Technology, Autism and Surprising Outcomes
One of the most rewarding things about creating assistive technologies for people with disabilities is how they sometimes deliver surprising, unexpected benefits that go beyond their intended purpose. It happens so often that it’s become one of my team’s founding principles -- when we make a product more accessible, we improve it for everyone.
That sentiment has never more true than when it comes to technology and its impact on people with autism. After all, just about every person with autism communicates, interacts, and learns differently and the “spectrum” of social, communication and behavioral challenges can vary dramatically by individual.
With that in mind, meet Logan, an amazing, funny, and engaging 8-year-old from Annapolis, Maryland, who also happens to be autistic. He recently discovered our Xfinity X1 voice remote and talking guide – technologies that assist people with visual disabilities. Yet Logan, who was non-verbal for many years, gets tremendous value from the cause-and-effect of talking or pushing a button to make things happen. The remote has even encouraged him to try and expand his vocabulary.
Sometimes, surprises like this are the best part of my job and I’m proud to share Logan’s story.
We’ve added Logan’s story to our Xfinity X1 On Demand library and if customers say “autism awareness” into the voice remote, they’ll find his video alongside a collection of related content including, shows, movies, TED talks about autism, and videos from Autism Speaks.
According to Logan’s mom Gail, “… having a tool that he is communicating with in a way that is helpful for his learning, is remarkable.”