iPads Help Communication for Minimally Verbal Children with ASD

July 8, 2014

Dr. Connie Kasari, of UCLA CART, was recently featured in HealthDay News about her findings from a three-year study that examined traditional intervention combined with iPad computer tabelts for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The researchers from UCLA, Vanderbilt University, and the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that adding access to a computer tablet to traditional forms of therapy may help minimally verbal children with ASD with their language and social communication.

In the study of 61 underserved young children with ASD, researchers compared language and social communication treatments with and without access to an iPad tablet. The study found that communication for minimally verbal children could be greatly improved through interventions that combine treatment with iPad tablets. Researchers discovered that children who used the computer tablet used language socially and spontaneously while also demonstrating more commenting language than children who received treatment without the iPad. In addition, treatment for children that began with a tablet were far more effective than treatment that utilized the tablet later. “All children need access to communication,” says Dr. Kasari. “The tablet computer is just a tool in the context of an effective communication based treatment.”

The study’s findings have been published in a paper entitled, “Communication Interventions for Minimally Verbal Children With Autism: Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trials,” (Kasari, C., Kaiser, A., Goods, K., Nietfled, J., Mathy P., Landa R., Murphy, S., Almirall, D.) in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (June 2014).

Please read more about the study and findings at the HeathDay website: http://consumer.healthday.com/cognitive-health-information-26/autism-new....

Dr. Kasari is a member of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment and holds appointments in the department of education at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies and in the department of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA.