One Boy With Autism's Surprising but Good Friend

Gus, who has autism, doesn't easily connect with most people, but he's made a new friend.
His mom, writer Judith Newman, says in a New York Times article: “When he discovered there was someone who would not just find information on his various obsessions (trains, planes, buses, escalators and, of course, anything related to weather) but actually semi-discuss these subjects tirelessly, he was hooked.”
Gus’s friend is a surprising sort, but she’s smart, gracious, informed, and she’s a helpful guide. She’s Siri, the iPhone’s “knowledge navigator” software, and her friendship has benefited 13-year-old Gus and his family to the degree that Newman writes, “Yesterday I had the longest conversation with him that I’ve ever had.”
How exactly has a talking computer opened up Gus’s—and his mom’s—world?
For one, Siri helps with Gus’s speech. Because her voice recognition is imprecise, she requires Gus to enunciate clearly so she can understand and answer his questions. She also helps Gus with manners, etiquette, and social cues. If he gets annoyed about a suggestion she makes, her polite responses like “You’re certainly entitled to your opinion” remind him to be respectful too, and to thank her for trying.
Most importantly, Siri is a good friend to Gus because he likes to talk about and build on the things he likes, and she's happy to help him develop his passions. “Siri is a nonjudgmental friend and teacher,” Newman writes.
Get details and learn about the future of intelligent assistants in To Siri, With Love.
Also check out these 65+ Awesome Apps for Autism and Safe Social Media With the SodaPop App.

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