Information on Autism therapies for Autism and Aspergers syndreome - common Autism Spectrum Disorders


Studies have suggested that computer use can help to calm children on the autism spectrum, while stimulating their ability to communicate. Autistic children may prefer interaction with a computer interface because they can actively control it, and therefore communication through this medium may be less threatening than face-to-face conversation.


Focused attention in Autism and Asperger's syndrome

Monotropism, or very focused attention with a limited scope, can be a feature in Autism and Asperger's syndrome. It has been suggested that this attentional difficulty can be alleviated by the use of computers because the medium helps the user to combine different focuses of attention successfully, therefore helping the user in other areas. Currently, there is little evidence that the benefits of computer use do extend to other media though.


Individuals on the autism spectrum often have a kind of tunnel vision, where attention is tunneled, objects are isolated and deprived of context (people with Autism have monotropic interest systems). Tunneled interest systems make for an alarming world, fragmented, disconnected. A computer is unthreatening and controllable. It provides a comfortable environment which facilitates therapeutic transactions in which communication, sociability and imaginative play spontaneously occur.


Potential benefits of computers as an Autism intervention therapy

Computers can be an ideal environment for promoting communication, sociability, creativity, and playfulness for individuals even at the extreme of the autism spectrum. The potential for computers in Autism is not just educational but therapeutic. Computers afford an easy way of joining attention tunnels with minimal mutual discomfort, so circumventing some of the most disabling features of Autism and Asperger's. Intensely focused interests may bring dividends lost to children who typically model their world within broad contexts, bearing many interests simultaneously in mind.


Self-respect and mutual respect may emerge, and even thrive outside the computer sessions. Computers offer scope for play, exploration and creativity in a safe environment which need make no verbal demands. Most of the time, most of us have multiply divided attention. We generally have many interests simultaneously aroused and ready to digest information (we have polytropic interest systems).


Computers may also provide benefits in issues with:
• Learning/memory
• Visual tracking/scanning
• Planning/organisation
• Eye-hand coordination
• Problem-solving
• Spatial analysis/synthesis.


Obsessive use of computers by autistic children

Although computers can be an effective intervention tool for Autism or Asperger's syndrome, a child can become obsessed with computers. Time limits may need to be set on how many hours it can be used each day, and for what activities.


As a child becomes older and uses the Internet, guidelines will need to be set about appropriate material to be viewed, the correct use of chat rooms, protection of privacy and guarding against Internet scams and viruses.


Click here to shut this Autism information fact sheet on using computers as an intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders

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This autism fact sheet is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation. It is derivative of an Autism and Asperger's syndrome-related articles at

Computers can be a useful intervention for some autistic children