Appreciating screentime Edward, who was diagnosed with Asperger's at eight years old, has always loved using the computer. After a full day at school he would return home having pretty much run out of energy to interact with anyone and so he would make a bee line for the computer to have some stress free winding down time. I could see he needed this so I let him. Throughout his primary school days I tried to limit this to an hour a day but over the years this has crept up and now as a teenager Edward spends hours on the computer. He’s allowed more time on the computer than my other kids and I reassure myself with the fact that he varies what he does on the computer; he researches, he learns, he programmes, he writes, he watches documentaries and geeky vloggers, and he sometimes (okay, often) plays games. Edward spends more time on a computer than any other child or teen that I know. I am certainly not proud of this fact but nor am I going to beat myself up about it. Like most families we have had our fair share of arguing over how much time a child should be allowed to spend on-screen. It was after one such period of disagreement that Edward bought me a present for my birthday. It was the first time he had ever bought me a gift and it was a book titled, "Why everything bad is good for you: How popular culture is making us smarter" by Steven Johnson. It's basically an argument for seeing the positive side of gaming in comparison to book reading, by looking at the wide range of skills developed through playing most kinds of computer games. It was lovely to receive my first gift from my son but the book he chose made me realise how difficult present buying is for someone like him. To be able to buy a good gift you need to be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and imagine what they would like to receive. To his credit Edward had put a lot of thought into what to buy, although very much from his perspective rather than mine. Let's be honest, the book was definitely for him rather than me, but the fact that he had made some effort to go out and buy me a book was endearing and I very much appreciated it. I read the book, although not straight away, and it helped me to get a more positive outlook on how Edward was spending a considerable amount of his time. I guess his investment paid off. I know of adults with autism who basically spend their days at home playing complicated computer games. This is not what I want for my son. If you have ever played a computer game you will know how difficult and challenging they can be. If you have the skills to play this sort of game I believe you also possess some very employable skills, given the right opportunity and environment. My son does spend a lot of time on the computer but he also spends time with people socially, he exercises, he reads, he debates and he still accepts coming on family trips out provided we have given him sufficient amounts of information about the trip with as much notice as possible! Actually writing this has reminded me that for the sake of family harmony I should go through our day by day plans for the summer holidays with him right now! Lynne is a Speech and Language Therapist and a mother to 4 children. Her eldest son is on the Autistic Spectrum. Lynne has a blog full of funny tales of family life dotted with little nuggets of wisdom. If you want to visit the blog go to http://ablogaboutraisingmyautisticson.com/ You can also find out more about our Digital Skills Programme, supporting families to get the most from their devices.