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Art By: George Ortiz

Technology Tips for Individuals with Cognitive Disabilities

Posted on : 03/01/2018

Technology is changing the way we live our lives, and many do not realize the positive effects it can have on individuals with cognitive disabilities, including autism. Many electronic devices and apps can help improve communication, assist in the development of social skills and enhance the ability to learn. Every person is different and the technology that best serves them should be based on their individual needs.

When dealing with technology and people with cognitive disabilities, like those on the autism spectrum, here are some helpful tips and ideas:

  • Let them know that they can always come to you with questions about confusing things they may experience online. An open communication line is the best protection against online dangers. Go over what is “private” and “public”, helping them understand what they can safely share on social media platforms.
  • Some young people can become so focused on their interaction with a tablet or computer that they forget the outside world. There are many apps, such as OurPact, that can manage screen time and help reduce this obsessive behavior.
  • Wandering is something that people on the autistic spectrum are more prone to than other people with cognitive disabilities, and The Arc Westchester has created a page of safety links that can help a family avoid the dangers associated with this problem.
  • Apps can be useful for learning and social development, and there are numerous apps available that can assist an individual based on their specific needs. For example, several apps have been developed to help with anxiety, such as Calm Counter from TouchAutism. In addition, SoarTherapy offers an app called StepByStep, which helps children practice the vital skill of sequencing, knowing the order of the steps needed to accomplish something.
  • It’s important that everyone is acknowledged for their uniqueness and what they bring to this world! Book Creator allows a person to simply tell their stories through pictures, drawings and text, with the individual’s stories automatically read to their audience.
  • The Arc Westchester maintains a technology page that offers a wide range of information on how everyday technology can be of benefit to people with cognitive disabilities. Check it out at


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