Description: Instruction presented via computer that contains behavioral objectives (learning goals), results in immediate feedback and high rates of active-student responding, and requires that the individual achieve a criterion for mastery before advancing to more complex instruction.

Research Summary: Several studies support the use of computer-assisted instruction with individuals with autism to increase vocabulary, recognition of symbols, identification of written words, and skills at naming and predicting emotions. There is also research supporting the use of computers to present activity schedules (see Stromer et al. under “Activity Schedules”) and to complement traditional procedures for training staff to implement discrete trial training (see “Discrete Trial Training”).

Recommendations: The use of computer-assisted instruction may be an effective teaching procedure for individuals with autism in increasing a variety of skills, though additional research is needed to confirm this finding.

Selected References:

Selected scientific studies


Coleman-Martin, M. B., Wolf Heller, K., Cihak, D. F., & Irvine, L. (2005). Using computer-assisted instruction and the nonverbal reading approach to teach word identification. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 80-90.

Hetzroni, O. E., & Shalem, U. (2005). From logos to orthographic symbols: A multilevel fading computer program for teaching nonverbal children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 20, 201-212.

Massaro. D. W., & Bosseler, A. (2006). Read my lips: The importance of the face in a computer-animated tutor for vocabulary learning by children with autism. Autism, 10, 495-510.

Randell, T., Hall, M., Bizo, L., & Remington, B. (2007), DTkid: Interactive simulation software for training tutors of children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 637-647.

Silver, M. & Oakes, P. (2001). Evaluation of a new computer intervention to teach people with autism or Asperger syndrome to recognize and predict emotions in others. Autism, 5, 299-316.

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