New Autism Study

A NEW AUTISM STUDY … finds that using tablet devices during therapy can help children dealing with autism make greater strides in communicaton (John Flavell/Lexington Herald.Leader/MCT). In a study of 61 kids with autism ages 5 to 8, researchers found that those given access to a tablet with a speech.generating app during therapy were able to make “significant and rapid gains” in their use of language, far exceeding the progress of children who participated in treatement sessions alone. All of the children in the study were minimially verbal and participated in two to three hours of therapy each week for six months that focused on improving language, play skills and social gesturing like pointing. In addition to the therapy, half of the kids were given a tablet with a speech.generating app to use during the sessions. The app was programmed with pictures of objects being used in the therapy which allowed the child to touch an image and hear audio of an object’s name. Ultimately, children who used the tablets were more likely to begin using language on their own, according to findings published recently in the Journal of American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Children appeared to retain their new skills when they came for a follow.up three months after the study period ended, researchers said. Incorporating the tablets was most effective when used from the start of the treatment, the study found.