Understand Autism and accessing online information

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Are you or any of your family, friends, or colleagues affected by autism? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that autism may affect as many as 1 in every 54 people in the USA.

So at some point in your home life, education, or professional environments, it is highly likely that you will meet members of the autistic community.

What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a genetic condition that affects an individual’s development, and can often present challenges when it comes to social interaction, speech, behavior, and nonverbal communication.

Autism is a lifelong condition most commonly detected in childhood and is three to four times more prevalent in boys than girls.

Every individual on the autism spectrum is different, and while some autistic people may need very little help, others may need much more. Like any condition under the neurodiversity umbrella, autism is not a marker of decreased intelligence. Many of those diagnosed with autism in early life go on to lead healthy, happy, independent, successful, and fulfilling lives.

Individuals on the autism spectrum may:

  • Have difficulties communicating and interacting with other people

  • Not understand the feelings and thought processes of others

  • Take longer to assimilate information

  • Becoming stressed in environments with excess noise or bright colors

  • Demonstrate repetitive behavior patterns

  • Struggle in unfamiliar situations

  • Become overwhelmed by busy social environments

Autism and Web Accessibility

Often, people with autism have heightened sensory awareness. This means they can be easily distracted by images, logos, and graphics on web pages. So processing website content can be difficult.

Color contrasts between text and background can also be distracting for those in the autistic community. Low-contrast neutral color palettes are often preferred over the standard black text-on-white background options presented by most websites.

Consistency is important to individuals on the autism spectrum, so if web pages are not easy to navigate or have an unpredictable flow, autistic readers are likely to click away.

laptop illustration with accessibility symbols

Supporting Autism Online

Children and adults with autism face distinct challenges when reading information online. Plus, autism is often listed as a disorder that co-occurs with other neurodiverse conditions such as Dyslexia and Dyspraxia. So it is important that all individual differences and combinations are accounted for.

With the Recite Me assistive toolbar, users can make singular or multiple adjustments to account for all individual requirements and adapt the way web content is presented to suit their specific needs.

The Recite Me Toolbar

Recite Me assistive toolbar features that support autistic users include:

  • A selection of color palettes to account for contrast sensitivity between the text and background.

  • The ability to change font type, font size, and font spacing.

  • Text-only mode to strip away distracting graphics.

  • Options to have content read aloud in over 65 different languages.

  • Full control over the speed at which the text is read aloud, and a choice between male and female voices.

  • A screen mask for easier focus.

Client Feedback

In 2022, Recite Me witnessed a surge in disability groups signing up for our website assistive technology, and we are proud to be helping more neuroatypical members of our community than ever before.

Anna Kennedy Online

Anna Kennedy Online provides workshops, training, legal advice, and talks across the UK, and partners on annual events like AKO Autism Expo, the Autism Hero Awards, and ‘Autism’s Got Talent’.

“Since we have been working with Recite Me and updating our website making it disability friendly, we have received many compliments and thanks from the autism community. Recite Me are always respectful and understand exactly what we are trying to achieve to make the website accessible to all.” Anna Kennedy, CEO

Autism Plus logo

Autism Plus

Autism Plus has been supporting adults and young people with autism, learning disabilities, mental health conditions, and other complex needs since 1986.

“As a Disability Confident employer, we want to ensure we are as accessible as possible, not only to the people we support but for our employees and supporters too. Recite Me provides more options on our website and makes the content completely customizable. ” Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager

To understand the online challenges and obstacles those with autism face, we sat down with Katie Mitchell, Marketing Manager at Autism Plus to discuss the importance of providing accessibility options online.

Find Out More

In today’s increasingly digital landscape, it has never been more important that everyone has equal access to information online. For further details on becoming more inclusive by utilizing our assistive technology for autism and other conditions, please feel free to contact our team or book a demonstration of our toolbar. Additionally, you can try out the Recite Me accessibility scanner for free today.

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