Best Apps for Kids with Autism
With more than 580 autism-related apps in iTunes and over 300 for Android, how do you find the best apps for kids with autism? Apps change all the time, updating, new apps are added, and we have seen so many apps that once existed to be no longer. To be as useful to you as possible we have found some of the best collections of apps for kids with autism so you can ensure you have access to the best apps, in one places rather than spending hours trawling through different websites and reviews.
The Learning App Guide
The learning app guide says it is, “ideal for choosing educational apps for students with autism, language disorders, reading disorders, hearing impairment and other diverse learning needs.” It is a focus on apps for kids aged between 2 and 12 years old. They lay out their categories in boxes defined by the below areas.
- Apps focused on behaviours like reward charts, group reward systems (for teachers) and other ways of helping kids to focus on good practices and making good choices as well as task following.
- Social skill guide apps that seem centred around helping kids identify social cues and supporting them in showing consideration in social situations, interaction supporting others ideas etc
- Literacy apps that offer support to help kids with autism with learning to read, phonics apps, letter recognition apps and other typical literacy apps.
- Language guide apps that from a glance seem mainly about word placement. For example, my daughter often says things like, “You don’t do it right, so you can’t help me, that’s why” Vs, “I don’t want your help if because you don’t do it right”. possibly a poor example but it’s all about how to put words into a sentence so that it makes sense.
- Sensory Guide apps which centre around calming kids with bubble popping apps and other such ideas that allow a child to focus and remove themselves from their sensory alarm.
- Emotional guide apps which is one of their most exciting categories with lots of apps helping children to be self-aware of their emotions, how they are feeling and build a dialogue and words around that.
- The creating guide is about content and speech around using photos. This selection is for children with speech difficulties and kids who are non-verbal.
- Their early language apps are lots of game-related apps like Toca which help kids to identify common themes and words and concepts like animals and hairdressing, cooking and many more.
This online guide also curates these apps into lists like apps for late talkers and other useful collections. Being a source of apps used by professionals makes it worth collaborating with your child’s therapist to find out the best practice in using the apps with your child. You can view each app right down to the skills expected to be gained by the app usage as well which will be helpful in ruling out those that don’t apply to your child.
Website: Best Autism Therapy
Autism Apps for Ipads
The Autism Association of Western Australia has created a useful website which supports parents in how to use Ipads effectively to support their child with autism. It includes therapist reviews of apps, tips for selecting useful apps depending on your need and where possible they have included tablet android options.
Website: Autism Apps
Autism Speaks Apps
Autism speaks offers a collection of apps for kids with autism making it really clear what category each app falls into, (language, maths etc.) whether they are android or apple or both. What we like most about their app collection is that they add a research column that provided information about whether the apps results are proven in research, anedotally or if they come with no known data. For some parents, this kind of quantification is essential to investing time in an electronic tool and is rare in app reviews. The website also displays the age group most likely to benefit, and they have a helpful search function so you can filter the apps most likely to help you according to age and focus.
Website: Autism Speaks
Craig Smith is a teacher and has generously curated a best practice list he uses in his teaching to support students with Autism. What we liked about his collection was the way he showed how he implemented them and where he saw value. This includes some literacy apps but also apps like the Toca collection and how to use these to add value. As we all know, sometimes kids are more likely to engage in the apps which present as games so it is helpful to understand how to make the most of these experiences.
Even though these apps pertain to use in the classroom, you can easily see how they can be used in the home. For example, he has identified an app which provides a visual schedule of the week which would have been helpful when my son was a toddler, moving activities visually into their day of the week so kids can be in control and aware of what is happening. I found this list to have apps I didn’t see elsewhere and offering the most value due to the explanations given.
Website: App toolbox
Don’t waste your time searching for “apps for kids with autism” because these websites offer the best collections. We found that even the government resources link to these collections as best practice sources. Please feel free to comment below with any specific apps or feedback on these websites.
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