April is national Autism Awareness Month
Autism & Technology: 6 Ways Technology Can Help Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
By Stephanie Thomas
“If they can’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.” – Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas
Did you know that about 1% of the world population has ASD?
Growing up in a large extended family (in a very small town), I was often the babysitter of choice for one of my younger cousins who, at the age of 3, had a reputation for being exceptionally difficult to watch. It wasn’t that my cousin was a bad kid; his mind was extremely active and he was easily bored (and very smart!) and had difficulty communicating to other people. Lucky for me, my cousin and I had a rare connection and I was able to be there for him on his journey through ASD diagnosis – a disability that was not well known in the 1990s.
Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. More than 3.5 million Americans live with an ASD. Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4% from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability!!
ASD as broadly defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is a “developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioural challenges”. Caregivers and families who provide for children with ASD (or any disability) can often face endless challenges when it comes to diagnoses, medical care, behavioral therapy, assistive and educational challenges, as well as financial burden, especially if their child is one of the 20-30% of children born with ASD that are unable to communicate their needs, aka “non-verbal”.
At Capgemini we have created a team of people who have loved ones with differently abled such as Autism, and have formed a group called AbiliNet. Our mission is to provide people with resources, knowledge and HOPE, you are not alone!!
In an effort to raise awareness for our employees, AbiliNet has invited STACY LEYK, M.A., CCC-SLP to speak to Capgemini employees about ASD. April is the national month for Autism.
In my needing to understand this condition, here are a few websites that have helped me.
Stacy Leyk, MA: https://www.speechandlearning.com/stacy-leyk-ma-cccslp/
Autism Apps: Personally, one of my favorites
Autism Navigator: a family resource guide
Assistive Technology: current technology
The Mighty: https://themighty.com/autism-spectrum-disorder/
For more information on agencies that can help provide resources, Autism Parenting Magazine published a great guide on autism resources for parents, teachers and caregivers.