Technology’s answer to autism
We’ve had quite a few parents post on our social networks thanking us for our Defender Series for the original iPad, iPad 2, new iPad, Galaxy Tab and Kindle Fire. It turns out that tablets are quickly becoming prominent educational tools for autistic children and their parents. With a number of apps focused on communication and education, parents have a world of opportunity to give their kids the help they deserve.
Proloquo2Go was the first real augmented communication app, released for iPhones in 2009. Learning methods known as AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) is making headway in the technology world, helping children with severe communication disorders to communicate. More and more apps are being designed based on this method of therapy.
AssistiveWare is the creator of Proloquo2Go and they say that 90% of AAC users have an iPad for communication, and more than 25% are using an iPhone or iPod Touch.
Dozens of assistance and education autism apps have sprung up on tablets and other devices running Google’s Android operating system as well. About 142 assistive apps have been released this year alone across multiple platforms.
Parents agree that the most appealing thing about the iPad is its mobility and accessibility to new tools. Before, learning a new skill or concept was limited to long time frames waiting on new flashcards, books or DVD’s from therapists. With tablets and smartphones all they have to wait on is a short download time.
With the ability to submit apps to Google Play and Apple, parents are now able to develop personalized apps for their children. The Brighter Futures for Beautiful Minds (BFBM) Foundation is a great resource, giving parents, therapists and educators help in turning their idea into an application. Their app and website, Wonkido has a series of animations dedicated to specific social skills such as “asking to play” and “going potty.”
Dr. Oliver Wendt, assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at Purdue University says that “(The iPad) is revolutionizing the augmentative communication field.” Before, the only tools in existence were expensive, bulky items which are easily replaceable by a tablet. The equipment that was used previously could cost $9,000 to $15,000 while a tablet can be purchased for as little as $100. A majority of the apps out there are paid apps that cost .99 cents, but there are also in-depth learning apps that can cost $299.99. This may sound expensive, but compared to tools of the past, it’s a lot more affordable and quite exciting for the autism community.
Are you a parent in the autism community? What tools are you using in your child’s education? Please share with us in the comments below.