Autism is a social communication disorder. It makes ASD children uniquely vulnerable to screen time, so technology has a direct link with it. IPad and other screen gadgets have various brain-associated impacts on ASD children, and an autistic child may become obsessed with the iPad. Therefore, if your child is obsessed with iPad, tablets, computers, and other screens, be careful about the usage of these gadgets. If e-gadgets are not adequately supervised, IPad for kids can be detrimental to their brain development.
It is imperative to find ways to constructively use these screens to help cure your child at home. As well as find alternatives to screen time. Also, encourage your ASD child’s social interactions for his social and emotional growth.
Use of Technology iPad, Tablets, etc. for Good
Limited use of technology can help children with autism in many ways. But keep in mind that the duration of usage of these gadgets should not exceed more than 15 minutes per sitting. You can give these gadgets on fixed timings two or three times per day for fixed fifteen minutes, not more than that. Here is practical guidance for autistic children who are obsessed with iPad.
With these guidelines, you can get the most benefits from technology. Moreover, you can avoid the associated problems as well.
Advantages of Uses of Technology for Children with Autism
Technology made it possible to have lots of fun, educational activities, and valuable content on one portable device.
Joy, Fun, Leisure, and More Contact
An iPad or tablet has multiple interactive features that can help you to make your child sit with you. For example, present a story on a tablet or iPad.
In this way, they will share their joy and experience with you. And this will result in strengthening relationships.
Communication and Social Skills
So many autism apps for iPads are available, which can help you to create new symbols, schedules, and stories for your autistic child. These apps make communication easy as there is no need to carry a large folder of Velcroed, laminated symbols with you.
Although many audio output apps for iPad are available. But there is no substantial evidence that these apps are effective or not. No one is sure that these audio output apps positively affect the language development of autistic children.
So, it is suggested to discuss it carefully with your child’s teacher, speech therapist, language therapist, or other professionals first.
Help in Overcoming Social Isolation
It is often said that iPad and Tablets are antisocial activities. But it is not so. The moderate use of technology like watching YouTube videos and online games for kids with autism enhance their skills and give them some topic to talk about with their peers.
Parents can help their children with autism learn how to use these online communities safely. And also learn how they can overcome their social isolation with the help of an iPad.
It is vital to keep a balance between technology and real life.
Use as a Motivational Reward
When you are teaching them a new skill, then you can offer them access to an iPad/tablet for some time. In this way, you are rewarding them for their appropriate behavior.
Help to Manage Anxiety
Children with autism, when watching YouTube clips and videos, may find ways to regulate their well-being. Technology may help your child to calm down and manage their anxiety.
Limitations of Technology
Autistic children are uniquely vulnerable to the side effects of screen time. Their brain development can be affected. However, screen time has various brain-related impacts on all of us. But it has adverse effects on autistic children as there are chances that they will become addicted to screening.
Children with autism are more prone to the adverse effects of screen time. They are less capable of recovering from these adverse effects of electronics on children. Their brains are more sensitive and less resilient.
Although, families who are often dealing with autism advocate the use of technology like;
- It helps to deal with disruptive behavior.
- The use of iPad is as every day as playing with other kids.
- It will make it skill full of computers.
- Tablets /iPad will help to improve reading skills.
All these statements, as mentioned earlier, are correct to some extent. But it is essential to keep in mind that excess of everything is terrible and lethal. Parents should check on the iPad time limit.
There are seven reasons children with autism should have limited screen time and controlled access to iPad, tablets, and computers.
Melatonin is vital for our body as it restrains sleep, modulates hormones, regulates the body clock, and balances different types of immunity. But screen time suppresses melatonin and disrupts sleep. And children with autism tend to have less melatonin. They also have sleep disturbances.
Therefore, it is imperative to let your autistic child and all other young children have limited iPad or tablets.
Inflammation of the Nervous System may Increase
Light at night from screens suppresses REM sleep which may increase stress hormones. It also suppresses melatonin and non-restorative sleep. Due to these, inflammation of the nervous system may increase.
Social and Communication Deficits
Social and communication deficits are the characteristics of autism, such as impaired eye contact, low empathy, and impaired communication.
Too much indulgence in the iPad has been shown a link to delay language acquisition, making children obsessed with the iPad, and increasing the chances of development of virtual autism.
Prone to Anxiety
There are pieces of evidence that screen time is linked to abnormalities in serotonin synthesis and amygdala activity. And both serotonin regulation and amygdala changes increase the risk of OCD, obsessive-compulsive Disorder, and social anxiety
Delayed Sensory and Motor Skills
Children With autism have sensory-motor integration issues. Autistic child obsession with the iPad has been linked to worsening sensory-motor processing.
Risk of Development of Addiction to YouTube Video Games for kids with autism
Individuals with autism are typically highly attracted to screen-based technology when using the iPad; dopamine released by screen interaction reinforces these obsessive loops. Therefore there are chances of developing an addiction to video games, and autistic children will be obsessed with iPad and electronic screens.
Sensitive to EMFs
Children with autism are more sensitive to Electromagnetic fields. These EMFs are emitted from wireless devices such as Wi-Fi, cell phones, and electronic devices. Too much exposure to EMFs may worsen immune abnormalities.
How to Help Autistic Child Obsessed with iPad?
Your child loves iPad / Tablet and asks for it as soon as he opens her eyes. But as a parent, you know that autism is a social communication disorder. And too much use of the iPad can be detrimental to his brain development.
So, here are some interventions and strategies to help your autistic child obsessed with an iPad overcome screen obsession.
Walk The Walk And Not Just Talk
Children watch you and do what you do. So, if you really want to minimize the use of the digital screen for your children and virtual autism. Then you have to put your iPad/cell phone/tablet/computer away. Play with your child & give them attention to do any task.
Say NO to Technology at Some Specific Times
Avoid using these gadgets at the dinner table. It would help if you used this mealtime for conversation and interaction. It will help your child to practice social and communication skills.
Use Electronic Devices for Toddlers Purposefully
Teach your children that these iPads and tablets are not just for playing games and watching videos. It would be best to teach them how we could use these electronic pads for kids purposefully in our lives.
Keep Interacting with Your Child
When your child plays games or watches videos, do not let him get sucked into his world. Sit with them. Learn How to teach an autistic child to talk & Talk with him about the game.
Please help him to use this as an educational opportunity. You should watch YouTube videos together. And you should have some conversation about these videos.
Make a Schedule for iPad/Tablet Use
As a parent, you can judge how much time for iPad should be allowed for your child. Then first, make a schedule. And put the iPad screen time symbol on it. It will help you minimize the iPad’s use and obsession with the iPad.
Find Exciting Activities for Your Child with Autism
Provide your child with autism with indoor and outdoor games. Encourage him to play outside. Motivate him to connect with other kids. Provide him with books to read and discuss those characters of the story with him.
Turn Off All Technology Gadgets In The House At Least Two Hours Before Sleep Time.
Screen time may disrupt the sleep of individuals with or without autism. Make a healthy habit in your home and turn all screen devices off at least two hours before bedtime.
Please encourage your child to read a book, do coloring, write what he wants, or play with quiet toys.
Although it is tricky to turn off technology gadgets at home, promoting a healthy social environment at your home is totally worth it. This way, you can help your autistic child obsessed with the iPad.
Also, read about autism spectrum disorder to understand the disorder.
Hi, my name is Eva. I am currently practicing as a clinical social worker, that being my childhood desire. As a licensed therapist holding MPhil in Clinical Psychology, I am now on biomadam to provide the natives with the best family advice! Do you have any questions? See you in the comment section.