What’s App-ening? Using Technology and Apps for People with ASD

He does talk about the use of iPads as being a stim for some people with ASD and not a learning tool if used excessively or without supervision. Mr. Donahoo also states not all families can afford an iPad and therefore feel they are missing out. Over time, more support programs will likely become available the price of these devices is decreasing each year. (Remember how expensive VCR’s were when they first came out or digital cameras?)

I also came across this interesting blog post, written by a dad of five children, debating the points that Mr. Donahoo brought up in his blog. I liked his repsonse to Donahoo’s statement that while no two children with autism are alike and can use the iPad in the same way, this dad feels that schools can take this single platform and use it in a variety of ways and settings (i.e. social skills, scheduling, time management). Like any intervention though, there has to be some education and purpose behind what is being used with the person with autism.

What about apps – which ones should you use, when and with whom? In choosing any app, it has to be reviewed first. Look at the language level and difficulty of the app. Is there a lot of text which may not support a non-reader? Are the visuals clear and easy to understand? Are you using the app to target a specific skill? What is the reason for using this app with a certain person? Does the instructor needs additional support or training before introducing this app? These are valid questions to ask. Just because someone says they are using an app and it’s great, doesn’t mean it will suit every individual.

There was an excellent article written in the New York Times in their Gadgetwise section that provided great sites for apps that have been reviewed and assessed. One site that stands out is Apps for Children with Special Needs. They have a something called the A4 Project which is a collection of photographs and info. of children with special needs using INSTAGRAM and some info. on what apps they use and how they help. This information will be made into a book and published in the iTunes store for the World to see. It will be free for everyone to Download and will have your 3 favorite Apps included on your page. You must own an iOS device to be able to participate in this. Could be interesting!

We’ve added a Technology section to our links that lists websites, software, technology publications and apps. While the use of technology should not be a substitute for human interaction, it can provide another learning platform. There are many tech choices, affordable or free apps, and excellent websites which can provide individuals with a chance to work at their own pace, reinforce, and allow for repetition which is key in acquiring new knowledge and skills. We live in a high-tech world and it’s important that people on the autism spectrum can feel comfortable, familiar, manage and function in this world.

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