There are hundreds of autism apps on the market. Everyone has them and every time you blink, there’s another one on the market. Never before have we had access to so much information!
Of course, there are pros and cons to this. I mean it’s great to have options and all, but too many can be just plain overwhelming! So for many parents, it’s a constant process of trial and error trying to find what works.
But I’ll let you in on something. To be totally honest, you’re not alone. We therapists have to go through the same thing! We know how particular your situation can be, and we know that it’s never a “one app fits all” scenario. No one thing works for everybody.
Knowing that, I am proud to say that I’m a double dipper. I’m both a parent and practitioner. And from my experience in both realms, I’ve come across some really useful tools I’d like to share. And if you’re a high functioning individual with autism or if you have a loved one that is, you’ll want to read this.
As you navigate autism, you’re always looking for things to make life more manageable. And when you find something that works, boy does it make a difference!
So I’ve found a few apps to be very helpful to high functioning individuals. And maybe you’ll find them to be helpful as well, so here we go!
(Autism Toolbox – Social Skills)
We all know how important social skills are to basic human interaction. Yet, sometimes teaching these core skills can be quite a challenge nonetheless.
Well, this app seeks to bridge the gap by providing the tools to help children learn social skills. The goal of the app is to get the child accustomed to interacting in a variety of different situations. The app provides appropriate strategies depending on the age of the individual.
One of the pluses is that the app covers many of the everyday situations that children find themselves in. These include at home, school, restaurants, salons, stores, the park and more. You can begin to imagine the nuances of social skill that each environment requires.
As a therapist, I can affirm that having this kind of environmental variety is essential. Why? Well whenever teaching a new skill, you want to make sure that it occurs in more than just one environment. That’s how you know the behavior has generalized. The only way that generalization happens is if there are different environments.
So depending on the age of the child and the setting, the autism app gives different strategies to use. The app also provides readings that correspond with each topic areas. So as the user gets repeated exposure to different settings, they become familiar. And as the app guides the user, social skills improve.
Got anxiety? Well if you or your loved one does, this might just be the app to help. The app was designed with teens and young adults in mind. And simply put, the goal is for the individual to find ways to face rather than avoid anxiety.
The app helps you understand anxiety by first giving a definition. It also gives a description of what’s going on internally when you’re anxious. The app then guides you through a coping plan to help you to deal with anxiety.
The first step is to add the various situations that cause you anxiety. Here you can rate your level of anxiety on a scale of 1-10. Here it includes a list of symptoms to select from that describe your body’s reaction to anxiety.
The app then guides you through thinking positive and helpful thoughts so that you can cope. Being that one’s thinking is critical to anxiety, you’re able to rate your thoughts as red, yellow or green. The goal is to go from unhelpful thoughts (red) to helpful thoughts (green).
Within the app are different strategies to manage and cope with anxiety. There is an active steps checklist that gives specific things you should be doing to cope. Also, you can have autism apps like this speak to you to give you tips on coping. There are also inspirational quotes, quick tips to help.
Overall, this app gives you a host of helpful tools you can use as you sense the onset of anxiety.
We all know quite well that keeping routines is a must. But being consistent can also be a major challenge. Well for those looking to be consistent with routines, this might just be the app! This main purpose of this autism app is to help children complete daily routines.
Now can you imagine not having to be the one to provide all the prompts and reminders? What if the app did that, and you’d just come in to provide the reward for a job well done? Well, there’s potential here!
The way the app is set up, you can assign various tasks to complete. You can also break a task down into smaller sections if needed. You’re able to set a time limit for each task or reminders for when each task is to be completed. You can also set up the reinforcers your child can choose from when they complete the task.
Besides the “Schedule” board, there is a “Waiting” board. This purpose for this board is to guide the individual though appropriate waiting. There’s also a board for “Feeling,” which helps individuals better communicate their emotions.
The app comes with a host of preloaded images and audio. But if you’d like, you can personalize it by uploading your own images and record your own audio. You’ll also have the option to set up multiple users. So overall, there are many options for teaching important skills with autism apps.
If you want to keep your mind engaged, and you like problem-solving challenges, this might be for you. This particular app offers a one-stop shopping experience for puzzle lovers. The app is a collection of several logical puzzles, each having a different objective. Some puzzles are less complex and easy to learn and there are also more challenging ones. As you complete each level in each game, you advance to a more difficult level.
For example, with the “Connect” game, the goal is to draw a line to connect to another box of the same color. There are several different colors to connect. The tricky part is, you’ll need to draw the lines in such a way that the different colored lines don’t cross. In addition, a line needs to cross every space on the board to complete the level.
With “Escape,” the objective is to get a designated block through the exit. To do so, you’ll need to slide other blocks out of the way to get to the exit.
With “Rolling Ball,” the goal is to guide a ball from the starting point to the end point. To do so, you’ll need to connect the appropriate blocks to create a channel for the ball to roll through. As you complete each level in each game, the next gets more challenging. So whether it’s to occupy your mind for a while or to put your problem-solving skills to the test, Puzzledom is a great option.
Conclusion of Autism Apps
These autism apps target several areas that are relevant to individuals with autism. Hopefully, you’ll find something to be useful. At EDU Autism, our goal is to resource you to thrive in parenting your child with special needs. And this is why we look for useful resources that we can pass along to you. We understand the challenges that come along with your autism journey. And more importantly, we know how powerful the right help at the right time can be. We hope you continue to find help here!
A.D. Daisley holds a Masters Degree from the University of Central Florida and has been working in the field as a Behavior Analyst since 2005. He has provided services to children and adults with varying diagnoses such as autism, mental retardation, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). His scope of experience also includes coordinating therapy to individuals and families in conjunction with other supports including School Teachers, Adult Day Training Facility Staff (ADT’s) and Speech/Occupational therapists. He is the Director and Behavior Analyst at Alternative Outcomes since 2007. A.D is also the Director of Creátre, a non-profit organization that uses the arts for the purpose of skill training, outreach and to display community leadership.