Apps to unlock the voice of autism

By Gabrielle Pickard,

Approximately 1.5% of all people have autism. The recorded prevalence of this neural development disorder has risen in recent years and reviews estimate that 1 -2 people per 1000 have autism. For the parents of children diagnosed with autism, the diagnosis is naturally a worrying and confusing time.  Fortunately traditional therapies in treating autism, such as repetitive speech and developmental activities, are finally being replaced by more sophisticated methods such as multi-touch technology, providing those suffering with autism a renewed sense of hope. As researchers develop low-cost applications, those living with autism are able to advance much faster than when using traditional methods of treatment. We take a look at three of the most recommended apps for autism to date.

Kids-with-Autism

Image courtesy of Flickr user ShannonRosa

TapSpeak Apps

Ted Conley started to develop TapSpeak apps, after his son Pierce was diagnosed with autism and told that he would never be able to communicate without the use of a device. The TapSpeak apps have helped Pierce and other autistic children communicate. These apps are easy to use and allow users to record messages, download pictures, have scanning and switch access, as well as PC-symbol libraries which are available for all the TapSpeak apps.

The TapSpeak Choice 2.0 app is now available and features a Navigation library, text to speech with support for 20 languages and 43 voices, enhanced auditory prompt support voice manager, amongst many more features to help people with disabilities communicate with the world.

Speaking to Latest Gadgets about how TapSpeak apps can improve the lives of children living with autism, Audrey Conley the marketing director of TapSpeak said:

“Our apps are focused on emerging communicators, children that are starting out with just learning cause and effect, that’s our TapSpeak Button. TapSpeak Sequence is able to help a child with schedules, recipes and songs, a countdown timer is will be put in the next update. TapSpeak Choice, helps children express choices from 2 to 56 on a screen as well as compose sentences making requests or statements.”

Talking about the feedback TapSpeak had received from the parents of autistic children who have used TapSpeak apps for communication difficulties, Audrey Conley commented:

“We have had feedback from parents who have tried more complicated (communication) apps and have found that their child was not ready for that level of communication, but TapSpeak seems to be a great starting point for many of these children. The TapSpeak apps were all built as family of apps with the traditional progression from app to app.”

Visit www.conleysolutions.com for more information on the TapSpeak apps.

Grace

The Grace App is a non-speaking, simple picture exchange system created to help people living with autism communicate. This ultra-simple non-verbal app is designed for both iPhone and iPad and enables children with learning difficulties such as autism to communicate through complete sentences by linking together colourful images and symbols. Grace App was winner of the 2010 Irish Web Awards and United Nations World Summit Award Mobile.

iConverse

iConverse functions as a picture exchange communication system (PECS) to help autistic children and adults communicate with others. This innovative app features six built-in communication tiles that represent an individual’s most basic needs. When activated by the touchscreen, the icons provide both a visual and auditory representation of the specific need.

This easy to use, effective and discreet assisted communication app is a desirable replacement of the bulky and expensive communication devices of the past.

  • stan freeman

    All these apps are priced to high. There are many FREE apps that work much better. Verbally is PHENOMENAL & is FREE. Also, many people around the country have been using the Talking Tom Cat with great results. There are plenty of free apps you can design your own PECS system. Any app over 4.99 for Autism is simply playing off of vulnerable parents. More money DOESN’T equal better results.

  • CAROLINE CURRAN

    bought this app (tap speak choice )as my daughter uses boardmaker at school and home,with a bit of work made her a complete communication book ,easy to do and to use.This app layers up has home buttons to return to home page .has full use of boardmaker symbols.can be used with a sentence strip or without as a pointing book.so is great for children who like to make sentences or those who like to point.very good value for money.The navigation page can be completely personalised so makes eay use for child.very happy with tapspeak choice app costing me £74.99