| The use of computer technology with autistic individuals ought to be based on the
person and not on any available technology for handicapped persons.
The computer-aided technology may be useful in:
Assessment of learning skills,
Computer-aided teaching, and
Assistance in communication.
To return to the more immediate implementation of computer-aided solutions, especially within the
field of computer-aided teaching, one will have to look and see which existing programs are most
suited to the person’s learning abilities, and not forget to examine non-specialized programs, whether this concerns educational programs or games. Some games, for instance, can provide an opportunity for learning social skills: learning to play in turns for example, or computer simulation in a known environment can help the person learn basic rules, frequently impossible in a real situation.
The choice of activities and exercises, adapted to the level of acquisition and emerging abilities, will
depend on the assessment. It is these exercises that will have to be integrated into a computer
program. A great many exercises, which are well adapted to the specificity of the autist’s learning
difficulties, already exist.
Programs such as word processing programs or digital painting programs are another source of assistance. Many autistic people frequently have difficulty executing a task such as writing or drawing. This does not involve a lack of artistic ability but rather difficulties linked to disorders accompanying their handicap, motor problems, precise coordination, etc.
For autistic people, who do manage to learn to read and write, communication using a computer
keyboard, either displayed on a computer screen or printed up, could be easier than verbal
communication or reception, especially due to the marked preference shown by a high number of autistic people for visual stimuli but also because of the permanence of visual stimuli compared with
the transitory nature of auditory stimuli.
Computer technology accepts a certain degree of error. Word processing programs correct spelling mistakes, and computer-aided graphics programs allow you to go back over the drawing if it is not
quite right. This type of program can be used to help a person tell a story, either with the use of
text or with the help of drawings, or even both at once. This can be done individually or collectively. Some musical multimedia programs can be helpful too.
As far as teaching to promote socialization and basic rules are concerned, fairly good educational programs are now available.