This article, written by Lois Jean Brady, CCC-SLP, is part of Future Horizons’ Author News Series, where we feature contributions from our authors.
One of the greatest things about today’s technology is that it has given educators and parents opportunities to connect with individuals on the spectrum in a way that books, flashcards and other traditional techniques never could. Since its release in April 2010, the iPad has quickly become one of the most effective, motivating, indispensable learning tools ever for those on the autism spectrum – and just about everyone else!
In the past few years, we have seen an explosion in what mobile technology has to offer for the special needs population. Apple has incorporated terrific new accessibility features, developers have created fantastic apps, and companies are producing accessories to meet the needs of every user. But, the most impressive of all, is the way this technology is opening new possibilities for the special needs population: many users are showing capabilities that defy our expectations.
Non-verbal individuals are communicating; some are writing blogs, and even books! Students who would not touch a pencil have begun tracing letters on apps and can now write not only letters and words but also sentences! Others are developing speech, becoming literate, acquiring social skills, and getting just plain excited to learn. As a matter- of- fact, many are using educational apps as reinforcers: they are essentially working to “work.” The iPad is so appealing that, I have not had to open a bag or of Skittles or chips in months – these are boring, compared to a new app. It has truly been an exciting few years.
I wrote the revised and expanded edition of Apps for Autism to help parents, educators, therapists, and individuals with disabilities navigate through the mountain of apps and gadgets available. In this book, you will see a considerable emphasis on how to use the iPad with your child or student from leading experts in their field. I encourage everyone to explore the apps and features to see what these “magical” devices can do. I have been using the iPad for over four years; my students have not only made tremendous success, but have also mastered operating systems, navigated apps, and developed an interest in technology. Students carry their devices with pride, not protest.
Apps for Autism is arranged into 39 chapters from expressive language and concept development to motor control and parental/therapy toolbox. It is my sincerest hope that I can provide you with the information you need to acquire an appropriate iDevice, find accessories, avoid common pitfalls and not only implement apps, but more importantly give you the tools you need to search the iTunes Store to find apps that have the features that fit your individual needs.
More than a review of apps, the revised and expanded edition of
Apps for Autism has information, ideas, tips, and inspiration from the top experts in their field. Among the many outstanding professionals you will meet; Bjorn Jeffery (CEO of Toca Boca) who talks about the importance of edutainment, Jessica Solari tackles evidence based practices, Dr. Erik Raj tells us how to get your child to practice at home and Diane Bahr addresses dysphagia and autism. Take a moment to get to know all the awesome contributors to this expanded edition of Apps for Autism.
- Diane Bahr – Ages and Stages, LLC, author of Nobody Ever Told Me (or my Mother) That! Everything From Bottles and Breathing to Healthy Speech Development
- Elizabeth Bonker - Author of I Am In Here
- Lauren Enders - Augmentative Communication Consultant
- Russ Ewell – Father, Developer, and Senior Evangelist of the Bay Area Christian Church
- Patti Hamaguchi – Hamaguchi & Associates, author of Childhood Speech, Language & Listening Problems: What Every Parent Should Know
- Bjorn Jeffery – CEO at Toca Boca
- Dr. Erik X. Raj - Erik X. Raj Presents
- Shannon Des Roches Rosa - Editor/contributor, Thinking Person's Guide to Autism
- Penina Rybak – Socially Speaking, LLC
- Dr. Kathleen Scaler Scott – Author of Managing Cluttering: A Comprehensive Guidebook of Activities
- Dr. Stephen Shore - Author of Understanding Autism for Dummies
- Jessica Solari – Consonantly Speaking
- Barbara Smith – The Recycling Occupational Therapist and author of From Rattles to Writing: A Parent's Guide to Hand Skills
- Thomas Todd - Curriculum and instruction specialist
Lois Jean Brady is a speech-language pathologist and the author and illustrator of the newly revised and expanded Apps for Autism book. Follow Apps for Autism on Facebook and visit Lois' website to follow her work.