About the Apps
The earliest years of a child's life are the most sensitive in the process of development. Quality early intervention services for all children have proven to increase cognitive, social, behavioral, and self-regulatory skills. The earlier a child has access to the world around them, and to quality opportunities for learning and growth, the greater they ultimately benefit.
The iPad has revolutionized teaching and learning in particular for children with autism. However, knowing what apps to use can be a veritable minefield. A lot of apps can be extremely expensive. The following list of apps takes into account cost, as well as address one of the five areas that are commonly addressed in preschool-aged children with autism. These areas include pre-academic, communication/speech, social skills, fine motor, and sensory. While no two children with autism are alike, this list of apps can be used with any child on the spectrum.
Address a child's pre-academic skills with Alien Buddies. Children learn to identify and match colors, shapes, numbers, and letters while rescuing aliens. Its ease of use, cute interface, fun and engaging reinforcement make this a versatile app that can be easily tailored to meet a variety of pre-academic needs, and can grow with a child as they progress. Plus, the repetitive nature of the gameplay is neither distracting or boring for a young child.
Address communication skills with VAST Autism 1: Core. Children with autism often respond well to visual cues. VAST Autism 1 contains videos of basic words that can be used to help teach children pre-communication skills, provided that they have some pre-requsite skills. For non-verbal children with autism, an Augmentive and Alternative Communication (AAC) app, such as Proloquo2Go, is an alternative.
Social skills can cover a variety of topics from learning what the expectation is within an environment to reading non-verbal body language, including facial expressions. Faces iMake - Premium allows for young children to learn about and play with facial expressions in a hysterical way! If you remember Mr. Potato Head and enjoyed playing with it, your child will most definitely enjoy Faces iMake - Premium!
Address fine motor skills with Dexteria Jr.. Squish the squash, trace and erase lines, and pinch the chills while tracking accuracy and progress. The interface is perfect for young children, and parents will enjoy the less clinical feel of this app.
Everyone needs to relax and chill sometimes. Children with autism are no exception, and can have unique sensory needs. Art of Glow provides both a visual and tactile stimulation that keeps children with autism engaged, calm, and interacting with the app. It's an appropriate way to provide a sensory outlet on the iPad.
If you think I missed a stellar app, or have other recommendations for relevant ones that you've used, please do comment below!
Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.
How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.