Thursday, 9 September 2021

My top apps for our autistic kids

Boy in iPad

There's no doubt that all my kids get technology.  Sometimes it can seem like they are glued to their screens but, especially for my autistic son's, they learn a lot from being online and there's a bunch of apps that are really good at engaging them in learning or sensory feedback, which is so important when they struggle with these on a daily basis.  Here's some of my favourites. 

BBC Apps

Obviously my kids love iPlayer, but the BBC has some brilliant educational apps that are great for kids like mine who functioning in the early years and KS1 curriculum.  The CBeebies Playtime Island app is brilliant and features all the kids favourites from the TV. It's got games that work on coordination, timing and working things out (even if it's by trial and error) and it full if great encouragement for the kids. 

Perhaps even better is the CBeebies Go Explore App, which again centres around the shows but works specifically on games and songs that help with writing and maths too depending on where you go. The Alphablocks and Numberblocks are the best for this sort of thing with tracing letters and singing times tables.

AAC Apps

Augmented & Alternative Communication apps are so helpful if like us you have a child who finds it difficult to communicate.  There are some amazing ones that need a subscription like Proloquo2Go that are almost like ALS boards or PECS on an iPad.  GoWidget also do a basic free version as do Leeloo and both are worth a look if you think ALS boards work for your child. 

Subject Apps

The best Maths focused app for KS1 / 2 we have used is by the developer Onebillion - it's brilliant.  It's great and builds up topics gradually.  It's only downside is that after a while David simply memorised all the right answers - but some of maths is just memory based anyway.  For older kids IXL is great and has an app and desktop site too. 

You can learn a lot about the world through GeoGuessr.  It's an app our eldest autistic son absolutely loves.  It uses google maps to drop you somewhere in the world at street view and you have to figure our where you are.   It could be on top of the Canadian Rockies, on a beach, in the middle of a busy street or even on an F1 circuit!  Who knows but the kids have to use their skills to work out which country it is.  This is great for learning about land, cultures, climates, locations and different languages.  

Apps can also be great for this, we don't do many foreign languages but I have thought about the benefits that come with learning a different language even for autistic kids who by definition have difficulty with communication.  The Memrise app uses videos and makes the learning or practice fun. 

Sensory Apps

In addition to having a sensory sensitive cover for your device you can also get a few good sensory apps that my kids like. The first is called TeasEar - Slime Simulator and is an anti-stress / anxiety relief app that turns your phone screen into a 'texture' such as a gummy bear filled slime that you can tap, slide and scratch with your fingers whilst it makes appropriate sounds and vibrations through your phone.  you can even design your own slime packets for it.  

Super Slime Simulator also does something similar too.  Fidget Box 3D puts a fidget or pop toy on the screen for you to 'use' via the screen.  Music Zen also have this mixed with relaxing sounds.  Of course there's plenty sound ones that you could try.  Nature Sounds is free and I've heard good things about White Noise+ .

Have you got any great Apps to recommend?  We are also looking for more! 

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