Technology | Apps for Autism and Other Special Needs
If you’re reading this article, you are almost certainly a regular user of the Internet. You may even be reading this article on an iPad or similar device. You’re probably also someone who cares deeply about children. One or more of those children may be on the Autism spectrum.
According to the most recent reports by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 88 children have Autism.* This number continues to grow while the answers to questions like “Why does my child have Autism?” and “What causes Autism?” continue to be elusive to us all. While the number of kids with Autism continues to increase, fortunately, so do the tools and techniques for helping these kids live natural and more independent lives. Many of those tools are “apps for Autism.”
Apps and Technology for Special Needs
A common complaint is that good apps are hard to find. In the earliest days of “apps for Autism” there were many apps that weren’t all that useful. Many of them seemed only to exploit the wallets of parents who were simply trying to find good educational tools and games for their children. However, following a few years of the app market maturing, and software developers getting a better handle on how to best leverage both the intuitive touch-interface and the low cost of iPads and similar devices, this is changing.
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Finding apps for special needs doesn’t have to be difficult.
A few apps to consider for kids on the autism spectrum are:
- All About Me Story Book ($2.99)
- Injini Child Development Game Suite Lite (FREE)
- My Pictures Talk ($4.99)
- Panda Pal Autism Communication System Lite (FREE)
If you’d like to find more apps, visit www.BridgingApps.org. This is a an amazing, non-profit effort, spearheaded by Easter Seals in Houston, Texas and includes the “Insignio” app tool which allows parents to set the parameters that best describes their child’s needs and abilities and then scours the web for apps that are the most appropriate. It not only includes apps for the iPad (and other iOS devices like the iPhone and iPod touch), but also includes apps for Android devices. It includes many reviews from speech pathologists, special educators and other assistive technology professionals. There is even a list of funding resources to assist in covering the cost of these devices and apps. If you have a child with special needs and you are interested in how to use an iPad or similar device with them, Bridging Apps is a resource you must check out.
In addition to being a regular contributor to Prime Parents Club, and the host of the “Fathers Over Forty” podcast, Wade Wingler, ATP, is the Director of Assistive Technology at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indianapolis.
Image David Castillo