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Digital Media and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Review of Evidence, Theoretical Concerns, and Opportunities for Intervention

Lane, Rebecca MD*; Radesky, Jenny MD

Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics: June 2019 - Volume 40 - Issue 5 - p 364–368
doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000664
Brief Report

ABSTRACT: As the digital media landscape becomes more complex, individualized, and interactive, pediatric providers often find themselves asked to be the source of guidance for children with developmental and behavioral conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In this brief report, we review the current literature that exists regarding the use of traditional media (e.g., TV, video games) in children with ASD. We then outline a conceptual framework to describe the interaction between ASD-specific developmental and behavioral vulnerabilities and the aspects of new media (e.g., mobile devices, interactive apps, streaming video services) that could lead to problematic media use. This conceptual framework is then applied to clinical implications for how to prevent and manage problematic media usage in ASD and how to use modern media as tools to support optimal development.

*Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA;

Division of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI.

Address for reprints: Jenny Radesky, MD, 300 North Ingalls St, #1107, Ann Arbor, MI 48109; e-mail:

Disclosure: J. Radesky is paid to write articles for the PBS Parents website. The remaining author declares no conflicts of interest.

Received May , 2018

Accepted February , 2019

Copyright © 2019 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.