Greetings everyone! I would like to share with you information I have obtained from a webinar I attended on Wednesday, April 15, 2015. The webinar was entitled, “5 Ways to Use Apps for Autism: Moving from Low Tech Visual Tools to High Tech Supports for Life Long Success.” Linda Hodgdon, Speech-language pathologist and author of “Visual Strategies for Improving Communication,” was the presenter. In this webinar, Mrs. Hodgdon focused on 5 key skill areas that apps can help preschoolers, school age and adults participate in life activities working toward achieving more independence.
Mrs. Hodgdon began by stating there is nothing wrong with using low tech visual tools, but individuals on the Autism Spectrum have more options available to them when using high tech tools such as Ipads, Iphones, Tablets, etc…She went on to share some advantages of using high tech devices such as: 1. it is more interesting to those individuals on the Autism Spectrum and 2. the devices can be mobile and more convenient for those individuals. She stated as the individual grows older, low tech devices may appear a bit “babyish” to them and the need for a more sophisticated way of communicating would become more appealing, which I agree.
As many of us are aware, most individuals on the Autism Spectrum are visual learners. Meaning, they understand what they see better than what they hear. The use of visual strategies offers great support to this population as they communicate with the world around them. Mrs. Hodgdon provide a few reasons to use visual strategies such as : 1. to give information, 2. explain social situations, 3. give choices, 4. teach routines and 5. teach new skills. All of the reasons can be accomplished using high tech devices such as Ipads, Iphones, Tablets, etc…
Mrs. Hodgdon shared 5 categories for high tech options. They are:
1. Time Management and Organization: Items that can be utilized to assist individuals are calendars, schedules and timers.
2. Get and Give Information: Apps that can be utilized are Pictello and Choiceworks. Also, using “google search” is a good way for older individuals on the Autism Spectrum to get information quickly.
3. Teach Skills or Follow Routines: Apps that can be utilized are the iMovie and The Planner Guide. Note: Research shows that video is a very effective teaching tool.
4. Support Social Situations: For teens and older individuals on the Autism Spectrum, the following are good apps to use: Conversation Builder Teen, Friend Maker and Evernote.
5. Meet Communication Needs (AAC): Apps that can be utilized are Proloquo2go, Dragon and Things. Also, a basic camera can be utilized to meet communication needs through pictures/photos.
We must keep in mind that the apps that are selected must be useful to the individual in order to have a positive outcome in regards to communication.
Mrs. Hodgdon stated there are millions of apps to search through to find exactly the one that you want, but the key is to ask yourself,”What am I looking to accomplish (with the individual)?”
“Life productivity for independence can make a huge long-term difference for individuals on the Autism Spectrum”~Linda Hodgdon
Thank you for reading the information I have provided above! Feel free to post comments! I look forward to our many discussions!