According to recent surveys and statistics, 1% of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. Another study stays that one in sixty-eight American children have autism. Today, we want to talk about some ways that Android Apps can make living with, and caring for someone with autism.
Autism or autism spectrum disorder is a combination of conditions characterized by challenges with speech and nonverbal communications, social skills and repetitive behaviors. With a little bit of help most of the autistic people can become functioning adults that do not require any kind of assistance. Of course there are different ranges of autism spectrum disorder, so not all of these apps will be helpful for every person. However, I have consulted a psychiatrist while selecting the apps and they reassured me that these will, generally speaking, be helpful in one way or another.
Note: these apps were tested on a Sony Xperia Z smartphone with a custom ROM, but they should work just fine on any Android device that’s been properly updated.. The apps performed fine and there were no problems during testing. Some apps or features may require an active Internet connection but most of these are fully available offline. The apps are not in any particular order due to their highly varied nature.
1. Autism Therapy with MITA
Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism or shortly called MITA is a very unique, intervention app for children with autism. The app incorporates multiple puzzles that are designed to help children with mentally integrating multiple features of an object. For example, there are exercises regarding size of the objects, the color, or shape. As the child progresses further, they will be introduced to puzzles that are a bit more complex and combine multiple features. One of the best things about this app is that it is highly adaptive and delivers exercises that are easily completed by your child at any given time in their development. It also rewards the player with animated characters and other progress tokens, so they will stay more engaged and have fun while completing the exercises. I’d list this app first on the list of apps to try, simply because it is adaptive and engaging, but it also includes no fees, ads, or in-app purchases, making it a fairly risk-free option, with almost no barrier to entry. Pick it up in the Play Store and give it a try. If your child doesn’t engage with it, no harm done.
2. Awesomely Autistic Test
Developed by Simon Baron Cohen and his colleagues from the Cambridge Autism Research Center this app provides simple multiple-choice questions that give a clinical score known as the Autism Quotient. The AQ test aims to provide a simple screening mechanism that can be utilized by physicians and other caregivers to identify those who may be on the autism spectrum. This tool is not meant to diagnose clinically, but rather it is meant to give doctors a tool to gauge if a person should undergo formal autism evaluation. This test can also be used by parents who are concerned that there child may be autistic before going to doctor. The design of the app is very simple and it is quite easy to navigate through, so it can easily be used by parents.
3. Autism Parenting Magazine
Managing autistic children can be a handful, especially if one of the parents work full-time. Thankfully, these days there are many support systems in place not only for children with autism but also for their parents. Autism Parenting Magazine delivers a healthy forum for not only reading about autism but also participating in discussions. With more than 30,000 readers, this magazine provides ample support for parents and other family. You will also be able to seek advice from respected professionals, find solutions for sensory issues, and get advice for handling transitions. Overall this app is a good mixture of up-to-date information, expert advice , and peer support. The interface is fairly standard, but highly usable, and the reading experience is also very polished.
4. LetMeTalk: Free AAC Talker
Many autistic children are unable to convey what they want to say verbally. And sometimes it can be extremely difficult and even frustrating for them to make conversation even with their own parents and siblings. This app enables your child to line up images in a meaningful way to form a sentence. Augmentative and Alternative Communication is a method of communication that revolves around this concept and it is very well implemented here. One of the best things about this app is that it uses no Internet connection at all, therefore, it can be used in almost any situation. It is highly suitable for autism symptoms, Asperger’s syndrome, and autism spectrum disorder. The image database of this app has more than 9000 easily understandable images but the best thing is, you can also add existing images that have taken from your smartphone camera.
I’m sure that a lot of more developers will be focusing on autism in the near future because of awareness and the maturity of the Android platform, but for right now these apps all do a great job of helping those with autism spectrum disorder and their caretakers. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more helpful Android apps for autism that can help people cope better with communication issues, so check in every so often to see what else is out there.
If you have another app that you find helpful, feel free to leave the name in the comments below and I’ll make sure to check it out.