Apps and Resources for Students on the Spectrum
April is World Autism Month, helping to spread awareness about a disorder that affects around 1 in every 160 children worldwide. While there is still so much that can be learned about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), new resources and technology for students on the spectrum continue to support their growth and learning. Below are a few of the best apps and resources to help families and educators in the Autism/Asperger community.
Staying organized is very important for children with ASD and their families. This for That is a scheduling app that helps children with ASD to perform daily routines independently, like washing hands or getting dressed. You can create visual schedules that separate tasks into simple steps, with visual cues to help children complete each step successfully. Additionally, TimeTimer is an iPhone App that offers easy to read, fully customizable visual timers that can be color-coded, named, and saved in order to be used on a daily basis.
Social and emotional support is especially crucial for students on the spectrum. ABA Flash Cards & Games - Emotions helps individuals with ASD to read and identify human emotions with a robust library of flashcards. You can add your own pictures or select from a collection of high-quality photos labeled with multiple examples of different emotions. In the mood for something on the iPad? FlummoxVision is a TV show aimed to engage and support kids ages 6 to 12 with social and emotional challenges. In each episode, Professor Gideon T. Flummox and his friends work to understand the actions of other people and navigate the perplexing social world. And beyond the world of apps and games, A Friend Like Henry is an inspiring book that tells the true story of a young boy with Autism who has a remarkable connection with his family's dog, Henry.
Storytelling and games can help children with Autism to find their voice and interact with the world in a different way. Pictello is a talking, visual story creator that is easy to use and aids in literacy skill development. On each page, you can add your own photos and use the text-to-speech option or record your own voice to tell a story. The collection can then be played page by page or as a slideshow. Camp Discovery is a game specifically geared towards students on the spectrum, allowing them to practice functional skills in an entertaining, but meaningful way. The app even provides options for students to personalize the animations they see on screen and for parents/teachers to receive updates on the child’s progress.
Leaning on the ASD community for support is essential for students and families alike. The Asperger/Autism Network and World Autism Organisation offer a wide variety of resources online, from support groups and doctor recommendations to leading research findings and information about Autism itself. Whether you, your child or your student have been diagnosed with ASD, learning everything you can about the disorder will help you to better understand Autism/Aspergers and all of the resources available.