When it comes to choosing the right Apps for Autism, a little bit of investment may go a long way. Both iTunes and the Android app store have heaps of apps designed specifically to help children with varying types of Autism and ADHD. In this guide, we will take a closer look at some of the most popular Autism apps (both free and premium ones) and how they can help your child integrate better into the society.
The list below contains 21 popular apps for iOS and Android across varying range of sophistication and price (while some apps are free, a few of them can stretch you budget beyond $150). While each of us may differ in terms of our affordability, the importance we place on the development of our children is second to none!
This page on Top Apps for Autism contains
- 1 Premium or Paid Autism Apps:
- 1.1 Proloquo2Go ($219)
- 1.2 TouchChat HD ($149)
- 1.3 SPEAKall ($62.99)
- 1.4 AutisMate ($149) Rating:
- 1.5 iCommunicate ($49)
- 1.6 EASe Personal Listening Therapy ($39)
- 1.7 Kid In Story ($6.99)
- 1.8 aacorn AAC ($189)
- 1.9 Autism Tracker Pro ($9.99)
- 1.10 Pictello ($19.99)
- 1.11 First Then Visual Schedule HD ($14.99)
- 1.12 MathBoard ($4.99)
- 1.13 Preference & Reinforcer Assessment ($9.99)
- 1.14 Choiceworks ($6.99)
- 1.15 My PlayHome ($3.99)
- 1.16 Time Timer ($2.99)
- 2 Top Free Apps for Autism
Premium or Paid Autism Apps:
The following list consists of 15 premium (or paid) apps for kids with Autism. Most of them are specialized to treat specific functional areas where autistic children may report deficiencies.
Yes, it comes with an expensive price tag, but it’s well worth the dollars you spend. One of the biggest challenges faced by kids with Autism is around effective communication. Though autistic children usually suffer from speech impairments, they are still pretty good at interpreting pictorial representations.
Proloquo2Go, an Argumentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) app for Autism, uses this strength to counteract a child’s speech problems by teaching them how to construct simple sentences through the use of pictures and symbols.
Some additional features include:
- Support for both British and American voice and pronunciations
- Text to speech conversions
- Customizable vocabulary
- Word predictions (particularly handy feature for children with Autism)
- User configurable interface
TouchChat HD ($149)
A bit cheaper, yet a good alternative to Proloquo2Go for argumentative and alternative communication. You can take a look at the entire range of TouchChat AAC products ranging from cheap Lite versions to highly expensive and sophisticated speech therapy suites. However, we believe that from a cost-benefit perspective, TouchChat HD AAC is perhaps the best fit when it comes to apps for kids with autism.
TouchChat is specifically designed for children with ASD, Down Syndrome, or ADHD as these disorders impair a child’s ability to use natural speech. One good reason to try TouchChat is that it contains the following dedicated sections for children with specific language and speed deficiencies:
- Primary: This is primarily for children and toddlers. It contains basic building blocks of phrases and words for everyday use.
- VocabPC: To assist in building essential vocabulary
- Spelling: A QWERTY keyboard section with 4 different word prediction buttons along with few stored phrases
- MultiChat: Facilitating communication through the use of words –> rolling up to phrases –> rolling up to simple concise sentences
SPEAKall in a new but powerful iPad App that has helped thousands of children with Autism to improve their communication skills. We have covered a detailed article on how SPEAKall can help autistic children improve their functional communication. Some of the key features of this app include:
- Nice and clean interface that is easy to navigate
- Tracking and usage of learning statistics
- Ability ro support your own language, spelling, and recordings
- Synthetic voices
- Multiple learners on a single device and single lisence
- Ability to easily switch between activities
Platform: iOS, Android
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Devices
Focus Areas: Social Skills, Communication, Functional Skills, Behavioral
If one premium app for autism is all you can afford, this should be the one! AutisMate gets our Editor’s Choice for the best value for money when it comes to autism apps for kids. Dedicated purely for people with Autism for all ages, AutisMate, though still expensive @ $149.99, ticks all the boxes from a 360° viewpoint and is highly recommended for all parents who want to afford the best for their Autistic children. Its comprehensive support allows parents to create contextual visual environments in order to accommodate a wide range of abilities for individuals that are just beginning to communicate to those that are verbal and using visual supports to promote independence.
Some key visual supports include:
- VSDs (Visual Scene Displays)
- Video Modeling
- Visual Schedules
- Content Sharing
- Predictive Keyboard
- Grid-Based AAC Full Sentence Builder
- Content Library
- Visual Stories
- GPS Capability
- Social Network integration
iCommunicate is an efficient planning and communication tool that allows you to add visual schedules using customizable routines, communication boards, flash cards, speech cards, choice boards and much more.
Some of the key Features Include:
- Ability to record your own audio for pictures and boards
- Social sharing capability and integration with Email, iTunes and File Sharing
- Text to Speech capabilities in over 30 languages
- Ability to use your own pictures
There are 2 available choices for boards:
- 4X10: Upto 4 images across with 10 image rows
- Task Completion and checklist using responsive touch features
EASe Personal Listening Therapy ($39)
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Focus Areas: Sensory Skills, Functional Skills
Many children with Autism suffer from Sensory Integration Disorder which may lead them to react adversely to loud or sudden noise (check out this article of symptoms of SID). EASe Personal Listening Therapy is a must have for such children!
It uses music to deliver short and intense bursts of sound, thereby producing a sensory palette of sonic experiences to help an autistic child learn to deal with fluctuations in environmental conditions. EASe Personal Listening Therapy comes in 3 versions: Lite, Personal and Pro. Based on our analysis, we believe that the Pro version is the most effective value for money.
Kid In Story ($6.99)
Coming at a reasonable US$ 6.99, this is a nice little app that can enhance your child’s character and decision-making skills. It also certainly helps in improving learning disabilities in children with ADHD and Autism.
Kid In Story places the child as a thematic (main) character some of the stories that help him/her understand the social nuances and make decisions that are socially acceptable, much like the red choice – green choice exercise.
Using your iPad/iPhone’s camera, you can superimpose the image your child into the tale, and also use your own voice for the story narration. With as many as 8 templates covering topics that range from washing hands to a trip to Los Angeles, it is quite a bargain for the price! And yes, you can enhance the role-play by creating your own stories too.
aacorn AAC ($189)
Rating: Platform: iOS
Focus Areas: Communication, Speech, Echolalia
Not every day we end up buying an app that costs $189. But if you can afford it, and you own an iPad, it might be well worth the investment! aacorn is a genNext solution for assistive communication designed specifically for children with nonverbal and speech delays (like in Autism). It is one of the few apps that can boast of a rare 5 review from parents, teachers and speech therapists!
Here are some of its key features:
- Ability to predict what a child wants to say (using intuitive intelligence)
- Designed specifically to address children’s needs
- Adapts to child’s cognitive ability and needs
- Uses real children’s voices
- Assists a child in language development
- Grows with your child in terms of adaptability and language complexity
Autism Tracker Pro ($9.99)
Autism Tracker is a life changing app for families having kids with Autism. This app helps you track the elements that matter to the development of your autistic child. You can use multi-item graphs, visual calendars, and discussion patterns to help you organize a day in life of a child with autism. Also, available is the free Lite version for trial use. Though fully customizable, Autism Tracker Pro allows has a range of preset options to address the special needs of your special child.
Some preset startup screen already available are:
- Mood: Stress, Happiness, Hyperactivity, and Weather
- Behavior: Aggressive, Oppositional defiant, self-injurious, Destructive, Tantrums
- Diet: Casein and Gluten-free, Colorants, Caffeine, Homeopathic
- Health: Sleep, Autism medication, BM Textures, Bowel movements
- Reports: Activity and Progress monitoring
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Focus Areas: Social Skills
All children learn well better through stories. This is especially true for children with Autism. Developing social skills through pictures and stories have been one of the most effective Autism teaching strategies – and Pictello allows you to do just that! With Pictello, you can easily turn pictures and videos into an interactive storybook. Each page in a particular Pictello story may contain a picture, a pre-recorded sound and up to 5 lines of text. It also has a range of included voices that allows you to add text to speech capabilities.
First Then Visual Schedule HD ($14.99)
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Focus Areas: Organizer, Language Skills
Kids with Autism and ADHD usually don’t like surprises! Anything out of the schedule and they would either act out, or even worse, resort to aggressive tantrums. First Then Visual Schedule HD is an Autism app that helps such kids to self-manage their schedule and prepare for the unexpected.
First Then Visual Schedule HD is suited for:
- Typically developing children
- Kids with development disabilities like Autism and Down Syndrome
- Kids affected by ADHD and anxiety
- Children with language and communication impairments
Visual support that FTVS HD allows you to create:
- Visual Schedules
- First Then Visual boards
- Social stories
- Choice boards
- Video models
For under $5, this app for kids with autism is a valuable buy if you are looking at improving your child’s quantitive skills. Most of us, who has experience in teaching children with autism, will agree that teaching them basic mathematics is one tall task. This app intends to turn maths oriented study time to a bit of fun and play. Starting from basics, all the way to middle school mathematics, this app covers a lot of chapters along with relevant and intuitive exercises. For this price, it’s quite a bargain!
Preference & Reinforcer Assessment ($9.99)
This app is not for your child but for you! It is geared more towards professionals, parents, and caregivers who deal with autism on a day to day basis. By allowing you to run a preference assessment, this app can substantially influence the course of autism treatment for your child. The key feature of this app is to provide you a range of assessment tools that can automatically calculate the result of your tests and equip you with the information required for the next course of action. As a parent or a caregiver, using positive reinforcement is one of the proven techniques to treat Autism or similar syndromes and this app allows you to manage those responses.
Though quite a few apps, that help with organization skills, have already been discussed, this one still deserves a special mention! Why? Because it teaches one of the most essential skills to an autistic child – how to be patient and wait for his or her turn. And, even better, it does so by giving your child options to better utilize the waiting time by practicing other skills, thereby killing two birds with one stone (metaphorically). Many parents have reported significant productivity improvements in their child upon use of this application. This app is also suited for kids with ADHD/Attention Deficit Disorder or Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD).
My PlayHome ($3.99)
Some therapists argue, and rightly so, that Play Therapy is among the best techniques available for effectively honing the interactive skills of a child with Autism. In lieu of that, no Autism app review would be complete without mention of any app that enhances interaction and communication using ‘Play‘ techniques. With over 1 million iTunes downloads, My Playhome is meant for any child in need of an imaginative play.
The game is all about an iDoll House, where everything in that house (from the TV to the oven) is in working condition. It allows a child to create a world of his/her own where they can spend time doing what they like – no mom to say “don’t switch on the vacuum” and no dad to complain if the bookshelf is not how it should be! Priced at less than $4, this one is affordable most and should not be missed! Just take a look at some of the reviews in iTunes to get what I mean.
Time Timer ($2.99)
One of the common issues that kids with Autism and ADHD struggle most is with Time Management. Yet, it is such an important component in order to become a productive member of the society. The Time Timer displays time in relation to a red disc that keeps getting smaller as time passes. This helps autistic kids stay on focus as they begin to realize the value of time.
Not all Autistic/ADHD kids respond well to the idea of time in a red disc ticking away. There have often been cases where kids tend to get anxious and even get panic meltdowns if subjected to substantial time pressure. This may be counterproductive to your child’s development. Therefore, if your child demonstrates any distress symptoms upon the use of this app, please discontinue immediately.
Top Free Apps for Autism
There are far too many free and relevant apps for children with autism in the iTunes and Android App Store. Not all could be covered within the scope of this article. However, we have tried to compile some of the popular ones. Note that the term “what you pay is what you get” is particularly applicable for these autism Apps. Since free, they do not expect any miracle out of them. Having said that, these are still useful and nice add-ons that complement the premium apps discussed above.
Autism Apps (FREE)
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Focus Areas: None
This app doesn’t particularly do anything but is a handy reference for parents of autistic children. Autism Apps is simply a compilation of all popular apps that are available in iTunes store and are useful for kids diagnosed with Autism. Autism Apps has cataloged some of the top apps for autism into over 30 major categories. It also includes an advanced search functionality wherein you can search any app based on the following parameters: Price Range, Name, Category, Description, and Rating. Also, new apps, that might be relevant for Autism, gets included into its catalog on a frequent basis.
ABA Flash Cards & Games (FREE)
Identifying and responding to emotions appropriately is a much needed skill for autistic children. ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Flash Card and Games cover over 20 different emotions via interactive games and gorgeous flash cards. This helps autistic children recognize different non-verbal cues and emotions by using flash cards. It also allows parents to incorporate their own cards by uploading images and adding sound effects.
This is a free AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) app that enhances speech and communication in form of game play. All your kid needs to do is to tap a picture and the app will speak out. TapToTalk also allows users to choose from different AAC albums based on the needs of your Autistic child.
Talking Tom Cat (FREE)
This is an out and out fun app! Not just for kids with Autism, but even I like to play with Tom every now and then. Tom, literally speaking is your digital pet – play with it, poke it, throw water over its face or even cuddle it and laugh out loud on how Tom reacts to your actions. Tom is also pretty good at mimicking you – whatever you say, Tom plays it back to you in it own adorable style. For those parents who cannot afford a pet for your child (autism or not), this will bring joy to your kid’s face.
Paint Sparkles Draw (FREE)
Devices: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
Focus Areas: Painting, Coloring
I have often noted that kids with autism love coloring. It is one exercise that makes them resort to their true self, where there are no rules and there is no one to restrict their behavior. “Paint Sparkles Draw – My First Coloring Book” will allow them to do just that. Just download the app and hand over your tablet/iPhone to your kid – you would be surprised how quickly your child can forget that you exist 🙂
Toddler Puzzle Shapes (FREE)
If you haven’t tried it yet, you must do it now. Kids with Autism (except for ones with co-existing ADHD symptoms) loves to solve simple puzzles, and they are usually pretty good at it. My brother, who is autistic could solve a 100 piece puzzle in less than 10 minutes when he was young! This app, though not designed specifically for autistic children, can unleash that puzzle solving potential for your child.
“Toddler Puzzle Shapes” combines puzzles with matching fun games that improves visual perception and helps to develop motor skills by dragging and dropping pieces of puzzles to match a blinking silhouette.
For more information on Apps for Autism, please refer to the Autism Speaks Apps Catalog.