Teachers and doctors are using iPads as a tool to reach out to children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome and the results are remarkably great. 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.
Photo Credit: Kelly Nikolaisen
Those who don’t know, Autism is a lifelong disability that affects the way a person communicates and relates to other people and the world around them. Those affected typically display major impairments in three areas: social interaction, communication and behavior (restricted interests and repetitive behaviors). 1 in 160 children have 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.
Proloquo2Go – A must have app that provides you with a full-featured augmentative and alternative communication solution for autistic children who have difficulty speaking.
It contains text-to-speech voices, up-to-date symbols, powerful automatic conjugations, a default vocabulary and much more. Proloquo2Go is considered as a good alternative against buying an expensive AAC device. Even SLPs, teachers and parents recommend it for children and adults with autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, developmental disabilities, apraxia, ALS, stroke or traumatic brain injury. Proloque2Go app for iPhone and iPad is available for $189.99.
Grace – Gracefully help autistic and other special needs children to communicate effectively by building sentences from relevant images to form sentences.
You can easily customize the app by using picture and photo vocabulary of your 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. You can currently have up to eight cards in a ‘sentence’, and the cards are large enough on iPad to not need a full-screen view.
The beauty of Grace is that it ensures 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. The Grace iPhone app was designed by Lisa Domican, a mother of two autistic children in Ireland. Grace for iPhone and iPad is available for $37.99.
iCommunicate for iPad – If your child is suffering from autism or visual challenges then this app is for you. It allows you to create pictures, flashcards, storyboards, routines, visual schedules and record custom audio in any language.
iCommunicate for iPad comes packed with 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. One of the users said –
“A must have if your child has autism! I have a number of apps downloaded on my iPad for my autistic son, and iCommunicate is by far the most useful and easy to use. My son is only 26 months old, yet he is able to enjoy the program. 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!”
First Then Visual Schedule – The app allows you to create visual schedules that provide positive behavior 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 unique in that it is completely customizable to each user’s individual 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 a 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.
iConverse – It is an iPhone and iPod touch application that functions much like a picture exchange communication system (PECS) designed specifically for autistic individuals, and individuals with other communicative disabilities.
iConverse comes packed with 6 built in communication tiles that represent 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! iConverse app for iPhone and iPad is available for $9.99.
AutismExpress – People with autism have trouble interpreting emotions and understanding what different facial expressions may represent.
Autism Xpress helps autistic individuals to recognizes and express their emotions through its fun and easy to use interface (see the image above). The ‘Autism Xpress’ iPhone Application is available for free!
stories2learn – It is perfect app to create personalized social stories using photos, text, and audio messages for autistic kids having communication difficulties who need support with excursions, routings, or transitions. In order to create stories just arrange the pictures in a sentence.
These stories can be used in improving the social skills for students with social learning challenges. Stories2learn can be effective for individuals who benefit from a high degree of structure such as students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or others with special needs that thrive on these visual supports. Stories2learn app for iPhone and iPad is available for $13.99.
MyTalk Mobile – Yet another useful app for your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad that enables people with communication difficulties to express their needs and desires to those around them through a variety of images, pictures, symbols and audio files including human voice.
It 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.
TapToTalk – It makes communication fun, like another “game” on this cool device. Just tap a picture and TapToTalk speaks. Each picture can lead to another screen of pictures.
TapToTalk allows you to create your own AAC albums to meet the specific needs of autistic child. Currently, TapToTalk includes a library of over 2,000 pictures. You can add your own pictures, photos and sounds. Albums created in TapToTalk Designer are “synced” over the Internet directly to your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. TapToTalk app is available for free.
iComm – It is a great visual teaching app for helping your child learn to communicate by providing an affordable, custom built and easy to use communication system using pictures and words – both written and spoken.
Specifically designed for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy or autism, who have trouble communicating. The iComm provides content for basic fundamental communication such as; yes, no, more and finished.
iPad is doing wonders and is helping out parents of children suffering from autism. Even Apple critic John Gruber said:
The iPad wasn’t designed with autistic children in mind, but, anecdotally, the results are seemingly miraculous.
If you have experienced any improvement in your child suffering from communication disability or have story to share, please share it via comment box.