The pandemic and the subsequent isolation have highlighted the access difficulties to digital
technologies that autistic people with lower cognitive levels suffer from. While some users
have been able to benefit from training, care, support and online monitoring in their homes,
those excluded from access to digital technologies have suffered additional isolation, a
disconnection with their educational and care centers and with the professionals who provide
them care and support (from day care, occupational or/and welfare centers).
These barriers in accessing digital technologies have their origin (causes) in not very accessible
tools; lack of competences, both regarding teachers, users with disabilities and their families;
poorly adapted methodologies; and lack of technological resources. More specifically, digital
tools are designed for the general population, without taking into account the needs of autistic
people with lower cognitive levels (levels 1 and 2). Tools adapted from the cognitive perspective are required, incorporating easy reading, pictograms and graphic resources.
Similar situation in regard to training, capacity building and care online methodologies.
Another important obstacle is the lack of skills for the use and management of digital tools (for
users care, accompaniment and training) by the professionals who attend them: adapted
training is required. Autistic people with lower cognitive levels need to improve their digital
skills in order to use digital resources and technologies. Support and training for families is also
essential. In addition, many autistic people and their families lack from the technological
resources to autonomously access digital resources such as online training or distance care.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the confinement and isolation situations have highlighted the
existence of a digital divide even among autistic people themselves. This unequal distribution
in the access and use of information and communication technologies has resulted in the fact
that, while some users are able to receive training and support in their homes through digital
resources and information and communication technologies, other users, with lower cognitive
levels, have not been able to receive this support due to their difficulties in accessing digital
technologies. That is, they are people who have suffered additional isolation due to their total
and absolute disconnection with their centers and professionals of reference, with all the
negative consequences of this situation in their educational or training processes, personal
development, life quality for them and their families, which have been somewhat under
assisted in such a complicated situation.