Tech-Inclusive Education for Students with ASD

People with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have special educational needs (SEN) that until recently were only addressed through traditional methodology. Nevertheless, with the evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and the increasing interest on how this “digital revolution” is transforming the teaching-learning process, especially with students with ASD, it has become essential to adopt more learner-centred approaches, to recognise differences in the way that people learn, and to flexibly adapt to every individual learner (World Health Organization, 2011). In this line, many international documents have recognised and advocated for the right to inclusive education to ensure that regular schools accommodate every child, with their personal abilities and specific learning needs.

Inclusive education, more than mainstreaming the learners with special needs, focuses on identifying and overcoming all barriers for effective, continuous, and quality participation of all in education. Furthermore, it provides a “least restrictive environment” (LRE) to guarantee a meaningful educational benefit for children with disabilities, alongside their peers, in an accessible physical and human environment (Ahmad, 2015: 63).

The term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) refers to a complex lifelong neurodevelopmental disorder defined by a certain set of behaviours, and affects how people communicate, socialise, and create difficulties with executive functioning, motor skills and sensory sensitivities (Odunukwe, 2019). Meeting these needs in a classroom setting can be challenging to the teachers, however, using technology-based supports has shown successful in addressing the three primary issues that people with ASD face: motivation, socialisation, and communication (Cafiero, 2012: 64).

In fact, it seems that people with ASD have a natural affinity for working with ICT because it provides a controlled environment, individualised attention, and the possibility to repeat exercises (Moore and Taylor, 2000). Moreover, individuals with ASD can process information better when they are looking at pictures or words to help them visualise information; pictures are their first language, and words, their second (Lofland, 2016: 29).

Thus, committed to bring technology to bridge the gap in access to quality education as well as between students with ASD and their teachers, we present you ASDigital. Our project aims to make the e-learning process more inclusive for students with ASD through the enhancement of the digital skills of both, students and teachers.

We believe in technology as an essential tool and a powerful enabler that can also facilitate the transfer of learning skills into their everyday lives. However, we must be aware that in social and educational processes, we also need to focus on the didactic processes rather than on the technological tools themselves.

Therefore, our project ASDigital pays special attention to give the educators the necessary tools, providing specific resources to promote a truly inclusive digital education, in the form of a toolkit of an e-course, a guide and an e-learning platform on digital skills for teachers as well as an education game for digital competencies and video tutorials designed to students with ASD.


Ahmad, F. K. (2015). Use of Assistive Technology in Inclusive Education: Making Room for Diverse Learning Needs. Transcience, 6(2), 62-77.

Cafiero, J. M. (2012). Technology Supports for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Special Education Technology, 27(1), 64–76. doi:10.1177/016264341202700106

Lofland, K. B. (2016). The Use of Technology in the Treatment of Autism. In T.A. Cardon (ed.), Technology and the Treatment of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, (pp. 27–35). Springer International Publishing. https//

Moore, D. and Taylor, J. (2000). Interactive multimedia systems for people with autism. Journal of Educational Media, 25, 169-177. https //

Odunukwe, C. N. (2019). Using Modern Technology to Enhance Learning of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

World Health Organization & World Bank (‎2011)‎. World report on disability 2011. World Health Organization.


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