Under the #ErasmusDays 2023, the FPDA-Portuguese Autism Federation, which is a partner in the IDEAL project, gathered a series of testimonies from people with autism, family members, and professionals about their use of new technologies.
For example, for Patrícia Castanha, a 26-year-old autistic woman, new technologies are essential for her autonomy (for example, on a daily basis she uses an app that helps her get to and from work on Lisbon’s public transport). On the other hand, for Catarina Loureiro, an 18-year-old autistic girl with auditory hypersensitivity, the new Buds and Samsung’s Unfear app have been crucial in her day-to-day life, contributing to her physical and psychological well-being. Her aunt, Elsa Marques, tells us how this technology has helped Catarina to be calmer and more relaxed by being able to identify and reduce the noises that disturb her.
For Duarte, a 14-year-old autistic boy, new technologies, specifically online games, are his “perfect world” where he can be whatever he wants and where he can keep in touch with other young people with the same interests. For Iolanda, a speech therapist, apps are great tools for promoting and developing communication skills and autonomy in the children she works with (for example, using apps to express wishes or desires).
These testimonies show us how important new technologies are in the day-to-day lives of these people, not only therapeutically (for example, in speech therapy) but also in terms of the quality of their daily lives and in promoting their autonomy, independence, and well-being.