Proloquo2Go was Sharia’s first app and the first real augmented communication app, released first for iPhones in 2009.
AAC, or augmentative and alternative communication, is a series of interventions used to help children with severe communication disorders communicate. Many apps are designed based on this method of therapy.
David Niemeijer, founder and CEO of Amsterdam-based AssistiveWare, creator of Proloquo2Go, said that 90% of AAC users use an iPad for communication, and more than 25% use an iPhone or iPod Touch, according to the company’s surveys. About half of them reported improved speech abilities.
A search for “autism apps” for the iPad in Apple’s App Store brings 764 hits. About 142 were released this year.
The accessibility of online stores as a platform for apps has opened a new avenue for parents. Those with the know-how are able to create apps based on their child’s specific needs.
Tricia Estrada of San Diego has developed apps for her son, Evan. The app and website Wonkido has a series of animations, each about four to five minutes in length, depicting various social skills such as “asking to play” and “going potty.” By watching, kids acquire a database of episodes to draw from for future social situations, she said.
Estrada said the most appealing facet of the iPad is its mobility. Before, when Evan needed to learn a new concept in the middle of soccer practice or while at a restaurant, she had no way of showing him until the therapist gave him a card or bought a DVD weeks later. With the iPad or iPhone, it’s immediate.
“I think (the iPad) is revolutionizing the augmentative communication field,” said Dr. Oliver Wendt, assistant professor of speech, language and hearing sciences at Purdue University. “It’s a very cost-effective system. Before, we had these expensive, bulky items, which now can be replaced with an iPad.”
The equipment that was used previously could cost $9,000 to $15,000.
iPads are now available for as little as $399. A majority of the apps on the iPad are paid apps that cost 99 cents to $299.99. Some of these prices may seem rather expensive for regular iPad users, but autism communities are thrilled.
About Holt Think: Ed, Creativity, Tech, Administration
Tim Holt shares his views on education, creativity, education administration, technology and the merger of all of them here. Whether it is links, articles, essays, or news, he shares a ton of information. He hopes you can keep up.
My new blog, about my quest for a PhD is located at http://callingdrholt.tumblr.com
All of these entries are the sole opinion of Tim Holt and do not reflect the opinions of his employers, friends, relatives, or anyone he happens to know in passing.
All entries here are copyright (cc) Creative Commons except where noted or obvious.