Plugged In: Electronics Use in Individuals with ASD

What's this project about?

Electronic technology currently plays an integral role in the lives of youth across North America and around the world. There are growing concerns that youth are engaged in electronic use for excessive amounts of time and developing compulsive or dependent behaviours associated with electronic use. While it is clear that the use of video games and computers is widespread among typically developing youth, very little research has been done on electronics use in individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Individuals with ASD may be particularly susceptible to compulsive or dependent electronics use given their propensity for video games, computer-mediated communication, and screen based entertainment. Very little is known about electronics use and its positive and negative impacts for individuals with ASD. The purpose of the current study is to examine electronics use in individuals with ASD in comparison to typically developing individuals of the same age.

How did we go about doing this research?

We have asked parents of children, youth, and young adults with an ASD between the ages of 6-25 to complete a survey of standardized questionnaires, which takes approximately 35 minutes to complete. We also recruited a comparison sample of parents of children without an ASD.

What will we do with our research findings?

The results of the study will help us to understand the benefits and problems associated with electronics use among individuals with ASD. We will communicate the findings by writing articles in academic journals, presenting at conferences, and summarizing the results on this website.

Publications

MacMullin, J., Lunsky, Y., & Weiss, J. A. (2016). Plugged in: Electronic use in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Autism, 20(1), 45-54.

Presentations, Public Appearances & Media

MacMullin, J. A., Weiss, J. A., & Lunsky, Y. (2015, May). Electronics use and its impacts for youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Poster presented at the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IASSIDD) Americas Regional Congress, Honolulu, HI.

MacMullin, J. A., Weiss, J. A., & Lunsky, Y. (2014, March). Electronics use in youth and young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Poster presented at the 47th Annual Gatlinburg Conference on Research and Theory in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Chicago, IL.

Want to know more about this project?

If you have any questions about the survey please contact Jennifer MacMullin, Project Investigator, at jenmacm@yorku.ca.