Paint the month blue: April is Autism awareness month (Part 1)

Since the 1970s, the Autism Society has been celebrating National Autism Awareness Month in order to highlight the growing need for concern and awareness about autism. Studies show that about 1 in 88 children in America sits somewhere on the autism spectrum.

Technology has evolved along with our knowledge of this developmental disorder. With the advent of tablets, smartphones and applications, people who have autism now have more options for stretching intellectual capacities and curiosities available to them than ever before.

In the spirit of a good cause and, since this is a technology blog after all, here is the first post of some useful autism apps for the iPad that work on developing all kinds of skills from organization to phonics.

iPrompts ($49.99): This picture-based prompting app is used by special educators, parents and therapists who work with disabilities, including those who have Autism. Complete with picture schedules, a visual countdown timer, an image library and more, this app covers a wide array of life skills and organizational tools that people with autism can learn at their own pace.

Turn Taker ($4.99): This app uses visual and/or audio cues to facilitate in turn taking. The app is complete with a simple social story that illustrates and explains appropriate game play.

Tap to Talk (Free): This app turns your iPhone or iPad into an augmentative and alternative communication device with the tap of a button. Just tap a picture and the picture will lead the user to another screen of pictures to make communication easy and fun. This app also has album-making capabilities that allow parents or caregivers to categorize specific pictures to their child’s needs.

Pocket Penguins (Free): Spoiler: Cute! This app comes straight from the California Academy of Sciences. The user can watch penguins live as they frolic and swim about their habitat at the academy. Who doesn’t love to watch penguins? This carefree and soothing pastime is fun for anyone.

3D Shape Sorter (Free): This app is excellent for children to practice their categorization and recognition skills. When he or she matches the correct animal with its correct shape, the corresponding sound goes off. For a bit more of a challenge, the user has to rotate the cube in order to find the correct shape.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installation of another helpful list of apps for autism!