Communication is key for learning, and children with ASD can struggle with verbal and nonverbal communications as well as social interactions. Touch screen devices such as the Iphone and Ipad, provide a world of applications or “apps” that can allow a child with ASD to learn how to effectively communicate and socialize. These applications offer visual, interactive, and educational ways to help improve the child’s communication level. There are also applications that will help the child in certain traditional subjects in school, as well as help in regulating emotions. These applications do not replace what a child can learn through in-person social interaction, but rather provide extra help in achieving excellent communication skills.
These touch screen devices allow the child to practice these skills anywhere, including school, therapy or at home. The flexibility of these devices can allow the child to practice communication skills in a variety of settings, being able to adapt to different environments and situations. Below are a list of Autism-focused applications that provide an alternative way of learning communication skills, educational subjects, and social interactions.
*As of 2016 this list was current, but the app marketplace is constantly evolving. New options may have emerged since this list was created.
- Sight Words by Teach Speech Apps – Simple flash-card style app that helps children learn to read
- Communicate Easy by Pluja Apps Limited – Visual prompts in addition to sound and video cards. You can add your own picture cards
- Avaz – Free AAC App for Autism – Provides a voice for children with complex communication needs
- Learn with Rufus: Fun and Games – Several educational apps to choose from
- Activity Timer – several versions to choose from. Can help prepare child for upcoming transition between activities
- Proloquo2Go-Symbol-Based AAC-Picture, text, and keyboard functions for message formulation
- A Present for Milo by Ruckus Media Group – Interactive story about a cat and mouse
- Tiny Hands Apps – Several different free applications available for children three and under – learn shapes, colors, matching, counting, etc.
- Fisher Price – Several apps for toddlers
- ABC Coloring Book by June Blossom – Children learn the alphabet while coloring and exploring their creativity.
- Touch & Say by Interbots – Learn to recognize colors, emotions, songs, and directions
Emotion Regulation and Social Interactions:
- Autism Emotion – Model Me Kids, LLC – Teach children emotions with pictures and music
- Breathing Bubbles by Momentous Institute – Emotion regulation and breathing exercises
- Breathe, Think, Do by Sesame Street – Teach child to regulate emotions, learn patience, and think of solutions to problems
- Super Stretch Yoga HD – The Adventures of Super Stretch, LLC – Children move their bodies, learn breathing exercises
- Board Communicator – AAC Speech Aid
- Model Me Going Places 2 by Model Me Kids, LLC – Visual teaching tool to help children learn appropriate behavior in the community
- The Social Express by The Language Express, Inc – Teaches children and young adults to manage social interactions
- Choiceworks- Helps children complete daily routines and tasks, understanding and controlling feelings and improve patience.
- I Can Have Conversations With You!– Helps children with conversation and social skills by providing a unique solution to parents who want to empower their child to initiate, understand, and participate in conversations.