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There's an app for that: Apple iPod Touch helps adults with autism function in the workplace
Date:9/2/2012

Amsterdam, NL, September 3, 2012 Only 15% of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States have some form of paid work. Difficulties related to cognition, behavior, communication, and sensory processing can impact their ability to attain and retain employment. Now investigators report the task management and organizational features on personal digital assistants (PDAs) can help people with ASD function more successfully in the workplace. They have published case studies in the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation demonstrating the use of Apple iPod touch PDAs as vocational supports.

"Strategies that provide enlightened workplace supports are clearly needed in order to help people with ASD find useful work and perform successfully on the job," says lead investigator Tony Gentry, PhD, of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. "Adults with ASD often have valuable assets and strengths that are sought after in the workplace, such as logical and mathematical ability, exceptional computer skills, or photographic memory."

The cases involve participants in a 4-year randomized trial examining the use of iPod touch PDAs as job coaching aids in the workplace. Each individual was given a vocational placement and paired with a job coach. An occupational therapist programmed an iPod touch with an individualized suite of applications to provide support that included task reminders and lists, video prompts, tools for self-managing behavior, and other supports. The occupational therapist trained the participant and the job coach in using the device as a vocational aid.

One participant, Jeffrey, worked as a daytime custodian at a fast-food restaurant. He had difficulty moving from one task to another, and couldn't remember the multiple steps involved in retrieving and stocking condiments and cleaning the bathrooms. When he became stressed, he would display "calming b
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Contact: Esther Mateike
e.mateike@iospress.nl
31-206-883-355
IOS Press
Source:Eurekalert

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