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Adults and children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) often face challenges in performing various tasks that many regular individuals can do. Thankfully, there are now applications or “apps” that can be installed on mobile phones in order to support the special needs of these individuals.
Check out our list of apps that people with ASD can benefit from as they go through their everyday lives at home, work, and in public. Also, see this list of reliable books to read.
- Best Careers for People with Autism
- What Careers Are Available For Helping Kids With Autism?
- College Scholarships for Students with Autism
- Books on Autism and ASD Every Expert (and Parent) Should Read
4 Apps for Language Learning and Assisted Communication
Available for iOS
Grid Player by Sensory Software International, now known as Smartbox, is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app with practical support tools for nonverbal people with ASD or those who have speaking challenges. It provides a massive variety of symbols and text for communication that the users can utilize to create sentences and have the app vocalize them for other people to understand.
The app is available in more than 30 languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic. The audio output is also customizable, where users can choose from a library of male and female voices and adjust the speed and pitch according to their liking.
With a huge gallery of app content (or grid sets) that is constantly updated, the app is definitely a powerful and helpful communication tool for different ages and levels of literacy.
Avaz AAC is another text-and-picture-based communication app that helps boost the confidence of both children and adults with ASD and other speaking challenges. It’s also a great app for enhancing children’s language skills.
The app contains a variety of images and buttons that users can tap on to express their feelings easily to their caretakers and peers, thus lowering stress and anxiety. It’s also highly customizable, as users can add new words and record their voices, among other features.
The app also keeps evolving as the user progresses in their language learning journey and achieves specific milestones. It also comes with features that facilitate intervention by providing valuable data on the user’s progress to professionals and parents.
Available for iOS
Proloquo2Go is another augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app that essentially serves as the voice for nonverbal individuals with ASD or anyone with speech challenges. It’s a highly customizable app and can evolve with the user’s communication skills and progress. It features a library of natural-sounding voices, including those of real children.
Children can also use the app to develop their language skills through images and words that are revealed gradually as the user’s communication and comprehension expand. Text input is also supported with the app featuring various keyboard modes, including QWERTY and alphabetical arrangement.
The app is available in various languages, including English, French, and Spanish. It also supports bilingual skills, allowing the users to change languages conveniently and quickly.
Available for iOS
Developed by Tobii Dynavox LLC, Sono Flex is an ACC vocabulary app that supports nonverbal users with limited literacy control, such as those with ASD. The app features a flexible and structured framework that fosters language development and provides personalized communication solutions based on the users’ capabilities and situational needs.
Sono Flex can be particularly beneficial to individuals with ASD with its range of practical features that help in overcoming communication challenges and in expressing their needs effectively.
2 Learning Apps for Children with ASD
Otsimo Special Education
The Otsimo Special Education app is a beneficial learning app for children with autism and other related developmental challenges. It comes with various carefully selected educational games and tools that are certified to enhance emotional, social, and other skills while fostering independent learning. The app is developed with the collaboration of parents, special education teachers, and psychologists.
Parents or guardians of children with ASD can customize the app experience to meet the special needs of the users. The difficulty of the games and activities can be adjusted to suit the children’s age and learning level.
Available for iOS
Developed by Bee Visual LLC, Choiceworks is an essential learning app with several features that are designed to promote independence, emotional regulation, and positive behavior in children, most especially those with ASD. It basically has the following features:
- Schedule Board, which is a visual scheduling tool designed for children to perform daily routines
- Feelings Board, which is designed to help children understand and manage their feelings
- Waiting Board, which enhances waiting skills through activities that teach turn-taking and encourage patience
- Feelings Scale, which helps children track their emotions throughout the day in different scenarios
The app comes with a library of more than 180 images and audio. Users can also add their recordings and photos for a more personalized experience.
4 Productivity Apps and Habit Trackers for People with Autism
Habita, by HabitRPG, Inc., is a productivity and habit-forming app that uses the elements of a Role-Playing Game (RPG), a well-established genre in video gaming that generally involves players assuming the roles of fictional characters. The gamification of developing and maintaining habits through Habita makes it fun for people with ASD to achieve their goals.
Some of the fun features of the app include:
- Having an Avatar to serve as your main character
- Earning rewards and unlocking in-game features for completing tasks
- Interacting with other Habita users, such as battling monsters
Whether it’s forming good habits, curbing undesirable ones, doing daily tasks, or completing a to-do list, Habita makes these activities seem less like chores and, thus, provides the necessary motivation for people on the spectrum.
The Routinely App
Developed as a routine and habit tracker, The Routinely App is a highly practical app for individuals with autism who want to stay organized, productive, and motivated in completing tasks and achieving goals on a daily basis. It features a highly customizable list that allows users to create habits and routines that best suit their specific needs, regardless of frequency and schedule.
Features of this app include the following:
- Ability to set up reminders to complete goals at different times of the day
- Conveniently reschedule tasks whenever necessary
- Option to skip tasks, if needed, without losing streaks and motivation
- User-friendly dashboard that provides a quick visual representation of tasks at hand
- Ability to categorize tasks, routines, and habits, e.g., Health, Work, and Home
Todoist is perhaps the most versatile productivity app that benefits individuals on the autism spectrum, as its features make it easy for users to go as simple or as complex as they want their task trackers to be. Aside from being developed to make life more focused and organized, this app is also designed with elements that exude a sense of calm and clarity.
People with ASD can make Todoist their ultimate productivity app where they can jot down and track all their personal, work-related, and collaborative tasks without getting confused or messing up their schedules. This is made possible with convenient labels, as well as the app’s capability to break tasks into subtasks and sort them into several projects.
With the app’s natural language recognition and automatic sorting features, individuals with autism will find it much more convenient and faster to fill out their to-do lists and set priorities.
Available for iOS
Developed by Able Opportunities, Inc., Work Autonomy is a productivity app designed to foster high levels of independence in the workplace for individuals with disabilities, including those with ASD. It essentially focuses on three aspects of the workplace that these individuals often find challenging. These are:
- Person-generated communication, which is a feature that allows users with speech challenges to communicate with supervisors and coworkers effectively
- Independent tracking of work tasks and schedules, which benefits individuals with ASD who require structured routines and clear guidelines to perform their responsibilities effectively
- Access to concrete work information, which helps workers with ASD better understand their work environment, tasks, performance expectations and other relevant details, so that they can have a more effective and successful work experience
The app’s user-friendly design and customizable features complement the special needs of individuals with ASD, making it a valuable tool for supporting the development and success of the user’s career.
10 Relaxing Apps for Managing Sensory Overload
Available for Android and iOS
Miracle Modus, created by Seebs LLC, is an overstimulation management app that showcases rainbow lights appearing and moving in mathematical patterns accompanied by soft bells. Many individuals with ASD can attest that watching simple, patterned and strong visual stimuli, such as the brightly colored objects featured on the app, can help mitigate sensory overload.
The app comes in various modes with different shapes, patterns, movements and sounds, including the following:
- Spiraling Shape
- Bouncing Spline
- Painting Hexes
- String Art
Most of the modes have interactivity features, such as touch events that users can explore and discover.
The app was initially developed by a person with autism who finds brightly colored shapes with patterned visuals to be stimulating. After sharing the app with friends, they decided to publish it for other individuals with ASD to use.
Fireworks Arcade by Big Duck Games LLC can serve as an overstimulation management app just like Miracle Modus. It features colorful fireworks that users can generate in the frequency and shapes that they desire. Alternatively, users can play and watch a generated fireworks display. The game also features three arcade games.
Fireworks Arcade can provide relaxing visual stimuli for individuals with ASD who need to mitigate sensory overload.
Available for iOS
Dropophone is a simple melody-making app that features the sounds of raindrops falling on musical instruments. It showcases rows and columns of multi-colored raindrops that can be tapped or pressed to trigger notes and compose your melodic sounds.
Although not designed to target individuals with ASD specifically, the app can be beneficial in providing a calming and soothing sensory experience. It’s also a platform for fostering creative expressions, thanks to the app’s simple and intuitive interface. The app also helps people with autism to enhance their concentration and attention skills through cognitive engagement.
BetterSleep, formerly Relax Melodies
The BetterSleep app, created by Ipnos Software Inc., is essentially a melody and white noise app that helps in the management of overstimulation or sensory overload. It’s marketed as a sleep tracker app and can be beneficial to those with ASD who need to establish healthier and more structured sleeping routines and patterns.
Most importantly, the app features a wide range of soothing sounds, beats and tones that can help mitigate sensory overload and minimize anxiety for individuals on the autism spectrum. Some of these relaxing audio include the following:
- Nature sounds like leaves, wind and crackling fire
- White noise, including hair dryer, vacuum, airplane and fan noise
- Water sounds like ocean, rainstorms and slow waves
- Meditation music, including instruments, ambient melodies and voices
- Isochronic brainwaves, binaural beats and solfeggio frequencies
Headspace, a meditation and mindfulness app, is designed to promote better focus and sleep and reduce stress levels. It’s essentially a digital companion for those who need guided meditation and mindfulness exercises every day. This helps individuals with ASD who often experience heightened levels of anxiety.
The app also features a range of soothing sounds and sleep music that can aid in managing overstimulation and sensory overload. It also helps individuals with autism to develop self-regulation skills, which allow them to manage their stress and their emotions.
Calm is another relaxation, meditation and sleep tracker app that can help people with ASD to manage their stress, refocus their attention, reduce anxiety and balance their mood. Just like any other app in its genre, Calm also features an extensive library of guided meditation, breathwork and soundscapes that are useful in dealing with sensory overload and overstimulation.
Colorfy is essentially an art and coloring app that adults and children can use to have fun while relaxing their minds and killing time. The app comes with a variety of both simple and complex designs that include floral, animals, patterns and mandalas, among others. Users can also draw their designs and patterns with the Mandala Mode.
Colorfy is one of those apps developed for general users but can actually provide many benefits for individuals on the autism spectrum. For one, it’s a platform for relaxation and sensory stimulation that helps reduce anxiety and stress. It’s also an outlet for creative expression through visual representation.
Moreover, the app allows for the viewing and sharing of drawings with a global community, which fosters community engagement that allows people with ASD to develop social connections and a sense of belonging.
Available for iOS
Doodle Buddy is a simple drawing and painting app that can offer many benefits to adults and children with ASD. Users start with a blank canvas or an uploaded photo and then explore their creativity in drawing and adding creative touches.
At its essence, Doodle Buddy’s user-friendly interface allows for creative expression, skill development and confidence building as individuals on the autism spectrum explore their artistic abilities. Most importantly, this drawing app and its many interactive features are great as sensory stimulation tools.
Sand Draw by Kalrom Systems LTD is essentially a drawing app but with realistic sand for a canvas. This drawing experience provides sensory engagement that allows children and adults with ASD to explore visual feedback and tactile sensations in an interactive and controlled setting.
This is more than just a drawing app, though, as it features many other interactive features, such as adding objects on the sand and the sea, controlling the sunset, and experimenting with sand features.
Like any other drawing app, Sand Draw offers individuals with ASD a platform for creative expression as well as relaxation and stress reduction.
Pocket Ponds by Trigger Wave is another relaxing app that is loaded with interactive features and realistic visuals. It features a stunning pond scene where users can run their fingers through the sand or water, making the app a perfect platform to help mitigate overstimulation and promote calm and relaxation for individuals with ASD. The fish even interact with your finger if you hold it still.
Users can create their zen pond by decorating it with beautiful garden accents and adding gorgeous breeds of koi. They can also visit other people’s ponds for inspiration.
Would you like to help kids with Autism?
Choosing a career working with autism students can be incredibly rewarding and fulfilling. This career path offers a unique opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals with autism and their families.
Working with these students requires patience, empathy, and a strong understanding of the unique needs and challenges that individuals with autism may face. It also presents the opportunity to continuously learn and grow, as this field is constantly evolving with new research and techniques.
By becoming an ABA therapist, autism students develop strong, meaningful relationships and the chance to witness their progress and accomplishments will be your perks! Overall, choosing a career working with autism students is a noble and important choice that can be both challenging and incredibly fulfilling.