Digital health supporting daily living with autism

A developing area for healthcare tech is in the assistive technology (AT) area–in this instance to support those with autism. The spectrum of abilities and capabilities here is very wide–as are the needs. Some major challenges: organization, communication, managing stress levels, managing transitions in everyday living as a college student with autism must. Last week’s Autech 2015 at Old Trafford, Manchester spotlighted AT such as Brain in Hand, a smartphone/tablet app that touches on all three: it helps with planning daily activities, logging stress levels, providing help with coping strategies and if it is overwhelming, a direct connection to a support worker at the Wirral Autistic Society. Other promising technology includes biometric wristbands to monitor signs of stress and provide feedback to identify and work to modify the autistic person’s reactions; the Kaspar assistance robot for socializing children; the Proloquo2go tablet app which speaks for those without speech by using speech-producing icons. AT for the autistic is at the very early part of the development curve, but this Editor could see dual or triple uses for these technologies for those with TBI, stroke or dementia. Studies on cost savings are early, but the Brain in Hand test in Devon estimated a 100-200x savings: £300-500/week for social care versus £20/week for the service (but does this include the live support worker?) There’s an app for that: how assistive tech changes lives of people with autism (Guardian)

Related: on a late adult diagnosis of autism, how it is to live with it on your own (Guardian)

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