This has been a great couple of months as two studies – not huge, but important to me – have recently yielded really super results. And I don’t mean results in the usual sense (for scientists) – significant differences between groups, correlational relationships… I mean results as in, outputs that people can actually use (or so we hope).
The first study, described more fully on this page, was an attempt to gather information from parents of autistic children on the technology use of their child with autism. We asked people to tell us what technologies they owned, how often they were used and what for. Other questions focused on the attitudes of the parents – did they think their children were getting a benefit from their technology use, or were they worried about it? I also held a handful of interviews with parents which provided incredibly valuable context for the survey data. As a result, we’ve been able to create a set of guidelines for parents based on what we know from the literature and what parents in our study told us/ You can download a complete pdf copy at this link, or you can see the abbreviated version published by the National Autistic Society here. I’ve also been tweeting daily this month with short tips derived from my experiences doing the study and from feedback from audiences – search for #asdtech. I’ve been talking about our data all over the place lately it seems. In fact, just this week I was speaking at the NAS Communication Conference in Reading on a specific sub-topic in this area – using iPads and other technologies to support communication. My slides will get posted up on this page asap, so check back in a week or two if you’re interested and couldn’t be at the conference in person.
The second study was a related topic – we worked with a school and residential centre in Glasgow called East Park. Again you can read more details of the project on this page. The focus was on evaluating the factors contributing to success in the introduction of iPads to support individual pupils in the school. As well as getting a first class mark in her dissertation, the student who ran this study, Sinead O’Brien, has now drafted a report which you can download from this page. We’d highly recommend taking a look, especially if you’re working in a school or service and considering introducing iPads or any other new technology.
In light of these exciting new outputs, and as December approaches I’m looking back over the year and seeing how much new content I have to add to this site – keep an eye out as I hope to post up new app reviews, presentation slides, and other information before Christmas.
For a storify of recent tweets about autism and technology click this link.