Technology Use as a Support Tool by Secondary Students with Autism: A Mixed Methods Investigation Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Hedges, Susan
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The majority of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are leaving high school ill prepared to integrate successfully into adult life, which comes at a huge cost, not only to themselves and to their families, but also to society at large. Technology supports have the potential to improve their outcomes and thus enhance their quality of life. Knowing that most individuals with ASD have an affinity for technology and that technology is becoming more portable, less expensive, and more widely available, makes it an attractive potential support. Previous studies of the technology use by adolescents with ASD focused primarily on discretionary use. This mixed methods study investigated the use of technology as a support tool by high school students with ASD. In the first phase, 243 students from 30 high schools in North Carolina, Wisconsin and California completed questionnaires regarding their technology use. Based on the survey results, ten students were purposefully selected and interviewed regarding their perceptions of the benefits and barriers to their technology use as a support. The combined results revealed that teens with ASD are bringing internet capable technology with them to school and using it at school and at home to support their independence, improve their social opportunities and to reduce their anxiety and stress. These results provide important information for researchers and practitioners about the potential of technology use to improve the lives of individuals with ASD and underline the need for efficacy studies of these uses of technology.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Hume, Kara
  • Mesibov, Gary B.
  • Odom, Samuel L.
  • Able, Harriet
  • Fletcher-Watson, Sue
  • Simeonsson, Rune
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2016

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