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 behaviorial norms. Tech-minded therapists and parents have discovered that apps for smartphones and tablets are entertaining educational tools that simultaneously teach social communication and cognitive skills. Here are a few of our favorites!
- Children with Autism: A visual schedule
Developer: Enuma, Inc.
This picture-based app provides a visual, wearable scheduler that makes tracking and staying on top of scheduled events easier and more convenient. Users have the ability to select icons that are currently installed, or create their own custom build for a more personable approach. These icons are then uploaded to the application, or apple an apple watch. This app helps children to gain a number of skills, including the concept of time management and a sense of independence, along with developing and following daily routines.
- 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 it 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 are expressing.
- 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 can then put into a graph for analyzing. 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 is accompanied by an animated video series, and is designed to promote social communication and appropriate play and imitation skills. Created specifically for children with ASD, it contains simplified animation & language and 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 behavior patterns and interventions in an easily trackable format. Therapist 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 with how to express their emotions. The app features a series of facial expressions ranging from happy to angry, with suggestive messaging such as “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 children on the spectrum? Share in the comments section below!
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