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Technology, Apps, and Autism

Welcome to this installment of ‘Topic of the Week.’ These topics stem from submissions from our community. If there is anything in particular that you would like to see featured, please contact us!

Leslie Stahl reported how people with autism are speaking and making breakthroughs on this 60 Minutes feature, Apps for Autism.

Do you, or someone you know on the spectrum, used assistive technology to help communicate? Are there any applications you favor? What are some pros and cons of using assistive technology for those on the spectrum?

Can you recommend any apps or devices?

  1. October 24, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    It’s great to see this topic get such great exposure and coverage by network television. When I started Brain Parade one year ago it was clear that the iPad was a potential game changer when it came to working with children with Autism and other learning challenges. We were one of the early ones to build apps for children with Autism, but there has been tremendous activity in this area in just the past 9 months. All I can say is YES! – the topic of apps for autism and special needs is finally getting the attention it deserves!

    -Jim McClafferty, Founder
    Brain Parade

  2. Fern
    October 24, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Our son is 19 and a severe mute autistic with rage disorder and fast-cycle hypoglycemia. The schools here have refused to admit him or provide any help at all since he was four because of the rage problem.

    Now we have a glimmer with the iPod and Austim Apps. but can’t find where to purchase the actual apps we saw on the show Sunday and have searched online. Our money is very limited and we were wondering where we could find the iPad for a little less than the $500 – $800 price tag we see. Any suggestions?

  3. Kim
    October 25, 2011 at 6:54 am

    Our son is 4 1/2 years old, autistic and non-verbal. We just won an appeal with Medicaid (apparently they always initially deny these claims, which I find astonishing) for them to fund the iPad 2 and Proloquo2Go software … we have authorization – just waiting to actually receive reimbursement. I have not watched the show yet, but have it recorded and am looking forward to watching it. This is the future for these kids and insurance companies are going to have to get on board. I was told that my son’s iPad 2 was the first that Medicaid in NJ has approved. All the apps are found on iTunes and I highly recommend the Proloquo2Go … it’s $189.99, but so worth it. I believe the only place to get a discounted iPad 2 is through a purchase by a school, but I’m not sure what that discount is … there is a link on Apple’s website to purchase it for educators. My son’s school has 4 iPads in his preschool disabled classroom and have supplied one for his personal use throughout the day. Our schools are also going to have to supply this assistive technology to our kids.

  4. October 27, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    This 60 Minutes segment has sparked quite a discussion! I’m an editor at The Recapp, an app review website, and we recently wrote an article on (more) apps for autism. Proloquo2Go, which was mentioned in the news segment, is an amazing app, but it is also pricey! While researching our article, we found some other great (and affordable) apps. If you have a chance, please check them out:


    Mary Georger
    editor, The Recapp

  5. Melanie
    October 28, 2011 at 8:30 pm

    I’m an SLP in a small TN school with ~6% of our population having a diagnosis of Autism. We piloted the use of Ipads with our students and saw dramatic results. I’ve started a blog this week to report how and why we use specific apps. Since the Ipad project went system wide, I’ve had a lot of teachers and parents ask me about apps. The blog is meant to be a source of ideas, tips, and techniques. If anyone has feedback, I would love to hear it.

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