27 visual, sensory, and augmentative apps for autism

The iPad, when coupled with effective applications, can also be an augmentative communication device, she said. “I firmly believe using iPads in my classroom as the student’s primary education tool can provide them with a means by which they can achieve their full potential.”

One group of apps that works well with students with autism focuses on visual aids and projects.

Barley suggests picking apps with photos because photos are immediate and instantaneous, reminders of activities, relevant and current, make lessons personal to the students, and are simply fun and interesting.

In the classroom, photos can be used in:

  • Personal diaries
  • Stories-especially social stories
  • Creating montage/poster style work
  • Creating vocabulary/spelling lists
  • Word and picture matching
  • Keynote presentations with real pictures
  • Creating worksheets that are more relevant

Good visual apps:

Keynote: Keynote is a presentation app designed for a mobile device. Users can highlight data with 3D bar, line, area, and pie charts, animated with new 3D chart builds such as Crane, Grow, Radial, and Rotate. $9.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/keynote/id361285480?mt=8

Kid in Story: Kid in Story Book Maker makes it easy and fun to create visual stories to support learning, social modeling, and early literacy with the child as the star character. Templates come to life when you place a child or student’s picture on every page. The 8 story templates cover a variety of practical and fanciful topics from promoting good hygiene by washing your hands, to a playful exploration of emotions and facial expressions, to a fantasy visit to San Francisco. You can also write your own custom story or modify any of the templates as you see fit. $6.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kid-in-story-book-maker/id594403164?mt=8

Stories About Me: This app allows parents and teachers to create their own social stories for their children and students. Blending photos, text, and voice recordings into a talking picture book, children can play back rich media stories of their own personal experiences. $5.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stories-about-me/id531603747?mt=8

Strip Designer: Create your own personal comic strips using photos from your photo album or iPhone camera. Select one of the many included page templates, insert photos into the cells, add balloons with fun words, and more. $2.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/strip-designer/id314780738?mt=8

Social Stories: Social Stories is an ABA app designed to help special needs children and young adults understand social situations and give them tools to respond correctly to their environment, in their environment. A photo is paired with a line of text and audio to show the child, and to help visualize what they need to do or understand on each page. $3.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/social-stories/id507893514?mt=8

Popplet: This app is a platform for ideas. Popplet’s simple interface allows users to move at the speed of their thoughts. With Popplet, users can capture ideas, sort them visually, and collaborate with others in real time. $4.99; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/popplet/id374151636?mt=8

(Next page: More visual apps; sensory apps)

Meris Stansbury

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