How Enabling Technology Can Empower Adults with Autism

Graphic shows a person throwing a plastic puzzle game towards the viewer. Graphic says “Enabling Technology + the Autism Spectrum”

In some ways, for the adult with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) who wants to be independent, the world has never looked brighter.

In the work world, many companies, including Microsoft, SAP, and JP Morgan Chase have updated or altered their hiring practices because they have begun to recognize that people with autism frequently contribute excellent skills to the workplace.

Many new television shows and movies feature autism: the BBC’s 'The A-word', ABC’s The Good Doctor, Netflix’s Atypical, Sesame Street’s new character Julia, and in the 2017 film Power Rangers, the Blue Power Ranger.

While the work world is slowly opening up to some autistic individuals, and mainstream American culture may finally be paying more attention to neurodiversity, for many people with autism, the challenges of attaining independence are closer to home.

Today we are exploring how adults with autism can use SimplyHome technology to enable them to live on their own in the community while meeting the challenges of everyday life.

To Cue Independence and Daily Routines:

Routines can help to reduce anxiety, provide opportunities for skill development, and promote independence. Customized verbal prompts can cute the same activity at the same time each day; inform people about coming transitions, such as “Brenda will arrive in 10 minutes,” or provide reminders of daily routines: “It is time to wash your face and brush your teeth” or “Don’t forget your keys and purse.”

Evening and morning routines can also be customized to prompt individuals to complete the same tasks or routines each day (or night) at the same time.

To Counteract Risks:

Verbal prompts can also be triggered by the opening of a door or window, in the case of individuals who are prone to wandering or elopement.

If a stove is left on too long, or if a door is left open when it should be closed, a verbal prompt can remind the individual to turn off the stove, finish cooking, or close the door.

To Provide Positive Reinforcement:

Motion and pressure sensors can also notice when individuals are carrying on their daily routine as prompted, and issue positive reinforcement, such as “Great job on starting your laundry this morning” or “Good job on going to bed before 9pm. You can get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed.”

To Provide Non-verbal Avenues of Communication:

Because an autistic person may be able to recognize something is wrong, but not be able to communicate verbally, it is vital for a person living alone (or without constant supervision) to be able to get assistance when it is needed. A panic pendant can be unobtrusively worn on the wrist to create communication options for people who are limited in using the phone or summoning assistance from a neighbor.

Learn More About Cuing Independence for Adults with Autism