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Technology Central

*NEW! Assistive Technology for Communication Roadmap

Assistive technology can be used to support and enhance communication for people with autism, regardless of speech ability. Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) is a specific type of assistive technology that can benefit people with autism of all ages by promoting independence, expanding communication, and increasing social interactions. Download our Assistive Technology for Communication Roadmap and follow the steps to learn how to get started

We have heard a great deal of stories from families about the many benefits that individuals with autism have experienced through the use of technology.

Technology Central is designed to provide the autism community with the latest information, tools, and resources so that everyone can benefit from the great strides being made in the world of technology!

Technology and Autism Webinar Series
Apps Database
Autism Speaks Tech Initiatives
Frequently Asked Questions
News and Resources

New! After Autism Speaks awarded 800 iPads to financially disadvantaged individuals with autism and their teachers, we had experts put together tips on how to maximize the use of the iPad.

Click here for some tips from Autism Speaks Assistant Director of Dissemination Science Lauren Elder on Maximizing the Effectiveness of the iPad for People with Autism!

Click here to read iPads Can Help Children Learn Spoken Language, a post from researchers that includes answers to frequently asked questions and tips from the experts!

Technology and Autism Webinar Series

Autism Speaks will periodically host webinars focused on a technology topic presented by experts and will be targeted toward a family-friendly audience. Each webinar will allow time for question and answer sessions. Webinars will be recorded and available for later viewing.

Would you like to host a webinar on a technology topic? Email us at We'd love to hear from you!

The series is free and open to all! Stay tuned to hear about our next Technology Central webinar. Here is a list of our 3 previous webinars:

Previous Webinars

How to Use Technology to Enhance Learning for People with ASD
Mark Mautone, Special Education Teacher

Mark Mautone's webinar covered the ways technology is being used to improve the life of people with autism spectrum disorder.

Mark has extensive knowledge in assistive technology that includes adapting curriculum, creating individualized technological curriculum using iWorks and iLife, and effectively harnessing standard curriculum with iPad/iPod Touch applications to create a seamless learning experience.

Didn't get a chance to see it? You can watch Mark's Webinar here!

Click here to see the webinar overview.

Click here to see the webinar slides.

Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC), Evaluation and Treatment 
Kate Grandbois, MS, CCC-SLP

Kate Grandbois, MS, CCC-SLP's webinar was designed for families to learn about the different technologies that can help people with autism and how to request a Technology Assessment.

Kate is a certified and licensed speech and language pathologist who serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. Kate specializes in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), autism and related neurological disorders, speech and language disorders, and social skills development.

Didn't get a chance to see it? You can watch Kate's Webinar here!

Click here to see the webinar slides.

Click here to see a list of key words for AAC Evaluations.

From Pictures to Technology: Creating an Environment for Language Learning, Communication, and Independence 
Jennifer Leighton, M.A., CCC-SLP

Jennifer Leighton, M.A., CCC-SLP hosted a webinar to teach how to create an environment for language learning, communication, and independence.

Jennifer joined the Cotting Consulting team at the Cotting School, in Lexington, Massachusetts, in May 2012. As part of this program Jennifer goes out to schools to teach strategies and best practices for technology integration and implementation, increasing staff comfort with higher-tech options. She provides staff education and therapeutic interventions.

Didn't get a chance to see it? Click here to see the webinar slides!

Autism Apps

We have compiled a database of hundreds of apps that have been recommended to us by families, individuals, and professionals in our community. The database contains information about platform, price, function, and a brief description of each app.

Click here to search our online Apps database!

Do you have a favorite autism app you'd like to add to this list? Please email a brief description of the App , platform, cost, age group, price and a link to and we would be happy to share your recommendation with the Autism Speaks community!

Apps for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Click here to see a wheel-shaped list developed to provide apps based on common learning characteristics and traits that are typical for students with ASD.

Quick Feature Matching Checklist for iPad Apps 
In an effort to help select or rule-out a particular app a Feature Matching Checklist has been designed with the user in mind. It is quick, easy and includes the features that are important to children & students on the spectrum. By using the Feature Matching Checklist you can effectually wade through your choices to find the most suitable apps.

Autism Speaks Tech Initiatives

Hacking Autism
This is a site is a perfect place to develop ideas, solve problems and to hack autism! Hacking Autism doesn't seek to cure autism, but rather it aims to facilitate and accelerate technology-based ideas to help give those with autism a voice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: We have a daughter with autism. She loves her computer and is very proficient at Web surfing and working with her camera and her photos. Unfortunately, she becomes so focused that she forgets her bedtime or when it's time to get ready for her bus in the morning. Is there a program that we can install on her computer that will flash a message at specific times to remind her that it's time to do a task?

A: There is indeed. In fact, you can find a bunch of alarm-clock programs online that can sound an alarm and flash a message on the computer screen. One of the best for Windows is Free Alarm Clock, from It's easy to use, and allows you to set up multiple alarms for each day of the week. It comes with a selection of built-in alarm sounds, and you can use any music file on your computer. For Mac users, a good choice is Alarm Clock for Mac, a freebie from It, too, can accommodate multiple alarms, and you can use anything in your iTunes library for an alarm sound.

News and Resources

Smart Apps for Special Needs
Search for apps, read reviews, learn about promos and discounts and more!

Insights to iPad Integration for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

The Apple iPod Touch as a vocational support aid for adults with autism: Three case studies
by Tony Gentry, Stephanie Lau, Alissa Molinelli, Amy Fallen and Richard Kriner

Autism SmartPhone Apps: How helpful are smartphone apps for children or adults with autism? 
A blog post by Andy Shih, PhD, Autism Speaks vice president for scientific affairs.

How Can Technology Help Me? Our Technology Guide
Marc Sirkin, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at Autism Speaks put together a guide for families that details what apps and devices are out there to support individuals with autism, both "therapeutic" and "applied". 

60 Minutes: Tablet Computers and Apps for Autism
On a fall 2011 episode of the CBS program 60 Minutes, Leslie Stahl reported on how people with autism are speaking and making breakthroughs with the help of technology.

Podcast on Virtual Reality Tools for Autism
In this “Autism Matters” podcast, Simon Wallace, Ph.D., discusses research on using immersive virtual environments to help children with autism. His related study is available online in the journal Autism.

Video: "Strategies for Video Modeling with iPods and iPads"
Tony Gentry, PhD OTR/L, director of the Assistive Technology for Cognition (ATC) Laboratory at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) created a video to introduce strategies for using video modeling to help people with autism.

Now that iPod Touches and Tablet computers have onboard video cameras, it can be easy to build videos to assist with wayfinding, social cueing, task sequencing and behavioral prompting. This video introduces strategies for using video modeling for each of these purposes.

Check out the video here, and for more information from the VCU Autism Center for Excellence page on Technology and ASD, click here!

"There's very little question that technology has the potential to make a profound difference in the lives of individuals with autism. Whether it involves helping them talk, keeping them safe or facilitating their inclusion in communities, people with autism are some of the greatest benefactors of the current technology boom."

- Peter Bell, Autism Speaks Executive Vice President, Programs and Services

Do you have a question you'd like answered? Email us at and we are happy to help!