Monday, August 6, 2012

Applied Science

Konner is a wiz with computers. This is something we learned at a very young age. We got him an iPod when he took over my iPhone a couple years ago. He learned how to look up his favorite programs and watch them on The problem is that the things on youtube are not always the best things for children. Why people will make a child’s program like Thomas the Train into something inappropriate for children on a free forum such as youtube is beyond me.
But I digress.
He recently received an iPad. Now I know what some of you might say, “You’re spoiling that child.”
Maybe, but we are also thinking about ways to help him with his many therapies. This is one of the
reasons we purchased the iPad for him. He was using one with his speech therapist and was doing very well with it.
I recently watched a segment on 60 Minutes telling about a 27 year-old man with autism used the iPad to communicate more efficiently with his mother. He was non-verbal and had used a laminated page full of letters to tell her what he was thinking throughout the years. The iPad and an app the family had found changed their way of communicating.
So, I am often asked what about some of the best apps for the iPad, iPhone, or iPod. While there
are several apps that we have used I want to talk specifically about one that every parent of a child
with autism needs to know about. Many may already know about it, but the Autism Apps app is very
informative and useful.
First of all it is easy to use, and has so many good apps to look through that it would take a long time just to go through the entire app. That doesn’t mean that it is hard to navigate though. You can find what you are looking for very easily.
According to the app: “Autism apps was created as a resource for anyone looking for apps for people
diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder, Down syndrome or other special need. Many people are
discovering the many uses that iPads, iPhones and iPod touches can have as tools and resources for
people diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder…though there are a multitude of apps in the app
store that many people diagnosed with (special needs) use and enjoy, they can be difficult to find.” This is why the creators developed this app.
The home screen brings you to several links you can click on. The first is the Featured button that will take you to all of the most used or more interesting apps out on the market. The next is a New button that will take you to all of the latest apps available. The Search button is self-explanatory, but allows you to search for specific areas that you may need. If you’re not sure which areas you need the next button is a Categories link. This one allows you to check out anything from alphabet apps, behavior and social skills, books, colors, communication, creative play, fine motor and writing skills, IEP, numbers, professionals, social stories, sensory, and speech to visual timers and schedules. If you need it it’s probably in this app. If you know an app and can’t find it on the Autism App you can use the Tell Us About an App button to help others.
Once you find an app that you might be interested in you can click on it and find information to help you make an informed decision about whether you download it or not. The links include price, a five-star rating system, a detailed explanation of the app and how it works, reviews from credible autism sites, and categories. Once you decide you want the app there is even a link to download it, or with a click you can email it to a friend.
The best part is that this app is free.
Many of these apps can be expensive. The particular app that the man on 60 Minutes used is almost
$200. However, when you realize that it has helped him to communicate with his mother in a way that he has never been able to before it is priceless. The good part is that most apps have a “lite” version, which is free version without all the bells and whistles, but you can at least get an idea of whether it will be useful before you shell out the money for it.

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