Autism impacts all communities but the Latino community, in particular, suffers from a lack of access to information among other issues that can affect if and when children are diagnosed. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 1 in 54 children have been diagnosed with some form of autism. Although symptoms are different from person to person, they usually include speech delays, difficulty expressing emotions, and poor motor skills. Many parents may think that getting help for their child is expensive but thanks to smartphones, they now have easy and (sometimes) inexpensive access to necessary resources to support their children with autism. We are sharing some of the best apps for autism in hopes that they will help parents and teachers positively impact future generations to come.
MITA Language Therapy for Kids
Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA) is used for children with autism and language delay by developing imagination and language functions through visual exercises. It begins with showing children objects and having them identify multiple features of that object, such as color. The exercises gradually get more difficult and ask children to identify multiple features such as color, size, and shape. As time goes on, the app moves into puzzles and higher forms of language. This app is free, easy to use and is available in 11 languages.
ABC Autismo has a ton of colorful and educational activities for children to do every day. This app supports the learning process of autistic children and is used by teachers, psychologists, and therapists. It uses TEACCH methodology focusing on addressing challenges with attention and brain function and verbal and social communication. It’s available in three languages: English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Endless Reader is a free app that focuses on reading at an early age. The app uses “sight words” and cute monster characters to help kids achieve reading fluency. The words come with interactive puzzles and as they describe what they see, each letter or figure comes alive. For example, the app will show the word “up” and have kids reach for the sky. Kids can enjoy the app at their own pace and there are scores or limits while they play.
Kid in Story
Kids in Story is a fun app for parents, teachers, and kids. You can customize your very own storybook with photos of you kids and make them the main character. There are templates available or you can create from scratch. The app has green-screen technology that can identify your child’s face and instantly insert them into the photo on the screen. This app allows kids to create stories, prepares them for new and different situations, and describes emotions using text and images.
Social Learning Platform
Social Learning Platform offers videos, games, and activities that therapists use as tools for children with disabilities. Although this app is a bit pricey (either $34.99 or $19.99), they do offer a 30-day free trial and options for monthly payments. The materials that are available on the app are categorized into three different levels so you can find one that best fits their needs. One of the best parts of this app is that it offers tools for children ranging from Pre-K and Kindergarten all the way to high school.
Children with autism tend to struggle with their emotions so the Calm Counter app can help them regulate how they are feeling. When a child becomes angry or anxious, the Calm Counter app has visual and audio tools to help them calm down. Once you open the app a “I need a break screen” pops up. If you tap the screen you will hear it say “I need a break.” It starts with a red screen and an angry face, as you continue to tap the phone or tablet, it transitions to a calmer face and color. There is also a story available that talks about angry feelings and what you can do to help yourself.
Headspace for Kids
It can be a challenge for kids with autism to stay in control of their emotions so Headspace for Kids can help them regulate the way they think at an early age. Headspace for Kids focuses on meditation and is currently participating in several research studies with large national institutions to show that mindfulness meditation is an effective way for children and adults to manage their emotions. Kids and their parents can use this app together by engaging in fun activities such as breathing exercises, visualizations, and meditation. This app works great for kids up to 12 years old.
Otsimo helps kids with their motor and cognitive skills by utilizing matching, drawing, and sound games. This app uses Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) which helps kids express their feelings or thoughts without talking. AAC is a common practice among speech therapists and special education teachers. The app offers interactive games for any level and parents have access to report cards that track their child’s performance.
Proloquo2Go is a great app for children who can’t speak or need help being understood. This app utilizes AAC and builds language skills in children at any level of communication. Among professionals it’s considered the gold standard in AAC technology which is why it’s $249.99.
LetMe Talk is a free app that also uses ACC to support communication among kids with autism and other learning disabilities. This app allows kids to organize images and read them as a sentence. The app has more than 9,000 images but you can add your own images by taking photos on your phone. LetMe Talk does not require an internet connection or a mobile contract.