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Smartphone Technology and ASD

With the smartphone revolution, technology and the world of ASD have gone far beyond traditional assistive devices and programs. While keyboarding skills, adaptive programs, and traditional augmentative communication systems are powerful and useful tools for those with ASD, smartphones offer an entirely different level of sophistication, and let's face it, and entirely new level of 'cool' for users. No longer forced to use large, heavy Voice Output Communication Aides, or VOCAs, individuals with ASD can use the same technology to communicate and interact as their friends and neighbors use to make phone calls, surf the web, and send text messages. The revolution in smartphone and app technology has made Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems available to a much larger market of individuals. At $400 or less for an iPhone and $200 or less for a special communication app, more individuals are able to access a 'voice' that would normally cost anywhere from $1,500 to $8,000 in a traditional VOCA system.

As smartphone technology continues to improve and advance, more individuals with ASD will have access to technology than ever before, and that includes students and workers with ASD. Yet smartphones can assist individuals with ASD beyond just communication. App technology can assist individuals with ASD with organization, academic skills, job skills, social skills, behavior management, self-regulation, and more. App technology has begun to embrace a wider world by assisting individuals with ASD as they go through school, enter the workforce, and engage in more complex and sophisticated relationships. App technology changes on a near daily basis and it is difficult to keep up with the constantly evolving field of smartphone technology and ASD. However, VCU-ACE and Tony Gentry, Ph.D., OTR/L have created several briefs, factsheets, videos, and webcasts that will help you stay as up-to-date as possible on the uses and benefits of smartphone technology and ASD, as well as, provide you with some strategies for using smartphones to improve the lives of individuals with ASD.


Fast Facts

Videos - Video Demonstrations of Technology

Archived Webcasts

Assistive Technology for Cognition on Facebook
Assistive Technology (AT) can be used to manage cognitive-behavioral challenges experienced by people with autism. It can be easily customized to support activity cueing, task-sequencing, wayfinding, communication assistance and behavioral coaching, among other uses. Join Dr. Gentry on Facebook to learn about, discuss and share AT tools that are effective with individuals with ASD.

For more information about content from this page, please contact:

Tony GentryTony Gentry, PhD OTR/L
Assistant Professor
Director, Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory
Department of Occupational Therapy
Virginia Commonwealth University
(804) 828-3397


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