Posted by: lennabo | May 5, 2011

Apps for Autism?

April was Autism Awareness month and with a loved one carrying the disorder, graphic artist for the Time-Tribune, Kevin O’Neil realizes the many social limitations that a child has with autism. He discuses all the help that goes in to taking care of a child with these special needs and questions what he would do without the help, or even if this help is really making a difference at all?

O’Neil found some hope when he noticed improvement in autistic children when using apps on the Iphone, Ipad or Ipod. Most of these are special education apps used to help autistic children communicate more easily in social environments. Although these apps will never be the “end all cure” they will certainly help, which is always appreciated when dealing with a children with special needs.

When you access the App store on ITunes and go to the special education section, there is many apps ranging from $189-$30.  Some are free, but O’Neil recommends not using those since they are littered with “annoying prompts to upgrade to the next version.” Because O’Neil’s son is autistic and has a speech impairment, he downloaded Baby ASL, an app that helps teach sign language to autistic children by uses common words with flashcards. There were other apps that O’Neil mentioned like Look-2- Learn that helps the child associate pictures with words so they can use them in social settings to describe their wants and needs.

The cool aspect of Look-2-Learn is that it is customizable, you can upload pictures of your child’s room, favorite toys, foods, and whatever they associate themselves with on a daily basis. You can even upload a picture of them as the person being associated with the item (a.k.a an apple) to help them understand the social process and connection to their environment.

This is a very innovative idea for parents with autistic children, it’s a great way to use the latest technology to truly make a difference and impact in someone’s life. If these new apps really end up helping these children get through their daily lives, it is amazing to believe what else they can do to influence our future.

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