As parents, we are as addicted to the screens as the kids. We toss a smart phone at them so that we can get some work done. It gives us a much needed break. We deserve it.
Sadly, it is the worst thing that we can do to our kids, not just kids on the spectrum. It is simply the most damaging thing that we do.
Autism is, practically speaking, where the person lives in their own world. Perhaps not much aware of the real world....maybe looking at it through a keyhole. If you are lucky, peering through a window or a door. The last thing that the child needs is incentive to stay in their world.
What is pleasant escapism for the neurotypical is crack cocaine for the autistic.
Not only is there the repetition and the movement, which the autistic crave, but there is no way for the real world to compete. Nothing out here is as interesting as Simba, Scooby and Lightning McQueen. My wife and I used the screen for a long time and are still paying the price.
Our 15 year old would rather retreat into his head, reliving a movie that he saw years ago, than "be here". The movie seen long ago is more appealing to him than playing with his hoverboard.
In addition, "the movie" is his association of happiness. Do anything to get him excited and he returns to the movie.
We erred with our use of screen time and our son is paying the price.
There is zero benefit to screen time for the kid, especially animated movies and cartoons.
Lose the screens.
All of them.