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Can smartphones support inclusion for autism in mainstream?

Mintz, J; (2013) Can smartphones support inclusion for autism in mainstream? Journal of Assistive Technologies , 7 (4) pp. 235-242. 10.1108/JAT-08-2013-0019.

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Purpose: The "Helping Autism Diagnosed Navigate and Develop Socially" (HANDS) project developed a suite of mobile apps for smartphones, which support children with Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) with social and life skills functioning - areas of ability which tend to be impaired in this population. The apps were field tested in four special schools. The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory investigation of the potential use of this and similar technology to support the inclusion of children with ASD in mainstream secondary schools. Design/methodology/approach: A series of technology familiarization sessions and follow up focus groups were held with children with ASD, teachers, teaching assistants and parents at three mainstream secondary schools. A thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts was undertaken. Findings: The analysis indicated common themes across schools relating to challenges and opportunities in the use of smartphones to develop social and life skills. Wider debates in the available literature and the general media about national and local school policy on the use of smartphones in the classroom were reflected in the themes identified. Conclusions are drawn about the potential use of smartphones to promote inclusion of children with ASD, and recommendations are made in regards of national and local policy on the use of mobile technology in schools. Originality/value: There is little literature on the use of smartphones with children with ASD to support inclusion in mainstream. As such, this initial exploratory report will be of interest to policy makers, school managers and researchers. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Type: Article
Title: Can smartphones support inclusion for autism in mainstream?
DOI: 10.1108/JAT-08-2013-0019
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1493844
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