Technology and Autism Course - ITA
University of Southern California
Technology has become an integral part of everyday life for people of all ages in the United States and in many countries around the world. Increasingly, children grow up and develop in a world where technology mediates and organizes how they communicate, learn and play. For individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), their families and the professionals who work with them, the ubiquitous presence of technology offers a unique opportunity to marshal new resources for participation and engagement in everyday life. This course is a USC's contribution to the Innovative Technology for Autism Initiative launched by the Autism Speaks Foundation to promote development of new technologies for those living with autism and their families. This course builds upon similar courses offered at other top universities such as MIT, Georgia Tech and Northwestern. Innovative Technology for Autism is an interdisciplinary field that promotes creativity and innovation and integrates fields such as engineering, occupational science, neuroscience, psychology and anthropology. The course is designed to be of interest to doctoral students in Electrical Engineering, and in Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. The goal of the course is to provide students with understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders as a foundation for future research, development of technologies for ASD and their use in clinical practice. Bringing together doctoral students in Electrical Engineering and OS/OT will provide the experience of interdisciplinary collaboration between these two audiences. The course will be taught in a seminar format and will combine discussion and critical analysis of assigned readings, guest lectures, practical experience and grant writing.