As much as I love memes (and, I really, really love memes), my favorite thing about the evolution of technology has been in the ways it has helped people. This has proved to be true with individuals with autism, as there is now a bevy of technological ways that they can improve education and communication.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and iTunes showed their support by creating a section of the App Store called “Autism Acceptance” dedicated to apps that can be helpful to those with autism.
“Now more than ever, autistic people can share their voices with the world,” notes Apple. “With the help of amazing apps, they can learn, play, and communicate. Through the power of books and podcasts, they can tell their stories. During Autism Acceptance Month, we celebrate how their unique experience enriches us all.”
I have an older brother with autism, and have worked with special needs classrooms over the years. It has been incredible to watch the advances in technology, and see first-hand how they help.
Of the apps available in the iTunes store, some of the top-rated apps for autism include:
1. Choiceworks: This is a learning tool that helps in completing daily routines through visual aids. It includes four boards: schedule (with visual cards of the day’s activities), waiting (what the user can do during periods of waiting – e.g. read, listen to music), feelings (visual cards to represent feelings – for example it suggests what one can do when they are feeling upset), and feelings scale (allows the user to share how they feel about something by selecting a visual card).
2. Proloquo2Go: This app gives a voice to those who cannot speak. It gives visual cards that include text, and, when pressed, the app speaks for the user. This can be customized to each user, to include cards/text that relate to them and their life. With a large selection of customizable cards and a variety of languages, this is incredibly helpful for those who are nonverbal.
3. Eye to Eye Empower: This app is dedicated to the 1 in 5 people who learn differently, and help them to see all of the great things about themselves. The organization behind the app A) trains high school and college students with LD/ADHD to mentor similarly-identified elementary and middle school students, B) Inspire students, families, educators, and leaders across the country with stories of hope and strategies for success from the Eye to Eye Diplomats Program, and C) Generate culture change by fighting stigma and celebrating learning differences and ADHD.
4. Autism iHelp: This app is designed to help individuals with autism expand their knowledge of vocabulary. The app includes activities such as giving pictures of four common objects, and asks the user to match the picture to the word.
5. Autism Therapy with MITA: This app is designed more for children and includes puzzles and matching games, which both are known to help with cognitive skills.
Any apps you’d like us to know about? Comment below!