One of the greatest rewards of evolving technology is the way in which it addresses real-world challenges. Nowhere is this more evident than in the many digital tools that have been developed to assist children with ASDs (autism spectrum disorders.) Children on the spectrum frequently struggle with picking up on social cues, finding the “right” words, or otherwise adhering to behavioral norms. Tech-minded therapists and parents have discovered that apps for kids with autism for smartphones and tablets are entertaining educational tools that simultaneously teach social communication and cognitive skills. So, here are a few of our favorite apps for kids with autism!
- I Can Have Conversations With You!
Developer: Breakthrough Solutions
This app is designed to help autistic children ages 6+ with conversation and social skills. Essentially a social language therapy system, “I Can Have Conversations With You!” offers guidance on ways to begin, maintain, and end a conversation. This app also teaches children gestures and body language, how to understand and express words, and feelings that might occur during a conversation (and to handle them). Packed with videos, photos, audio clips, reward screens, and interactive cues, it’s a must-have app for kids who struggle with the words, gestures, and feelings that others express.
- Behavior Tracker Pro
Developer: Nitrex Pro Corp.
Behavior Tracker Pro was designed by a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to empower therapists and parents with the ability to track and manage behaviors in children. Using this app, behaviors can be recorded over a certain amount of time with changes noted and then put into a graph for analysis. The app is fully customizable, allowing video capturing and sharing ability.
- Model Me Going Places™
Developer: Model Me Kids
Model Me Going Places™ is a great visual teaching tool for helping an autistic child learn to navigate challenging locations within their community. Each location contains a photo slideshow of children modeling appropriate behavior. The app is based on the Model Me Going Places™ DVD, which is part of a social skills training series for children and teenagers with autism.
- Aiko & Egor: Animation 4 Autism
Developer: See Beneath, Inc.
This interactive app, which is accompanied by an animated video series, is designed to promote social communication, appropriate play and imitation skills. Created specifically for children with ASD, this app contains simplified animation and language, and it uses evidence-based principles to promote engagement and fun.
- Autism Tracker
Developer: Track & Share Apps LLC
Behavioral therapists, teachers, and parents can all benefit from this app, which provides a snapshot of behavioral patterns and interventions in an easily trackable format. Therapists and parents can monitor medications, dietary changes, and even eye contact by a sliding scale and checklist to determine if current practices and treatments are working. The app allows multiple profiles for one account, therefore allowing ease of use and accessibility.
- Calm Counter
Developer: Touch Autism
Calm Counter offers a great visual and audio guide for autistic children struggling to express their emotions. The app features a series of facial expressions ranging from happy to angry with suggestive messaging like “I need a break” or “when I am angry, there are things I can do to calm down.” Along with expressions, the app includes a social story about anger.
What are YOUR go-to apps for kids with autism? Share in the comments section below!
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