Published: 05 Aug, 2022
It fills us with great joy when decades of medical research are integrated with modern technology to make life enjoyable for the marginalized. You may have seen wonderful stories of lives being saved because of wearables like the Apple Watch. Another fine example of the fusion of technology with social good is Typewriter, which was first designed for blind people. But, its ease of use transformed it into an essential product for everyone.
The life of autistic children and adults has not been easy. Scientists so far have not been able to find what exactly causes autism. But there is no dearth of academic literature on the characteristics of autistic people. And in recent times, using this vast encyclopedia, product designers and medical researchers have designed some brilliant autism apps. These apps use clinically tested behavior theories that help autistic adults and kids learn a language effectively; comprehend social concepts; become self-aware about their emotions; develop empathy and manage their daily routine without anxiety.
It is a speech therapy app for non-verbal children and adults having language learning disabilities. This app is useful for kids with autism as well. The underlying working principle of ‘Words for Life’ is creating a distinct and consistent motor pattern for every word in the app. Kids pair a specific motor movement with the words and their sounds.
The inspiration for making unique motor patterns comes from the fact that a single motor movement is associated with the spoken word. Over time, with repeated use, motor patterns become automatic, and autistic children can quickly communicate without looking at a screen.
The app includes three levels of vocabulary. The first level has basic introductory words accessible with one tap. The other levels comprise transition words, verb forms, and 4000 words for forming grammatically correct sentences. Parents, teachers, and therapists can customize the word list to enrich the expressive power of non-verbal children.
The hallmark of any good app is how well it embraces inclusivity. Victor Papanek – a legendary designer – in his book ‘Design for Real World’ says that inclusive design is, in reality, design for the majority, contrary to our perception that inclusive design is concerned with the minority.
Words for Life embraces inclusive voices children can choose the voice which expresses their personality. Voices by Apple, Ivona, Almagu, and Acapela Tamira are free. These voices have both age and ethnicity diversity. Moreover, you can purchase any of your favorite voice collections that also support the Spanish language.
The app is available only for iPad and costs $300.
App store rating: 4 ⭐
Clinical data support mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA). It was tested for over 3 years on 6454 children with autism. This autism app uses Pivotal Response Treatment, a form of behavior therapy.
The aim of the app is the improvement of language, attention, and visual skill in children. It does so using interactive puzzles that, over time, improve the capacity of autistic children to assess better the full view rather than just focussing on details directly in front of their vision. In medical terms, autistic people have tunnel vision. That is, their vision takes in a lot of information from the center compared to peripheral details.
Mental imagery of objects helps better understand the language’s syntax, verb tenses, and other features. Both verbal and non-verbal puzzles in this app improve imagination ability. A child goes through simple – matching size and color – to complex puzzles in which it is instructed to place a large red chair behind the white dog or complete and match with the correct picture by giving the child separate parts of that image.
It is available on both App Store and Play Store. The app is free, but you can buy the premium to access the full library updated with new games every month. The graphics for children are nice, but UI needs improvement to make it easy for parents and therapists to use.
App Store Ratings: 4.4 ⭐
Play Store Ratings: 4.4 ⭐
Do you have similar ideas that could turn into mobile or web apps? We would love to assist you in the product development of your brilliant idea. Contact our mobile app development company and book a free consultation.
People with autism find it hard to make sense of time. Their short-term or working memory is weak compared to non-autistic people. Consequently, it is not easy to manage their day-to-day activities. When asked how long it has been since they had lunch or dinner, autistic people cannot re-create correct time intervals.
Todo Visual Schedule, as its name suggests, is an app to help autistic kids easily schedule and make sense of how their days and nights pass. It is a picture-based scheduler for the Apple watch. You can use it on iPhone and iPad as well.
How does this visual scheduler help kids?
App Store Ratings: 3⭐
Not available on Android
If you are interested in understanding the fusion of modern technology with healthcare. Read our blog on Augmented Reality: Healthcare.
The greatest challenge faced by autistic kids and adults is building healthy relationships. They lack social and communication skills like the inability to accurately understand others or even their own emotions. There have been consistent attempts to build good technological solutions to help children learn the behavior and intuition needed to build social relationships.
One such app is ‘Stories in Motion’. There are plans available for educators, schools, and home care. Children through this app participate in social narratives and make choices that move the story forward. By doing it, they learn about different social situations before it happens to them in reality. Kids understand empathy, body language, positive and negative dialogues, etc. Once the story is completed, they can print it out as a comic book. This helps reinforce crucial dialogues and citations.
Currently, there are 12 social concepts on which narratives are based:
Creating real-life scenarios in the digital world with limited choices is complex, and there is always a scope for more nuanced narratives. Nevertheless, it is a good tool for building emotional intelligence among autistic children.
The price for parents and homeschool educators is $12/ student for 12 months. Plans vary for schools and individual student licenses.
Platform: Web App
An app created by Yale scientists for teenagers and adults to understand and build emotional intelligence. It is helpful for autistic people as well. It is now well-known that self-awareness of emotions and what triggers them is crucial for wise decisions. And many of us lack the sensitivity to label and recognize the nuisances of emotions.
The Mood Meter’s main UI consists of a screen divided into four quadrants. Each quadrant is for one broad emotion differentiated by colors. Users can label 100 emotions on Mood Meter. The visual interface of the app is simple yet fun. The micro-animation on tapping a color is subtle and enough to delight children.
How does the app work?
App Store Ratings: 4.6 ⭐
Play Store Ratings: 4.1 ⭐
One of the best autistic apps to help kids grasp language – featured by App Store, Play Store, and organizations like Autism Speaks, Autism Parenting Magazine, etc. With this app, kids can engage with fun games based on numbers, words, animals, colors, etc., that help in strengthening cognitive, motor and communication skills. All games are designed using scientific behavior therapies.
Features of the app:
The app is free with an ad-less experience. Though, the premium version has some additional features like 2 new games every month, offline availablity, cross-platform support for up to 3 devices, etc.
App Store Ratings: 4.4 ⭐
Play Store Ratings: 4.3 ⭐
That was our curated list of best autism apps. Hope you find it helpful. If you have some good suggestions, message me on my Linkedin. We will add it to this list.
Copyright © 2023 NetMaxims Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
All Rights Reserved