Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction, communication skills, and cognitive function. Individuals with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities.
For more facts about autism, and details of all blogs participating in the Autism Awareness Project, see RJ Scott’s master post here: http://rjscott.co.uk/autism-awareness-month-2018
Communication and Computers
It’s fashionable these days to complain about technology eroding social interaction, and to print pictures of young people staring at screens when they “should” be talking to one another. But in fact technology can be of real benefit to the social lives of autistic people.
For many people with autism, communication can be a challenge. They may be non-verbal, or simply find social interaction difficult and exhausting. Computers can help. They are logical and non-judgemental, and emailing offers a way of conversing with much easier “rules” than speaking face to face.
Computers can also be used to role-play social situations in a safe space, and games programs can help build relationships and encourage co-operation.
Individual computers can be set up to help with individual needs, such as focussing in on a particular area of a website so as to avoid being overwhelmed or distracted by information, and there are resources to help you do that: https://mcmw.abilitynet.org.uk/
But website designers can also help. Autistic people often have sensory issues, so making sure your website is clear, uncluttered and consistent with regard to navigation will help avoid confusion and overload.
Moving elements can be distracting, so it’s best to avoid them or at the very least, make sure the user can freeze them. This won’t just be of benefit to autistic people: I’ve never been diagnosed as autistic but I recently gave up on trying to read the content on a website that had an ad showing people running through the background. I found it incredibly frustrating trying to concentrate on the content—and ultimately, decided it wasn’t worth the bother.
A very little forethought can have very real benefits for consumers, whether they’re neurodiverse or neurotypical.
For further information: https://www.scope.org.uk/Support/Disabled-people/Technology/PCs-and-autism
Giveaway: I’m offering a free e-copy of my upcoming Plumber’s Mate Mystery #5, Lock Nut, to a randomly chosen commenter on this post. (If you’ve already pre-ordered Lock Nut, I’ll be happy to substitute winner’s choice from my backlist).
I’ll send the winner their copy on release date, 14th May.
Just leave a comment on this post (wherever you see it) including your email address by 25th April to be in with a chance – and please do check out the other posts on RJ’s list for more giveaways! 😀
Still waters run deadly.
Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.
The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.
Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.
Due out in ebook and paperback on 14 May, 2018