Assistive Technology for Autistic Seniors

By May 1, 2014Aging in Place

Older autistic adults often experience speech difficulties. In severe cases, the simple act of speaking can cause physical pain and exhaustion. Several devices on the market serve as language substitutes, but experts often warn against relying on these devices. Just a few short years ago, assistive technologies were unheard of, especially for treating autism. Fortunately, times have changed.

Assistive Technology Details
If you think of computers and laser beams when you hear the term “assistive technology,” you’re not alone. While computers and other electronic components certainly play a role, assistive technology is also comprised of products that maintain or increase an autistic adult’s overall function.

Relying on the Visual
For seniors diagnosed with autism, learning and communicating can be best carried out by using visual cues. That’s because, when compared to auditory input, visual information is processed much easier among autistic adults. In an effort to boost functions, a large number of assistive products seek to make up for impairments by focusing solely on visual processing capability.

Examples of Assisted Technology for Autistic Seniors
Senior caregivers don’t have to shell out thousands of dollars for pieces of assistive technology. In fact, many devices are both low cost and easy to use. Let’s take a look at a few devices used for treating autism.

  • Dry Erase Boards: When autistic seniors experience speech difficulties, it’s essential for caregivers to come up with alternate forms of communication. One smart idea is to purchase a standard dry erase board and a selection of colored markers. Using the board, try to develop a routine or calendar, writing down daily, weekly, and monthly activities.
  • Photos, Symbols, and Objects: For those autistic seniors who experience difficulties writing, props can serve as a form of communication. Caregivers should consider using visually appealing pictures or meaningful objects with autistic seniors. What’s more, these assistive technologies can be shown in a specific order, making it possible for autistic seniors to recall the steps needed to complete a task or perform activities of daily living.
  • Old Fashioned Recorder: Though tape recorders were rendered almost obsolete in the technology world, they can still offer a great service to autistic seniors. As assistive technology, caregivers might use a tape recorder to play verbal instructions, reminding seniors of each task that needs completion or even explaining inappropriate behaviors to avoid.

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