|First Then Visual Schedule|
by Good Karma
The first comes from a local Charlotte, NC publication called Exceptional Child. Writer Marty Minchin gets the scoop on apps for iPads, smart phones and even Leap Pads through interviews with autism experts and parents of autistic kids. They agree that new technologies are immensely helpful for specials needs children to learn to communicate, understand social cues, and even increase their IQs. Recommended apps include:
- Social Express, which helps kids learn about "social cues and facial expressions," an issue particularly challenging to autistic patients.
- Conversation Builder, a program that teaches kids to improve conversation exchanges with their peers.
- First Then Visual Schedule, a customizable calendar that helps kids plan their days.
- TapSpeak Button Plus for iPad, a program that gives a "voice to children with limited conversation skills."
- Preschool Monkey Lunchbox, a package of six educational games.
- Pictello, a digital photo album that helps kids capture their memories and share experiences with others.
On the national level, the news program 60 Minutes and a subsequent article citing the program in the "Gadgetwise" blog of the New York Times, feature how effective apps have been in helping kids with conditions from down syndrome to autism communicate, manage stress, and assimilate better into society. The NYT blog article shares online sites that review and recommend apps:
- Squidalicious.com, featuring apps for the iPad. The list is maintained by the mother of an autistic child.
- SNapps4kids.com by the Easter Seals includes apps that have been professionally reviewed by therapists and special education teachers.
- A4cwsn.com, with video reviews of apps produced by a father with special needs children.
- iAutism.info, a site that reviews apps for iPads and smart phones.
Local and national audiences alike are learning how apps can help special needs children develop skills and improve their lives. These technologies have put new tools in the hands of parents, teachers and therapists to help this special, and exceptional, population of kids. Myra Preston, a Charlotte neurophysiologist that treats special needs kids, says, "I've had parents tell me it's opened up a whole new world of communication for their children... It's giving them another tool that may allow them to more easily express themselves and be part of the world around them." (Exceptional Child)