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May 07 2013

Avatar of Peggy Shireley

Autism? Find the Right App for That!

Autism-apps

Did you know that 1 in 88 children in the United States is identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? For this 1% of the population apps for tablets and i-devices have become a great go-to tool because of their availability, portability, ease of operation, price, and immediacy. Not only have they become a popular tool, but apps are in constant development, some specifically for persons with ASD, and others that are not, but meet their needs. So how does one begin to separate the app winners from the also-rans?

I recently exhibited at a ASD conference where I attended a session by Mark Coppin. He has developed a systematic way consider the wide range of apps out there for people with ASD. The system uses a Padagogy Wheel as the framework for decision making, and I particularly like that he begins by considering the learning characteristics of the individual first. He identifies six broad learning characteristics from which one can begin narrowing down the apps – for example, is it communication, behavior, or social skills that need to be addressed? Once the learning characteristic is identified, one moves out from the center to discover common learning traits, followed by general app categories, and lastly specific apps with links to their descriptions. This model provides anyone looking to sort through the sheer mountain of ASD apps a starting place and a rationale for selection that is user friendly and logical. Try out this model, and if you find it helpful let me know.

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