April is Autism Awareness month and a wonderful time to not only recognize this great cause but to also learn about interactive apps for children with this disability. Interactive apps are fun and educational for all children but research has shown that autistic children benefit from the touch reaction associated with interactive apps. The interest for the children of Autism is opening new doors for the former unsuccessful established ways of teaching on paper . The children are attracted to the interactive mechanism of lights, sound and movement which helps hold their short attention span. As explained on the EnableEducation website, ”
In the past, a non-verbal student, like 30% of people with autism, would communicate through a letter or picture board. A sheet of paper containing the letters A-Z, numbers, a few simple common words like “the” or “is”, or pictures of common objects would be laid out in front of the students, and they would be encouraged to gesture or point to letters or words to communicate. This could be incredibly frustrating for both parties, and can lead to students retreating, and giving up attempts to communicate.
Tablet computers have changed all that. People with Autism are now able to use mobile applications as their voice. Apps that use an intuitive and interactive menu structure allow people with autism to navigate and select the app’s pictograms with ease. This has led to a huge change in the quality of life for many people with autism. They now have a voice, and can make their thoughts and wishes known to those around them. This has led to the single biggest development for those with autism, their teachers, and their families…”
A number of app developers are offering these apps either free or at reduced prices for the month of April.
This website offers a great list of the apps with categories and explains “There are apps specifically designed for people with autism and other which are aimed to help people with special needs in general, and other that are totally generic.”
Offering free Autism apps for the all of April, this is great website and has a program giving away free IPads for children with special needs.
It is wonderful that technology can be used in such a powerful way to not only entertain but also to help special education in such a powerful way.