Raising a child with autism can be a challenge, but many smartphone apps have come to the rescue to offer support and help in common areas of difficulty for autistic children. If you’ve never entertained the idea of utilizing an app to help you deal with the challenges of teaching and raising a child with autism, you are probably in for a big surprise. There is an ever-increasing number of smartphone and tablet apps that provide a convenient solution for any family with children who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
The top ten apps designed to improve the lives of family members of autistic children all have one thing in common. They focus on the challenges experienced by autistic children to help them learn how to listen, communicate, and socialize in their own way. And in recent years, more apps have been developed that target a specific diagnosis. These apps are often the perfect resource for a person with particular disabilities.
Most of the apps on this list focus on improving very specific skills, an important reminder that is choosing an app for someone on the autism spectrum should be done with great care. Priority should be given to what skill or problem you are addressing over age, diagnosis, or developmental level. Although there is no one-size-fits-all app for everyone, we are confident that within this list of vetted apps, you will find at least one or two that find you asking yourself why you didn’t already know about them!
10 Apps for Children with Autism
“Sight words” are the most widely used words in education, library, and children’s books. Introducing them is a critical first step for beginning autistic learners. Endless Reader brilliantly introduces sight words in a fun and creative way, using fun sounds and colorful monsters to keep kids engaged so they can develop confidence in reading fluency. Created with your kids in mind, there are no high scores, limits, failures, or stress, and they can interact with Endless Reader at their own pace.
Beginning readers quickly learn that understanding sight words is advantageous since many of the words introduced have unusual pronunciation and cannot be sounded out using phonics. Many sight words are also difficult to represent using images, so practicing their use by putting them in context using adorable monsters is both fun and practical. Interactive word puzzles feature letters that come alive, and sentence puzzles use words described by the user to become visual reinforcers of common sight words.
The app is free with in-app purchases, and the initial package of six words is entirely free, so you can use it long enough to decide if you’d like to invest. Endless Reader features:
- Additional words available for purchase
- Amusing animations that strengthen sight recognition of words in an enjoyable and interactive way.
- Sentence puzzles for teaching word definition, usage, and sight recognition
- Lower-case letter spelling reinforcement using word puzzles
With Proloquo2Go on your Apple phone or tablet, you can help your child communicate using simplified, universal symbols, synthetic voices, and other helpful tools designed to eliminate the stress of trying to speak for children with autism. This program is recommended by doctors, specialists, and therapists for children with autism, as well as many other conditions that limit speech and make communication difficult. It’s a very easy and intuitive app to use, and it can help your child express more complex ideas than he or she is able to do without help. Proloquo2Go is on the pricier side at $249.
As a full-featured augmentative communication application (AAC), Proloquo2Go provides picture and text, picture only, and keyboard options for formulating messages. Voice options are available, and learners can choose to hear their lessons from a male or female adult or child. The picture and text grids on the keyboard can be used for original sentence building, while the SymbolStix images on the buttons allow the learner to use real pictures if they choose.
Holding the unique distinction of being the first and only language therapy app backed by clinical research, Language Therapy for Children with Autism teaches children to speak confidently while achieving language development milestones. The app uses a therapy approach known as Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA), an innovative early-intervention application for children with autism or language delay.
MITA begins training language and mental integration by introducing basic vocabulary. Before long, progress is made toward more complex language skills using pronouns, adjectives, verbs, and syntax. Cognitive and language exercises are unlimited and designed for use for over ten years. There are no ads, and no Wi-Fi is required to use the app.
Listed as the “Best Autism App” on Healthline, Language Therapy for Children with Autism is available in English, Spanish, Russian, German, Portuguese, French, Italian, Arabic, Chinese, and Farsi. By far, it is one of the most popular autism apps available and has been used by over one million children with language delays.
Leeloo AAC is an app that was created to help nonverbal children communicate with parents, teachers, family members and friends. Leeloo AAC uses the principles of AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) and PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). It uses pictures to represent common words and phrases your child uses.
This app is not limited to children with autism. It can be helpful for any child with speech delay. Leeloo AAC is free and recommended for children over the age of 4.
Created for caregivers to help them keep track of daily living tasks, health, and behaviors, Birdhouse for Autism is an incredibly invaluable tool. Thousands of parents from all over the world use the app to stay organized and prepared to address the needs of their children with autism.
Birdhouse for Autism maintains events and activities on one simple timeline. Parents and caregivers are able to easily organize and track things like:
- Behavior notes
- Medical, health, and doctor information
By having this information organized and readily available, patterns develop and can be identified to elevate the level of care. Information can easily be shared with anyone, decreasing unnecessary stress and worry while letting all stakeholders know they are appreciated and valued.
Birdhouse for Autism special features include the ability to:
- Maintain a daily behavioral journal
- Set reminders that allow you to stay in control of your day
- Track new diets (casein-free, gluten-free, GAPS, etc.)
- Share important information with your child’s teacher, spouse, grandparent, therapist(s), or caregiver
- Generate and share summaries of important health and background information
- Regulate eating habits and alternative diets
- Record your child’s sleep cycles
- Determine what might be causing meltdowns
- Keep supplements and medications organized
- Record therapy session notes
- Monitor for poop & dietary infractions
- Maintain insight and control of your child’s progress
The Birdhouse for Autism app has been featured on The Friendship Circle, Parents.com, Smart Apps for Special Needs, Huffington Post, Autism Speaks, Generation Rescue, and many other media outlets. Friendship Circle rated it among its top ten special needs apps, and Smart Apps for Special Needs placed it as a “Top 5 Organizational Apps for Special Needs Parents.”
Parents, psychologists and special education teachers came together to create this app for children with ASD, Down Syndrome. ADD and other learning needs.
Motor and cognitive skills can be developed through:
- sound games
Otsimo uses ABA therapy (applied behavior analysis) to develop games that will teach your child necessary skills in a fun and engaging way. If your child has a speech or language delay or is nonverbal, Otsimo includes free AAC.
Otsimo is free, but Otsimo Premium is offered will additional features.
Based on the Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communications Handicapped Children methodology (TEACCH), ABC Autismo features a variety of educational activities in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The TEACCH methodology stems from the belief that the biological foundation of autism and other disorders of the spectrum results in unique limitations of communication and strengths. ABC Autismo helps learners have fun, build confidence, and develop their skills regardless of their verbal communication level.
There are four difficulty levels with forty interactive phases. Parents will be reassured to learn that therapists, teachers, and psychologists use ABC Autismo for evaluating autistic children. The app is completely free, with in-app purchases available.
Grace is an app created by the mother of two autistic children who experienced difficulty communicating complex ideas with words. The app allows autistic children to form complex sentences using images that are universal and easy to understand. Rather than a learning app, Grace aims to be a useful tool for autistic children to rely on in everyday situations. It can also help autistic children build the communication skills needed to speak more efficiently on their own.
Making eye contact in social situations can be very stressful for autistic people, but Look in My Eyes can help reduce the anxiety of these situations. It offers fun and easy exercises for autistic children to use when they are learning how to make eye contact and speak to unfamiliar people. The app is attractive and well-designed, and it can really help autistic children overcome the discomfort they feel when making eye contact. By mastering this social skill, an autistic person has a better chance of communicating with a wide range of people.
Raising a child with autism requires patience, dedication, and love. A little technology can also make the process less stressful. If your child is on the spectrum, you should download and install these top five apps for parents of children with autism.
AutiSpark is approved by special educators and was created by experts in the field to teach basic concepts to children with ASD. Parents and teachers will be looking for engaging and well thought out ways to teach children daily skills. AutiSpark provides creative learning games that will help teach these skills!
AutiSpark Games Include:
- Words & Spelling
- Basic Math Skills
- Tracing Games
- Memory Games
- Sorting Games
- Matching Games
ABA Programs Guide Staff
Updated January 2021