Is digital technology a solution for people with mental and cognitive disabilities?
Published: 06 October 2023
People with mental or cognitive disabilities share common difficulties that limit their autonomy and affect their relationships with others. Appropriate methods therefore need to be put in place to promote the social integration of these people. Exploiting the potential of new technologies is one of the most innovative solutions to this real social problem.
Touchscreen tablets: a relevant tool for the inclusion of people with mental and/or cognitive disabilities
Digital touchscreen tablets have been booming since 2010, and the use of applications dedicated to mental and/or cognitive disabilities is making a significant contribution. The mother of an autistic child reports that ” the child generally increases his attention for this kind of tool which motivates him, and which has more than one trick up its sleeve: image, sound, movement, music. “1. In fact, many testimonials from families and healthcare staff describe these digital media as particularly relevant solutions. Philippe Liotard, sociologist and lecturer at the University of Lyon 1, comments on the results of a national experiment conducted in various primary and secondary schools on the use of tablets with dyspraxic children and teenagers, noting “the ability of young people to appropriate the tool in an intuitive and spontaneous way that generates uses that were unthinkable for the teachers themselves”.2. Initial scientific studies have also given them a very positive assessment3-7.
An interesting, non-stigmatizing object
These fun learning tools encourage concentration and hand-eye coordination. What’s more, the pleasure generated by their use makes learning much easier. The child gains in autonomy, and the educator saves a considerable amount of time compared with paper-and-board methods . Intuitive and interactive, the tablet facilitates understanding and captures attention. It offers a direct cause-and-effect link, with no change of plane between screen and keyboard, unlike computers, and, for example, enables real cognitive gains for children with spacio-visual disorders. This new universal medium, an object around which people gather and interact, facilitates social ties and thus plays a real role as a vector of inclusion.
The portable tablet thus becomes the ideal companion and a real tool for compensation: it supports communication and lets you express a need through images or synthesized speech. Embedded learning, which can be used in the speech therapist’s office, at home or on the move, helps consolidate acquired skills.
A new window on the world
However, the tablet should not be seen as a miracle tool, but rather as an incredible opportunity to diversify the range of therapies available to people with cognitive and mental disabilities. It does not replace the need for an accompanist, and requires a personalized approach.
AMIKEO: the tablet solution for autonomy and learning
Auticiel takes this role of facilitating exchanges and learning to heart, and in partnership with professionals from specialized structures, has developed a digital solution adapted to people with mental and/or cognitive disabilities. The AutiTab tablet is designed for easy, safe, stand-alone use, and comes with a sturdy shell. Ready to use, it gives access to all Auticiel learning and independence applications, and also lets you download others from Google Play or Applications-Autisme.com. Its management space allows you to track and analyze your progress with detailed statistics, making it easier to adapt to your new skills.
Digital inclusion for people with cognitive and/or mental disabilities means giving them a real chance: a chance to communicate via a channel that is now indispensable, but also a chance to learn, find a job and become more independent. These tools help them to overcome difficulties in social interaction, spatial and temporal reference points, and understanding the emotions of others.
Further information: AMIKEO tablet sheet
4 “Making a Difference with Smart Tablets: Are iPads Really Beneficial for Students with Autism?” Amy Price,Teacher Librarian, October 2011
5 “Using Tablet Computers as Instructional Tools to Increase Task Completion by Students with Autism,” Patricia O’Malley, M. E. B. Lewis, Claire Donehower, paper presented at the American Educational Research Association annual conference in San Francisco, May 2013.
A Communication System on Smart Phones and Tablets for Non-verbal Children with Autism”, Harini Sampath, Bipin Indurkhya, Jayanthi Sivaswamy,
Lecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume 7383, 2012, pp 323-330