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Harnessing Technology to Improve the Lives of People with Autism

A  one-day workshop, “Harnessing Technology to Improve the Lives of People with Autism,” co-sponsored by the NLM Foundation and The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, was held on July 23, 2014 at the Heller School in Waltham, MA. The purpose of this meeting was to discuss the potential of adaptive technology to open up for persons with autism new avenues for acquiring knowledge, improving social communication, and achieving a greater degree of independence and control over their lives. Topics included a survey of novel assistive devices and  communication technologies, consideration of the potential of the iPad and other mobile technologies to support communication and inclusion, introduction to personal health informatics, examination of the use of avatars to engage individuals in learning how to control intended movements and speech production, employment opportunities for those with ASD in the high-tech industry, vocational training programs, and educational access via distance learning.

Personalizing Autism Technology
Rosalind Picard, Sc.D., FIEEE
MIT Media Laboratory

Computational Measures of Psycho-Motor Performance
Elizabeth Torres, Ph.D.
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Employment for Adults with Autism
William E. Kiernan, Ph.D.
University of Massachusetts, Boston

Screening of the documentary, “I Want to Say,” produced by Goodby Silverstein & Partners and production company Bodega in partnership with Autism Speaks, that tells the story of how assistive technology can help to unlock the voices of children with autism through technology.

Realizing the Potential of the iPad in Supporting the Communication and Inclusion of People with Autism: Promise, Practice and Pitfalls
Christine Ashby, Ph.D.
Syracuse University

Developing Innovative Technologies to Enhance Research and Practice with Individuals on the Autism Spectrum: A Computational Behavioral Science Approach
Matthew Goodwin, Ph.D.
Northeastern University


Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA