You are in:

Technology and the Autism Spectrum Condition Learner: What Works and Why

Autism is a spectrum of neurodevelopmental conditions characterised by difficulties in the development of social relationships and communication skills, usually exhibiting focussed interests, repetitive behaviour and difficulties coping with unexpected change.

There are many different kinds of assistive technology that can support an individual with autism whether it is a bespoke communication device, an communication app on an iPad, a laptop with assistive software to support writing activities or a digital recorder to take notes or set with reminders.

Mobile technology is now much cheaper, portable, flexible and has a certain 'cool' factor. It can address many of the barriers an individual with autism faces. In our experience, many children and young people with autism can be supported successfully to achieve their learning objectives if they have the right tools at hand. This can often work well with their skill set and the motivation factor that technology gives.



23rd November 2017
University of Edinburgh

Morning Seminar £40
(9:30am - 12:30pm)

with Workshop £80
(1:30pm - 3:30pm)

What you will learn

Morning seminar

  • Low to high tech symbol and picture resources
    to help with communication and understanding of language
  • An overview of Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC)
    for individuals who have no effective communication
  • Exploring our app wheels
    iPad apps for complex communication support needs
    and Android app for complex communication support needs
  • Creating personalised resources and visual timetables
    using symbols, photos and videos
  • Creating Social Stories
    using text, audio, photos and videos using creative iOS apps
  • Interactive Boardmaker Studio activities
    e.g. daily schedules, registration activities, interactive games, Talking Books
  • Literacy support assistive software and apps
    for: predictive text, text to speech, spell-checking and organisation
  • Speech recognition software and apps
    for individuals with autism who have speech but difficulties with physically handwriting and word processing

Who is the seminar and workshop aimed at?

  • Class teachers, Support for Learning Teachers
  • Classroom assistants, Additional Support Needs assistants
  • Anyone working with a student with an Additional Support Need
  • Speech and Language Therapy staff
  • Parent/ Carers

Afternoon workshop (optional)

The afternoon session will be capped at a maximum of 16 participants. No prior knowledge or expertise is required. You will get the chance to have hands on practice with Windows laptops and iPads using the software, apps and resources that have been talked about in the morning session.

You will have time to explore, ask questions, share ideas and take home ideas that can be immediately embedded into your practice and support of individuals with autism.

Meet your presenter(s)

Shirley Lawson
Assistive Technology and ASN Officer

I bring my teaching experience into my role at CALL as Development Officer for Assistive Technologies and Additional Support Needs. I lead the CALL Scotland Professional Learning and am focussing on providing a programme of relevant, quality assistive technology training to those working with children and young people with additional support needs and / or disabilities.

Gillian Mcneill
Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Gillian’s specialism is in Augmentative and Alternative Communication, drawn from 25 years working within a regional AAC team in Fife, before joining CALL Scotland in 2011. Through this she has built experience from developing a multi-agency AAC partnership, carrying out assessments, implementing support services, delivering training and contributing to AAC projects. Having worked with people with complex communication support needs of all ages - children and adults - her key area of interest presently, is supporting pupils to access learning and communication, through technology.

Claire Harrison
Assistive Technology and Complex Needs Officer

My role involves: assessment and support of individual learners and research and development projects.

What the research says

In Australia, a study by Oakley, Howitt, Garwood, and Durack (2013) found that multimodal texts created for tablets and laptops were successful in supporting the literacy development of two autistic children, aged five and eight. Thus, in general, research seems to suggest that the multimodal and tactile assistive qualities of tablet devices have the potential to increase SEN learners' engagement, develop their academic and communicative skills, and improve social interaction (Karpati 2009; Campigotto, McEwen, and Demmans Epp 2013)

Hockly,N., (2016) Special Educational Needs and technology studies in English language learning, ELT Journal, p334


About the day

Morning Seminar

  • Duration: 9:30am - 12:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 50
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.

Afternoon Workshop (optional)

  • Duration: 1:30pm - 3:30pm
  • Class size: No more than 16
  • Refreshments: Tea, coffee and water will be available throughout.


  • Room: , University of Edinburgh, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh EH8 8AQ