Supporting Neurodiversity Using Mainstream Mobile Technologies: A Proposed Fourth Generation Model

Simon Hayhoe

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This article takes a philosophical approach to examining the use of mobile technologies by Students Who Are Neurodiverse (SWANs). The article is relevant, as it addresses issues of social justice for students with disabilities and special needs. Methodologically, the article uses the epistemological model of disability and a framework of active and passive exclusion to critically examine the nature of neurodiversity, the history of the development of accessible, assistive and inclusive technologies for SWANs, and the management strategies of supporting SWANs using different forms of technology in different learning contexts. The focus of this analysis is an examination of mainstream mobile technologies and apps and the support of people with disabilities in the modern era. The study is framed by two research questions:
1) How has technology attempted to support SWANs based on their individual learning needs?
2) Has the process of developing technologies for SWANs led to an efficient process of inclusion?
The article finishes by proposing a new model of technology usage and practice termed the Culture, Individuality, Multi-Modality and Portability (CIMPo) model, which it suggests represents a fourth generation of accessible and inclusive technology and a second generation of inclusion. The key conclusion of this article is that neurodiversity is often overlooked in education and that the culture of support using technology is burdened by its history of exclusion. However, systematized management strategies using mainstream technologies can often address many historical issues and the hurdles presented during teaching and learning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)45–56
Number of pages12
JournalAdvances in Online Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2022
EventOEB / Learning Technologies 2021: The global, cross-sector conference and exhibition on technology-supported learning and training - Intercontinental Hotel, Berlin, Germany
Duration: 1 Dec 20213 Dec 2021
Conference number: 26


  • neurodiversity
  • dyslexia
  • cell phone
  • Mobile Technology
  • accessible technology
  • inclusion
  • m-learning


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