Autism & Technology Lectures
University of Toronto
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is believed to affect 1 in 150 people. Despite the impact that this disorder has on our society, functional treatment and early diagnosis of autism remains a challenge and tools and innovative products are needed that can help the many domains e.g., cognitive, physical and social that are affected in autism. In this course, students will not only learn the relevant background theories regarding diagnosis and treatment but also will tie these theories to the efficacy and relative importance of a host of technologies currently in use in autism research and practice. Students will be provided with opportunities to meet important researchers and practitioners who use technologies to improve the lives of people with autism both around the Toronto area and elsewhere. Additionally, students will work in inter-disciplinary teams to develop a prototype that solves an autism-related need, either for an individual with autism or those who are part of an assistance or education network (parents, teachers, therapists, and aides). Although the course has an emphasis on technology, there will be a distinct human-centered approach to understanding the opportunities and implications of technological assistance to meet this community's needs. The course will be taught in a seminar format and will combine discussion and critical analysis of assigned readings, guest lectures, as well as practical experience. Students from a variety of different disciplines, including psychology, occupational and speech therapy, as well as computer scientists, designers and engineers will be encouraged to work together and develop productive ideas in relation to the literature in this cross-disciplinary and innovative area of study.