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Computers and Autism – A Blessing or a Curse?


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Autism Research, a UK charity dedicated to research into interventions in autism, has published on its website the presentations from a recent conference with the theme “Computers and Autism – A Blessing or a Curse”.

Held on 24 November, this conference was the scene of several presentations on the role of the Internet and Facebook as a means of communication for people with ASD. Another very interesting presentation was “Does hand held technology improve independence? Helping young people with Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism navigate life’s highways. The ‘HANDS ‘project. An evaluation of multi site EU research collaboration”, where some results of the HANDS (Helping Autism-Diagnosed Navigate and Develop Socially teenagers) project were revealed.

Autism Research also publishes a newsletter with the latest research on autism and includes many other resources of interest.

-Francesc Sistach

 


Online postgraduate studies on autism in UK (updated April 2013)

One of the latest ideas that has occurred to me is to study an online university postgraduate on autism in the UK. I want to get a stronger basis on autism in general, I prefer university education and contacts, and I need an online course. Why UK and not USA is fundamentally a matter of money: as a citizen of the European Union, the European university fees are “relatively” low. Also, any trip to attend a workshop is shorter and more affordable for me.

Well, I do not know if I’ll finally follow the course, but what if I’ve done so far is a list of courses that meet those requirements, so I put them here in case they are useful for anyone. I have more data, because I’ve spoken with all the respective universities, and I am willing to share it if anyone asks me. And I would love to contact anyone who has attended these courses or have more information about them. Also, I plan to compile a similar lists but focused on USA university programs.

There are studies that clearly are centered on autism. Others are focused on “intellectual disabilities” and there is even an MSc in Applied Psychology. All are online, although some include workshops which can be more or less long (and voluntary).

For those interested in classroom courses (not just online, but also in UK), there is a good list at Postgrad.com.

.

University
Course
Grade/(years)
Fees in £ (for EU students)
Notes
Queen's University BelfastAutistic Spectrum DisordersCA (1 module)
PGCert (1)
PGDip (1 or 2)
MSc (1 to 3)
1,307-3,920 per yearFull time (1 year) and part time (3 years). MSc can be done in 1 to 5 years. Only the 'Behaviour analysis in theory' module is online.
University of Birmingham / ACER (Autism Centre for Education and Research)Autism (Adults)AdCer (1)
PGCert (1-3)
BPhil (2-3)
PGDip (2-4)
Med (3-6)
2,660-2,900 per year2 study weekends (Friday to Sunday) the first year; regional or online tutors
University of Birmingham / ACERAutism (Children)AdCer (0.5-1)
PGCert (1)
BPhil (1-3)
PGDip (1-4)
Med (1-6)
1,710-5,130 per year2 study weekends (Friday to Sunday) the first year; regional or online tutors; also full time
University of Birmingham / ACERAutism Spectrum Disorders (Webautism)Ucert (1)
CertHE (2)
1,300 per yearIt seems the more focused on parents
University of Kent / Tizard CentreAutism StudiesPCert (1)
PdDip (2)
MA (3)
770 - 4,950 per year2 workshop weeks during the year; part time option (each course in 2 years)
University of Kent / Tizard CentreIntellectual and Developmental DisabilitiesPdip (2)
MsC (3)
770 - 4,950 per yearSame conditions
University of LiverpoolApplied PsychologyMSc (2-3)10,558 (UK), €15,708 (EU)Not focused only on autism
University of PortsmouthApplied Psychology of Intellectual DisabilitiesMSc (2-3)3,000 per yearNot focused only on autism
University of Strathclyde / National Centre for Autism StudiesAutismPgCert (1,3)
PdDip (2)
MSc (2+)
850 - 1,700 per yearInduction weekend; weekly evening online tutorials (or regional presential tutorials)

.

-Francesc Sistach

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Links to academic papers

Is it really so adequate to use devices like the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch for people with autism? Which is the best way to use them? What results can be obtained?

There are already some academic papers on this topics, so I’ve compiled a list of them. Usually, you have to pay for this type of content, which employs a highly technical and academic language. Thus, there are not typical reading except for those who want to study these issues in a professional manner.

  • [CFA09] D. Cihak, C. Fahrenkrog, K. M. Ayres, C. Smith, The Use of Video Modeling via a Video iPod and a System of Least Prompts to Improve Transitional Behaviors for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the General Education Classroom, Journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions, April 2010, vol. 12, no. 2, 103-115.
  • It describes the use of videos on an iPod for helping to improve behaviours, http://pbi.sagepub.com/content/early/2009/02/19/1098300709332346

  • [FRN09] Á. Fernández, M.J. Rodríguez, M. Noguera, Designing and Supporting Cooperative and Ubiquitous Learning Systems for People with Special Needs, OTM 2009 Workshops, LNCS 5872, PP. 423-432, 2009.
  • Describes the design, development and application functionality of Picaa. http://www.springerlink.com/content/a281726u3q422m80

  • [HWA10] D.L. Hammond, A.D. Whatley, K.M. Ayres, D.L. Gast, Effectiveness of video modeling to teach iPod use to students with moderate intellectual disabilities, Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Vol 45(4), Dec, 2010. pp. 525-538.
  • Explains the use of video modeling to teach how to use the iPod. It can be downloaded at this link.

  • [Kag10] D. M. Kagohara, Three Students with Developmental Disabilities Learn to Operate an iPod to Access Age-Appropriate Entertainment Videos, Journal of Behavioral Education, Vol. 20, No. 1, pp. 33–43, 2011.
  • Describes the use of the iPod as a means of entertainment for viewing videos, http://www.springerlink.com/content/v366845577213224

  • [KMA10] D. M. Kagohara, L. van der Meer, D. Achmadi, V. A. Green, M. F. O’Reilly, A. Mulloy, G. E. Lancioni, R. Lang, and J. Sigafoos, Behavioral Intervention Promotes Successful Use of an iPod-Based Communication Device by an Adolescent With Autism, Clinical Case Studies, October 1, 2010; 9(5): 328 – 338.
  • It describes the use of an iPod on a 17-years old adolescent, http://ccs.sagepub.com/content/9/5/328.abstract

  • [SeB09] S. Sennott and A. Bowker, Autism, AAC, and Proloquo2Go, Perspectives on Augmentative and Alternative Communication, December 1, 2009; 18(4): 137 – 145.
  • It is free to download at http://div12perspectives.asha.org, and it is a review of Proloquo2Go, a very well known application.

  • [VJV09] T. Van Laarhoven, J.W. Johnson, T. Van Laarhoven, K.L. Grider, K.M. Grider, The Effectiveness of Using a Video iPod as a Prompting Device in Employment Settings, Journal of Behavioral Education, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 119–141, 2009.
  • Explains the use of videos on an iPod to show a worker with special needs its tasks and how to perform them, http://www.springerlink.com/content/61n8472k8253033q

-Francesc Sistach

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Leisure and learning apps

The list of applications of iAutism includes many specific applications for people with autism. But are there more useful applications for them? Yes, of course. There are already some 300,000 applications for the iPhone / iPod and another 60,000 for the iPad. Among them, especially in the areas of learning and games, there are also tens of thousands of applications. We face a daunting task of selecting those that are more appropriate, but lists here can be endless and diverse.

We have already analyzed some of these apps in the Leisure/Learning Apps section of iAutism, but at the Links post you can find other lists of applications available in Internet. The longest lists usually include apps for entertainment, multimedia books, writing, language learning, mathematics, music, singing, drawing, educational games, etc.

If you are interested in this subject (and you should be interested), I recommend specially these three lists:

-       Eric Sailers

-       Jeremy Brown

-       iPodsibilities

and I also recommend taking a look from time to time at least to these two blogs:

-       Babies with iPads, devoted to the use of iPads for children with various disabilities

-       moms with apps, which talks about apps for children in general

In the sidebar of this blog, in the box titled as “blogroll” you will find other blogs on the subject of iPad/iPhone/iPod apps for people with special needs.

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