By being more conscious of the needs of autistic children when designing and developing digital experiences, we can make sure that we provide autistic children with the support they need to successfully navigate the Web and other online platforms. The development of special communication tools for autistic children requires that technology companies have both a greater sense of social entrepreneurship and a more deliberate UX model. Such tools can pave the way for autistic children to have more comfortable interactions with the digital world.
In a world that is becoming increasingly digital, how can we ensure that technology empowers children with autism rather than confuses them?
User-Centered Tools Are Vital
During the pandemic, the forced closure of schools, playgrounds, and social clubs has had a significant impact on all families. But, because many children with autism require structure and familiarity, these closures have been particularly challenging for them.
Creating digital experiences that address the preferences of autistic children is vital to instilling a sense of comfort in them. Media that are heavy on visuals and graphics typically get a more positive response from children with autism than having to read a long series of words. Interactive tablets or whiteboards, for example, can be great user-centered tools for these children, who can learn or play by using videos and interactive games.
Children with autism can further overcome social-interaction obstacles through the help of digital-communication tools. Speech-generating devices and keyboards, as well as push-to-communicate buttons need to find their way into more of the online educational tools that schools and parents use.
Because estimates tell us that up to 30 percent of the children with autism cannot communicate verbally, it is also imperative that they have more digital solutions that focus specifically on improving their communications. Text-to-speech software is another tool that can help children with autism become more comfortable verbally, as well as their not needing to rely on reading traditional blocks of text for learning.
Currently, our online world often lacks the external support that children with autism need to succeed. In the context of remote learning, learning institutions tend to opt for traditional, one-size-fits-all methods, which could make students who are struggling to keep up more susceptible to procrastination and feelings of frustration.
The needs of children with autism are unique, and technology solutions should pay close attention to their needs and incorporate solutions for them at every step along the way. For example, we know that children who have autism often welcome online interactions because they may feel more comfortable when communicating through messaging platforms. Nevertheless, providing additional safeguards is still a necessity on these platforms.