AutisMate iPad App

AutisMateIf you’re a regular reader of our blog, by now, you probably know that we’re crazy about technology. We love learning about mobile and tablet apps that are built specifically for people with disabilities. AutisMate is an iPad app for people with Autism that uses a scene-based approach to help people learn to communicate. What I love most about this app is that it was developed by a man, for his brother.

Jonathan Izak and his colleagues spent 18 months developing AutisMate for Jonathan’s brother who has Autism. He even left his job at the Univeristy of Pennsylvania in the linguistics department to develop AustiMate. Now, that’s brotherly love! The gamble paid off as now he is CEO of the 10 person startup in NYC that created the app. Jonathan has aspirations to build this single app into a broader, educational software firm.

Most apps for people with Autism have a single, core functionality. AutisMate has multiple features that bring many existing apps into one.

The app uses GPS technology to automatically give the user a photo scene of where they’re located. It can present you with scenes from your home, doctor’s office, school or nearly any other location. You can even customize the app and replace default pictures of a home, with pictures you take of your own home.  Users can make a request by tapping on “hotspots” in the pictures. For example, a user could click on a refrigerator and be presented with photos of food to choose what they want to eat.

Another feature of the app is the “Sentence Builder” that helps build language vocabulary and syntactical structure.  The user can tap on buttons with words that correspond with sketches to build sentences. New words and pictures can easily be added to customize the app.

The app also includes video capabilities that let people with autism explore, learn and practice without the stress of a potentially uncomfortable social situation.

You can purchase this app for your iPad in the Apple App Store for $149.99. It’s a little pricier than typical consumer apps in the App Store like games or productivity apps. But, when consider that before mainstream mobile technology, you’d have multiple devices to do each of these features separately. When you think of it that way, it’s quite the bargain!

If you are looking for other apps related to Autism, you can check out Autism Speaks. Believe it or not, it’s an app that specifically designed to help you find other apps about Autism.

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