Friday, October 15, 2010

iSupports for Children with Autism---Rules for the Computer

As I post a series of blog posts on ways to use the i-Phone, the i-Pod Touch, and the i-Pad with children, I worry that I am going end up promoting too much screen time for children who are already vulnerable to spending too much time on the computer.  In an effort to guard against this, I will direct your attention to an article that I wrote a few years ago on the topic of setting rules for computer use.  These rules apply to the new ity bity computers too so I encourage parents to take a little time and think through how they are going to manage a new even more addictive computer in the home.  Here at the clinic, we have a helpful rule that parents of young children should consider--The grown-up holds/manages the computer.  Some children are unwilling to accept this rule initially and we calmly put the iPad away if this is hard for the child. So far, all children had come to accept this limitation quickly.

Rules for the Computer

1. Choose when your child will use the computer intentionally and, just like television, sparingly. The computer has the potential to be wonderfully educational and the potential to be terribly harmful to your child’s social development.  Here is a software program that you can install that can help you set limits and eliminate the arguments: Software Time
2. Use the computer as a social motivator rather than a break from social interaction. This means finding ways to interact with your child or help your child interact with others while using the computer and insisting that the computer be used as a social tool....Read More

i-Supports for Children with Autism Blog Series

1  Basic Concepts...a post that describes the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad and how apps are used on these devices.
2  Grocery Shopping...a video clip demonstrating how the iPhone or iPod Touch to support social engagement and language learning while grocery shopping.
3.  Rules for the Computer...a post on setting limits on computer time.


Paulene Angela said...

Hi Tahirih, Great Post.

I've been watching less and less TV, probably because there seems to be more and more rubbish however I have now taken a liking to the radio, it's so stimulating, gets my imagination working.

I realise Autistic children love pictures, hence TV, computer, ipads etc. but I'd be interested to know your thoughts on promoting the audition sense more.
Thanks Paulene

Tahirih said...

I talked to one of my colleagues about this question today. We decided that we use visual supports to get communication started and in order to help children stay in a social interaction. Many of the games we play in therapy, however, require that the child actually listen carefully and comprehend what is said. I think it is a good question and thinking about it makes me want to be more systematic about adding novel verbal information to therapy activities.