Technology-based interventions (TECH)
Technology-based interventions (TECH) use a form of technology as the primary medium to deliver the intervention. Computer software or television (e.g., interactive DVD) have long been one of the main forms of technology used. Progressively, many advanced technologies have been used as intervention tools (such as robots or virtual reality environments).
As Gryzspan et al. (2014) point out, using technology as a medium for an intervention has several interests:
- Many people with ASD have a significant interest in technology (Bernard-Opitz et al., 2001; Moore and Calvert, 2000).
- Technologies allow to have very clearly defined task and to provide instructions and guidance based on visual cues (Quill, 1997).
- Technologies help limit sensory stimuli that can cause attentional distractions in people with ASD (Murray, 1997).
- Technologies help limit the social demand that can be disruptive to individuals with ASD (although a limitation of this reduction in social demand is the risk of reinforcing social isolation; e.g., Durkin, 2010).
In the database
In this database, the meta-analyses on the efficacy of the technologies involve participants of very different ages, from very young children (< 6 years old) and to adults (20 years old or older). All the meta-analyses focus, in average, on interventions that are not very intensive (< 4 hours per week) and relatively short (dispensed for less than a year).
Several meta-analyses focus on very specific type of tehnology such as serious games (SG; i.e., computer applications combining a therapeutic content in a learning environment under the form of a video game); virtual reality (VR; a multidimensional environment with multiple sensory channels that allow individuals to explore the virtual environment through visual, auditory, tactile, and sometimes even olfactory perception, creating an interactive and immersive experience for the user; social-cognition (SC; i.e., programs that target the social-cognition) and emotion recognition (ER; i.e., programs that target the emotion recognition).