Top 10 Amazing iPad Apps for Children with Autism
Teachers and doctors are using iPads as a resource to reach out to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD and the results are remarkable. Autistic children are showing tremendous improvement after playing fun-filled exercises on iPad which is less stressful and more fun for both the teachers and the students. Below is the list of 10 best iPad applications to give Autism a voice.
Those who don’t know, Autism Spectrum Disorder is a lifelong disability that affects the way people communicates and how they relate to others and the world around them. Those affected typically display major impairment in social interaction, communication and behavior (restricted interests and repetitive behaviors). 1 in 150 children born today are affected by autism in some form, making it twice as common as cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, childhood deafness or blindness and ten times more common than childhood leukemia.
Children who are affected by ASD may or may not respond to their names and quite often avoid eye contact while interacting with others. They have difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling because they do not understand social cues, such as tone of voice or facial expressions, and fail to watch other people’s faces for clues about appropriate behavior.
Many children with an ASD are also prone to repetitive movements, including rocking and twirling, or in aggressive behavior such as biting or head-banging, mostly done to themselves. They also tend to begin talking later than other children and may refer to themselves by their name. Children with an ASD don’t know how to play interactively with other children. Some speak in a sing-song voice about a narrow range of favorite topics, with little regard for the interests of the person to whom they are speaking.
Scientists are not sure about what causes ASD. Researchers have identified a number of genes associated with the disorder. Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain. Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain. These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other.
10. Story Builder– Story Builder enables children to create, record, and share stories using their own voice as a recording. The app includes 50 form-generating story lines and 500 audio clip questions to guide the student. Each student gets their own archive page and can share their creations by email. Story Builder is designed to help children form paragraphs, integrate ideas, and make higher-lever abstractions from inferences.
9. Grace - Grace help autistic and other special needs children communicate by building sentences from relevant images. Students can easily customize the app by using picture and photo vocabulary of their choice. The application works in real time and allows the user to select their preferences, then (on iPhone) rotate the device to present a full-sized sentence to the listener – who will read it with them and respond to their request. The beauty of Grace is that it makes sure that the interaction of the user with the listener, and mutual understanding of the user’s real needs help to increase communication opportunities and build trust.
8. iCommunicate for iPad - If your child is suffering from ASD or visual challenges, then this app is a perfect educational tool for them. It allows the student to create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, visual schedules and record custom audio in any language they desire.
iCommunicate for iPad includes over 100 pictures (first 5 have audio) to get you started. You can even add pictures with your camera or use Google image search. iCommunicate for iPad and iPhone is available at $29.99 only. It is so versatile that we could get a Google image of Itsy Bitsy Spider and all he has to do is touch the picture and he is rewarded with a song!
7. First Then Visual Schedule - The app allows a student with ASD to create visual schedules that offers positive support through the use of images that show daily events(i.e. morning routine or therapy schedule) or steps needed to complete a specific activity, (i.e. using the restroom).
First-Then Visual Schedule is useful in that it is completely customizable to each user’s needs. Users can add personal voice recordings and images directly from their computer or iPhone camera (in addition to the images in the application’s stock library) to create their individualized schedule. This personalization allows for schedules to be created and updated on the go, helping transition through unexpected changes in a daily routine.
Extremely useful for individuals with developmental delays, Autism Spectrum Disorders, communication problem or those who benefit from a structured environment; visual schedules serve to increase independence and lower anxiety during transitions through different activities. First-Then Visual Schedule is available at the App Store for $9.99. It is currently offered in English, and is compatible with iPhone and iPod Touch.
6. iConverse - It is an iPhone and iPod touch application that functions similarly to a picture exchange communication system (PECS), which is designed specifically for autistic individuals, and individuals who suffer from other communicative disabilities.
iConverse is equipped with 6 built in communication tiles – each representing a person’s most basic needs. When activated by touch, the icons give both an auditory and visual representation of the specific need or want. You can even create your own tiles, use the built in text-to-speech engine, or record your own voice!
5. AutismExpress - People with ASD experience trouble interpreting emotions and understanding what different facial expressions may represent. Autism Xpress is a app of no cost to you and encourages students with the lifelong disorder to recognize and express emotions. This app was created out of need to help autistic kids to be able to play while they learn, to stay fully engaged during repetitive conditioning. The creators had a lot of exposure to Autism, one of them is a teacher, and to people dealing with autism on a daily basis.
4. iWriteWords- iWriteWords teaches your child handwriting while playing a fun and entertaining game. Help Mr. Crab collect the numbers in sequence by dragging him with your finger – and drawing the letter at the same time. Once all the letters in the word are drawn properly, a cute drawing appears. Tilt your iPhone or iPod Touch and watch the letters slide into the rotating hole and advance to the next level.
3. MyTalk Mobile – This is another educational app for your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. It enables students with ASD and with communication difficulties to express their needs and desires to those around them through the use of images, pictures, symbols and audio files including human voice.
It literally turns your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch into an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device. Its unique feature MyTalk Workspace backups up all the information and you can easily recover, in case your device is broken. Available only for $39.99.
2. AAC SpeechBudy - The AACSpeechBuddy solution allows users to quickly and easily create customized Speech Sets using their own photos or collected images, or using images from the AACSpeech.com image repository. Users can also share content with each other , allowing Teachers & Parents to create and share Speech Sets – that can be loaded onto the AACSpeechBuddy APP
1. TocaBoca- Let your child apply a bandage or examine a patient with Toca Doctor, send out invitations and set a table with Toca Birthday Party, or cut, color, and style hair with the Toca Hair Salon — just a few user-friendly apps in the Toca Boca app series. Many of the apps take real-life scenarios and allow children to create their own stories. The app provides great interaction, appealing characters, and role play.
The leading copywriter of many of the articles on our site aspires to enlighten his readers. As a graduate with an honours B.A. degree, he proudly shares his insight with his readers and takes pride in his published work. “The aim is not just to amuse, but to educate the readers on contemporary issues in today’s society,” he concludes.