65+ Awesome Apps for Autism
Tablets, smartphones, and apps are opening up new worlds for people on the autism spectrum. From the boy in New York whose BFF is Siri to the girl in Australia whose mom created an app to help her communicate, people around the world are finding immersion, independence, and a voice through an ever-growing array of apps and devices.
But the immense variety of apps can overwhelm us all. How do you narrow down the number and figure out which ones work best?
We asked our instructional designers, ASD committee, staff Instructors, and Certified Instructors what apps they use or have heard good things about, and came up with these 65+ tried-and-true apps, tested by teachers, behavior interventionists, therapists, and other professionals and family members who support individuals with ASD. We hope they help you promote independence and meaningful interaction for the people in your care. Please be sure to share what works for you!
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Bugs and Bubbles
Educational app with multiple games involving color choosing and math.
Allows you to create choice boards using your own photos, text, and music.
Uses real faces to help people learn emotions. You can customize it with your own photos.
iDress for Weather
Uses an internal GPS to monitor the weather. A swipe to the left shows choices that are appropriate for the outside temperature.
Using a game approach, this app teaches words associated with environments like "Home" and "School," and you can customize it with your own photos.
This tracing app even lets you record your own language, add your own words, and pictures and names of family and friends.
The classic word game on an app! Teaches humor as well as writing and vocabulary.
Helps kids develop their reading, writing, and spelling skills using word-image-audio-phonics combinations.
My Piggy Bank Lite
Through positive reinforcement and repetition, this app teaches the value of money and how to count.
For beginning readers and special needs students. Connect with the world through this app's symbol-supported news articles, puzzles, and games.
Helps kids recognize words by sounds. Features over 6,000 recorded words grouped into 225 categories. Students can record themselves and compare their pronunciation to the app speaker. Totally customizable too--you can add and delete words!
Kids can learn sight words by sight, sound, and touch.
Create and share stories from image prompts. Promotes inferential thinking one icon at a time. Can have one or more players.
Teach Me Toddler . . . Teach Me Kindergarten . . . Teach Me First Grade! Going up to third grade, these educational apps contain age-appropriate learning topics and motivational reward activities.
Make music! Create tone patterns by touching the tones on the screen. These become sequences and the patterns are repeated.
Uses an illustrated social story to teach kids how to take turns. Includes a customizable sharing timer and visuals indicating My Turn, Your Turn, and Finished.
A free visual weather app that lets people see the weather that's forecast.
Described as a modern-day take on Mr. Potato Head, this app is a creative collage tool for helping students expand their visual awareness.
Social Skills Apps
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This app from Sesame Street and The Electric Company helps kids identify their emotions. Includes an emotions diary and allows users to create stories, as well as a Mood Dude.
Model Me Going Places 2
This visual teaching tool helps kids learn to navigate challenging locations in the community. Features photos of real kids modeling appropriate behavior.
The Social Express II
This app, part of The Social Express online program, teaches kids how to think about and manage social situations, develop meaningful relationships, and succeed in life.
For teens and adults to improve social skills.
Voice meter including sound sensitivity adjustments.
A comical game that addresses social etiquette and the unwritten rules for men's restrooms.
What would you do at school if...
With this app, students can work on solving problems and practicing social skills as they discuss situations such as, "What would you do if...your classmate teased you about your new shirt?"
With over 80 activities, this app helps parents and educators teach kids how to initiate interactions, get regulated, interpret nonverbals, and negotiate personal space.
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Helps kids interpret and express emotions and feelings. Includes Mr. Gassy and Mr. Burpy!
This one is great for helping calm through the use of breath control. It provides a breathing tutorial, plus a visual for how long to inhale and exhale.
Based on the Feelings Book, this app fosters The Three E's (Emotional Identification, Emotional Understanding, and Emotional Regulation) at home, at school, and in the community.
The colorful real-time fluid screen helps with self-regulation and calming.
Heat Pad Lite
Good for doodling, relaxing, and interacting with other users, this app simulates heat-sensitive surfaces and reacts to fingertips in changing colors.
Teaches skills for reducing anxiety. Includes calming activities and ways to change negative thoughts.
Self-calming much like Fluidity, Liquid Mirror also gives you the capability to capture photos.
Features a relaxing pond including fish and vegetation with real-time movement and sounds.
Sleep Meditations for Kids
With soothing story meditations, leading yoga and Montessori teacher Christiane Kerr tunes children into the creative part of their minds to relax them into sleep.
Take a Chill - Stressed Teens
Know a teen who feels the need to chill? This app is full of tools for teens to manage stress, practice mindfulness, and overcome negative thinking and patterns with positive activities.
Speech, Sign Language, & Augmentative Communication
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An animated phrasebook of the American Sign Language (ASL) gestures.
A digital text eReader of children's books. Comes with 12 free books.
Helps elementary-age children build grammatically correct sentences. Also helps with pronunciation and punctuation.
Videos of 99 ASL words. Supports English, Spanish, and five other languages.
These apps promote speech and language skills.
Tobii Sono Flex
Similar to Proloquo2Go, turn an iPad into an augmentative communication device. For a free app, the Sono Flex Lite contains a wide variety of words, phrases, and subjects.
A text-to-speech app in which you can copy and paste text from an email and also save text as an audio file.
Using icons, videos, and photographs, this app provides nonverbal and low-verbal users tools to communicate.
A visual voice meter with adjustable sensitivity to help kids monitor the volume of their own voice.
Knock Knock Numbers
Designed by a behavior analyst, this app offers a fun way to teach kids how to tell 20 different jokes, all while working on number recognition.
Staff Tools Apps
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Helps identify behavioral patterns, the frequency and reasoning behind behaviors, and cause & effect. This data-tracking tool can also graph results and convert them into an email.
A classroom management tool for working with students and parents! Teachers can use the app to give students encouragement for positive behavior and track behavior throughout the day. The instant messaging feature is helpful for keeping parents involved in their child's success. Students can also create their own accounts, customize their avatars, and review their own performance.
The CPI App
If you've had Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training, enhance your skills with 24/7 access to review CPI models, videos of key skills, and strategies for de-escalating a situation before it can turn into a crisis. Also includes an Ask CPI feature!
First Then Visual Schedule (FTVS)
Create your own visual supports for transitions, schedules, and more. Use the Picture Scheduler to create a list of items to be replayed back in order or to set an alert to pop up later.
Functional Behavior Assessment Wizard
Helps identify the function of a problematic behavior. Also generates reports and graphs and helps develop interventions to encourage positive behavioral change.
Functional Planning System
A cross between a video playlist and a calendar, this app allows you to schedule activities and set alarms with step-by-step videos that prompt the user through the completion of the activity. You can shoot your own pictures and videos and record audio, too. Great for working with both kids and adults on the autism spectrum! Watch a video about the app.
Provides a visual of goals and uses stars and smiley faces to fill in spots above rewards.
Another helpful tool for conceptualizing time.
Shows the remaining time until the next event.
Customize a work system task list to foster independence.
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Though not autism-specific, these apps are helpful for reducing the bullying that students with autism often face.
For parents, caregivers, and educators. This free app features simple conversation starters to get kids of all abilities talking about their day. Also includes warning signs of bullying and tips for preventing bullying.
Create social circles on a private social media platform. Users can use the Safe Zone feature to communicate anonymously with assigned agents such as school nurses, principals, and guidance counselors.
Gives kids a tool to report cyberbullying easily and anonymously.
Thanks for checking these out!
Now it's your turn to talk about helpful tools. What's your favorite app? Any you're excited to try?