Autism has become very prevalent in today’s society and consists of various combinations of communication difficulties, social struggles, and stereotypical and repetitive behaviors. When caught young, an Autism diagnosis can be revoked with the proper amount of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy and social learning. For many children, part of this education is learning to speak and convey what they want and need. In these instances, access to technology can make all the difference.
Many mobile applications positively impact the communication and learning processes of children with Autism. By continuously creating apps that encourage speech and enhance knowledge, our community has made it easier than ever to provide aid to those individuals who need it the most. Below you will find what we believe to be some of the best uses of technology supporting Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC).
Proloque2Go™: Proloque2Go™ is one of the most popular mobile apps impacting the Autistic community. Created by AssistiveWare® and sold through iTunes for your iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, this app lets you customize words and phrases that can combine into full thoughts. By categorizing nouns, verbs, adjectives and feelings into certain sections (such as At School, Activities, and Foods), individuals can navigate and convey what they want and need easier than ever. All words and phrases are represented by an image that you can choose from the picture bank or customize from your personal collection of photos stored on your device. Once a visual/word pairing is clicked, the short phrase is transferred to the running header where an individual can click to actually voice their request or command through the device speakers. Although this app costs $189.99, it provides an opportunity for Autistic children to share their feelings and connect with you in a way they never could before.
iPrompts®: Venturesoft™ has created a great picture prompt and timer application with iPrompts®. For $39.99 you can introduce this program to a child affected by Autism and demonstrate how they may slide through the picture cues to show a request. iPrompts® is also useful for backing up a verbal command placed on a child. Visuals provide a powerful reinforcer for voiced instructions and are sometimes all a child needs to understand what it is they are being asked to do. This app is great for parents and caregivers who are constantly on the go since a built in timer has been added to count down the allotted time the person has to brush their teeth or put on their shoes. With this feature, an individual can visualize what they need to do and how fast to move in a simple and easy to understand way.
ABA Flash Cards: ABA Flash Cards is brought to us by Kindergarten.com and is a free warehouse full of hundreds of pictures and definitions. Although helpful to any child learning
emotions, activities, sports, and so on, ABA Flash Cards is especially helpful to those children with Autism who are catching up on the lessons their peers may have already learned. Visual flash cards are a great way to incorporate a picture with a feeling, verb, noun, or adjective and this app makes it easier to teach a child on the go. In addition, because ABA Flashcards are stored in one organized and convenient location, they are a great alternative to homemade flashcards that can get lost, jumbled, and take up space.
Talking Tom: Everyone loves Tom – a cat who comes with this free OutFit7 mobile app and imitates every sound you make. His funny voice gives an enjoyable incentive to interact verbally and encourages children with Autism to talk in a setting that doesn’t feel like learning. This app is great to let your child unwind while still practicing their speech.
The above mobile applications provide set plans for engaging and communicating with your loved ones affected by Autism and make it easier than ever to provide learning at the tip of their fingers. With the aid of technology, the efforts to reduce Autism diagnoses are doubled and we look forward to the future inventions that will further support this cause.
By: Dana Andersen, Creatine Marketing