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Autistic and Digitally Literate!

Hello all:
Today I am writing about autism. And while I cannot give the topic the treatment it deserves, a book caught my eye that provoked me to at least start a discussion here.

The book I am referring to is Library Services for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders by Lesley S. J. Farmer.
Seeing the title made me ask:
1. How are librarians extending resources and customer service to autistic patrons?
2. What external resources exist for children with autism?
3. What is the difference between autism and Autism Spectrum Disorders?
4. Can one be autistic and digitally literate?

So… some answers to those questions.
First, autism is defined as a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. (See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002494/)
Second, autism is a general term which is often used for Autistic Disorder (AD) that is included in the group of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.

Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) therefore, actually refers to five pervasive developmental disorders: autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Rett syndrome, childhood disintegrative disorder (CDD) and pervasive development disorder not otherwise specified(PDD-NOS).

My research has led me to dozen of websites. (I am sure there are hundreds or thousands of them out there for you to peruse.) The sites run the gamut from basic information about autism to sites that allow teens and young adults to write about what it feels like to live with autism. There are also soft-sell to hard-sell advocacy groups defending those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. And yes, I found one that helps librarians serve patrons with autism (See http://librariesandautism.org/index.htm.) Finally, while the autistic discussion is still new to me, I believe one can be autistic and digitally literate thanks to such devices as the Nabi Tablet.

For now I leave you with:
http://autism.lovetoknow.com — This website has real-world tips for improving social skills, encouraging interaction and communication, and understanding a diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.
http://autism-hub.com — The Autism Hub is central point for blogs about autism from autistic people, family members, and students/professionals.
http://www.nabitablet.com/inspire — The Nabi Tablet is featured as a computer tablet for children with autism.

Do add what you know!


5 thoughts on “Autistic and Digitally Literate!

  1. I have a friend who is currently working to obtain a PhD in Technology and Education. He suggested the best way to accommodate Autistic learners is to essentially reinvent the classroom, where technology is the axis of education. Educators would not be teaching digital literacy necessarily, but executing the quintessential elementary curriculum using technology as the primary vehicle. Instructors would be using computers with a modified screen, keyboard, and mouse, for example. He also mentioned the capacity for audio and visual equipment to augment memory retention.

    • Reinventing the classroom is a challenge. Yet, I know it’s been done in the past, therefore, I know educators can do so again.

  2. Children with Autism, especially those without the ability to speack, use iPads to communicate. The touch screen makes it easier to move about the different apps. My nephew has autism and uses an iPad to do his school work and communicate. He is also very good at getting around the internet without much help. He loves “youtube” and Netflix and can type in what he wants to watch. He has been computer savvy for quite some time and amazes me with what he can do.
    Libraries need to have websites that are easy to maneuver through. Many children with autism can use a regular computer and do not need special equipment, but a touch screen would be the best for all.

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