CARL Workshop on Autism showcases tactile anxiety management device

7 Oct 2014
CLASP tool

A recent CARL workshop on "Autism & Young People: Researching with the Community" showcased the CLASP tool, a hand-held digital anxiety management device, which local UCC researchers, community workers and parents are interested in exploring the use of as an anxiety management tool for people with high-functioning autism or Asperger Syndrome.

Maria Angela Ferrario and William Simm, Lancaster University, shared their experiences of their involvement in the Catalyst Project, which sought to explore whether digital technology can help to reduce barriers to engagement amongst adults with High Functioning Autism. Their answer was a resounding 'Yes!' and the Clasp tool is their latest protype in a collaborative research initiative between Lancaster City Council and the National Autistic Society, amongst other partners. 

On squeezing the Clasp tool, a digital peer support network is activated and the person making the distress call recieves support. The tool is also an anxiety tracking system and uses the service user's phone GPS to locate them thus enabling them to monitor and self regulate their behaviour. Clasp Presentation

The workshop also included more general discussion of how to support families and people with autism spectrum disorder as they move beyond school age.

Gillian Coogan, a recent Bachelor of Social Work graduate, shared her learning from her CARL-project which looked at the perspectives of young people with autism on independent living opportunities. Independent living

Cliona Glavin, a recent graduate of the Master of Science in Nursing, also shared her research on the stresses and coping strategies of parents of adolescents and adult children with autism spectrum disorder. Coping strategies.

The workshop culminated in a series of discussions which sought to advance thinking on a range of questions, namely:

  • Is it possible to create a social network in County Cork/Munster for people with ASD?
  • How we can support independent living for young people with ASD?
  • How we can alleviate the anxieties and stresses often experienced by young people with ASD?

Civic & Community Engagement

Comhpháirteachas Cathartha agus Pobail

University College Cork, Cork, Ireland,