Parents - Are you aware of the great autism apps available for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad? These apps can be of tremendous help to you and your child with ASD. Apple devices are cool and the apps are pretty inexpensive once you get the device itself. (The way I'm going on here you'd think iOwnstockinthecompany. A little Apple humor. I couldn't resist!)
Let me paint you an example; If your child is non-verbal consider that purchasing an augmentative and alternative communication device like a DynaVox costs thousands of dollars. Then consider the iPod Touch with the smallest memory capacity will run you about $240 after tax. And that model will do you just fine. Then $10-$200 more for the appropriate apps. There's really no comparison when it comes to price. And functionality tends to be just as good. Did I mention how much cooler these little Apple devices are? Oh yeah!
I bought an iPod Touch around the end of February 2010. My intentions were selfish, I'll admit. I didn't buy this thing with autism in mind. But I'm amazed with some of the apps you can purchase. I had no idea! Don't let me lose you - 'apps' is just another word for applications or programs. I bought my iPod for web surfing, e-mail, and music, but now I'm all about the apps! (UPDATE: As of Sept. 2010 my son has an iPad.)
If you don't know, the iPod Touch is essentially an iPhone minus the phone and GPS which are both standard on the iPhone. But the iPhone also comes with a monthly bill. Being anti-cell phone and anti-monthly bill, I opted for the iPod Touch. The apps are compatible with both iTouch and iPhone and they are increasingly becoming compatible with the iPad. Since I'm already getting tired of typing 'iPod Touch' I'm going to call it an iTouch for the remainder of this article.
Let me review several of the apps, which I hereby dub 'autism apps'. But make no mistake - these apps can help children with varying disabilities, not just ASD. Many of these were developed by parents who have children with autism or similar disabilities. And, since I figure anybody can review the apps that are around 2 bucks or less I'm going to concentrate on the higher end. Generally those are the more relevant autism apps anyhow, and before dropping $10 to $200 you'll want to be edumecated.
If you're wondering why you should pay attention to my reviews rather than Joe Schmoe's reviews, well, I own all of the following apps and I have a technology background. They are all installed on my iTouch (and/or my son's iPad) so I have firsthand experience. I've used them. I've tested them. I've put them through the ringer. A big thank you to the developers of many of these apps who generously and freely gave me their products on the strength of Autism Epicenter and the fact that I spread the word here and through speaking engagements. THANK YOU!
With that said...
Some of the apps allow for the images to be enlarged to help those with motor skills challenges. But puff & sip devices won't work with them... yet!
As far as theft goes, I think many people (especially the children) are supervised well enough that theft shouldn't be an issue. AND there are also apps that turn iPods/iPhones into alarms, so IF they were grabbed a loud alarm is heard that cannot be turned off by anyone but the owner.
Still, I see your points though. An iPod isn't for everyone.
At the time I'm writing this comment M-CHAT is now $1.99, but at the time I wrote the original blog it was $26.99.
My wife and I bought an ipod nano so our son could watch his videos. He loves animated videos and cartoons. However, he found the scroll wheel difficult to control since he does have some fine motor problems.
When we saw how well our son was able to interact with the touch screen on my ipod touch we decided to get him one of his own. He now uses the ipod touch to watch his movies and play some basic games.
He uses the ipod touch at home but it is really valuable when we go out somewhere. It gives him something to do almost anywhere we go.
We are now looking into getting one of the communication apps. However, I wonder if he will avoid the communication app and go straight to his videos or games. Has anyone had any experience with individuals using both the communication apps and the entertainment apps?
Yes to your question...
What helps if you have one itouch for communication and one for gaming. Use two different colored cases so your son can visually see the difference. My son isn't interested in gaming, but for a friend that son is this did the trick.
Not cheap...but, might save your mind ;0)
I have found the cases from ihome work the best. Speaker control is on the outside and is more durable than the imaingo.(I think that is how it is spelled). You can buy them on Amazon.
@ Shane...thanks again for your wonderful website. You are a wealth of information and a real blessing to the ASD community. Thanks for taking the time to provide these resources to our families!!!!!!!!!!
I agree that the ipads can really help certain children and that new apps are being created all the time!
I would always suggest that an assessment by a Speech therapist can help to determine if a child is phsyically able to access an ipad manually, or via a switch or not. If not then alternative devices can be investigated!
I also agree that some of the apps have been poorly made and badly designed! There are some good webistes out there that are blogging and reviewing communication apps for more info just google :)
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