Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are characterized by difficulties in social interactions and behavior, communication, play, and restricted interests and activities. As a result, children with ASD lack verbal and nonverbal communication skills which causes difficulties in social interaction and emotional expression.
Additionally, kids with ASD usually struggle with executive skills such as attention, focus, memory, organization, and transitions, which affects their learning and school performance.
Educational apps developed specifically for children with ASD help improve skills essential for interaction and communication with others. Additionally, these apps help parents and caregivers to understand what the child needs.
There is a wide range of apps for kids with ASD and their parents/caregivers that teach skills such as communication, play, learning, motor skills, and other essential daily living skills.
Educational apps for tablets, smartphones, and other tech devices help children with autism spectrum disorders in various ways by:
- Helping them to focus their attention
- Letting them practice new skills through repetition
- Helping them learn and complete tasks through trial and error
- Allowing them to explore ideas and create things
Apps that Encourage Emotional Expression
Kids with ASD typically don’t use eye contact and gestures to share experiences. Apps such as Touch and Learn – Emotions help kids with autism spectrum disorder identify emotions and body language and help kids with autism make a connection between emotions they experience or witness and words to describe them.
The apps such as The Mood Meter encourage children to reflect on emotions and teach how to manage them while Calm Counter helps kids learn self-awareness and calm down when upset or frustrated.
Apps that Promote Social Skills
Kids with ASD have problems interacting with other people and expressing their feelings and needs, which often challenges parents and caregivers to understand the needs and communicate with a child on the autism spectrum. They typically don’t show interest in play and don’t understand how to use toys.
Educational apps such as Social Detective help children with ASD learn about expected and unexpected everyday behaviors, boost self-awareness, develop coping strategies, and learn basic social skills needed for function in day-to-day life.
Apps that Help with Transitions and Organization
Kids with ASD often have difficulties to understand that it is time to move on from one activity to another, or they don’t want to end the previous activity, which may cause frustration and aggressive behavior.
Educational apps for kids with ASD such as Social Stories, Visual Routine, or Popplet help kids with transitions and boost visual memory and organization by building visual schedules with pictures, words, or their combination. This helps kids with ASD anticipate and better prepare for transitions.
While apps cannot replace the learning opportunities that come through real play and everyday social interactions, they are a valuable tool that can help your child with ASD learn and develop.