Friday, February 3, 2012

Kids With ASD More Likely to Use Non-Social Media Tech

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The iPad is rapidly taking the world by storm!  Not only is it changing the way we operate and communicate, but many music therapists can  tell you how it is changing the way they practice music therapy.

There are many apps that provide access to songs and recordings so that music therapists can carry less stuff!  If you have ever seen a music therapist, then you know they can often look like a musical pack mule!

Other apps are very useful in therapy.  Apps for communication and on-screen music-making are easy to access and program for individual clients.  These apps are much more user-friendly than the old-school augmentative communication devices.  

Children with autism are one group of clients that really seem to enjoy using touch-screen devices.  I know many music therapists who are using iPads very successfully with their clients who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

While I think that the iPad can be very useful in a therapy setting, there is some new research that might give us pause in thinking about promoting the unsupervised use of iPad and iPad-like technology.

A group of researchers from Missouri found that individuals with ASD spent over 60% of their free time using non-social media such as videos and games rather than social media such as chatting or e-mail.  You can find the research abstract here.  

Have you seen this phenomenon in your work?  Either as a music therapist, parent, or teacher?  

Do you think this is something we need to be concerned about?  And what do you think we can do to encourage more social media use with those clients who have ASD?  

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