Good Excuses to Buy an iTouch or iPod…

First-Then Visual Schedules 

I bet Apple didn’t realize that their iTouch and iPod would be so popular with people with autism…but spending $500 for an iTouch with some helpful apps beats buying an augmentative communication device (aug comm.) for $1000 or more. You’ve probably seen the articles about young people with autism being able to communicate using these handheld devices, and I’ve spoken with parents who use them and are very happy with the results. They’re portable, some apps are customizable, and more are being developed all the time (plus, some apps are adaptable for use even though not intended specifically for people with disabilities). Among the more well-known apps for communication and functioning are Proloquo2Go, iConverse, Model Me Going Places, and First-Then Visual Schedules. A speech therapist recommended Cute Math, Herod’s Lost Tomb, Match, Word Magic, and WordWhirl.

Proloquo2Go provides text-to-speech voices and nearly 8000 symbols, with easy expansion and programmability.

iConverse covers 6 basic needs (restroom, eating, drinking, sickness, resting and help). Once pressed, the need displays text and is also read aloud.

Model Me Going Places does exactly that: it shows photos of children using appropriate behavior in 6 different locations (hairdresser, mall, doctor, playground, grocery store, and restaurant). There is also an audio and written description of each photo.

First-Then Visual Schedules allow you to record your own voice, use pictures from the application’s library, or add your own images. You can create schedules while out and about!

Do you have any ideas to share? Please send comments with your nifty ideas to share with other parents…

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3 Responses

  1. YES!! We bought our son (age 5, nonverbal) an itouch for Christmas this year, after we discovered how proficient he was at my iphone. We downloaded many applications that are for preschoolers to teach pre-reading, math, and other academic skills. Also there is a whole series of ABA applications by kindergarten.com (name of developer). One of those is “receptive identification by feature, function, class” . For example, “touch the one that cuts” and the child would select the scissors from a field of three. I was downright shocked by what my son knew. On his first try, he probably got 80% of them right. It probably goes without saying but the games are fun and rewarding.
    In addition to the whole series of kindergarten.com apps (which are 99c each), we also like iprompts (which we haven’t splurged the $50 yet). If in itunes you do a search for “autism” you’ll get a great variety of apps. Our itouch was $150 after a small rebate.

    • That’s great! How exciting to uncover some (hidden) talents…just goes to show that ALL kids with ASD have some areas of strength. We just have to figure out what they are, and technology can help some kids show those strengths.

  2. My son is 17 years old, and nonverbal. I’ve heard great things about the Ipod’s apps. We’ll have to invest in one for him. It’s amazing how well he does with a comupter and a mouse and is a pro at searching for YouTube videos!

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