrum Disorders; assistive; augmentative; technology; touch screen; structured education

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