The Best Autism Apps of the Year

Written by Anna Schaefer on June 22, 2017
Best autism apps of the year

 

We’ve selected these apps based on their quality, user reviews, and overall reliability as a source of support for people living with autism. If you want to nominate an app for this list, email us at nominations@healthline.com.

Autism affects 1 in every 68 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Children and adults with autism as well as their families, teachers, and loved ones come from all walks of life.

Though symptoms vary widely from one person to the next, they may include speech delays or complete absence of speech, lack of interest in friendships or relationships, difficulty with social cues, fixation, repetitive behaviors, avoiding eye contact, and poor motor skills.

For both parents of children and people living with autism, help may come in the form of technology. We’ve rounded up the best apps for autism in hopes they’ll reach and impact more people.

Autism Therapy with MITA

iPhone rating: ★★★★★

Android rating: ★★★★★

Price: Free

Developed by three Ivy League researchers, Autism Therapy with MITA is an app designed to help children with autism learn using pivotal response treatment, a type of therapy for autistic children. MITA stands for “mental imagery therapy for autism” and uses puzzles to improve childhood development, attention, language, and visual skills, according to the app makers. We love that this app is scientifically based and the design is both simple and attractive. It’s sure to keep kids interested.

Sesame Street and Autism

iPhone rating: ★★★✩✩

Price: Free

Everyone knows “Sesame Street.” But did you know the iconic television show has also developed an autism app? This app is as much for parents as it’s for children. It features some of your favorite “Sesame Street” characters. It also has offers interactive family routine cards, a digital storybook, several videos, and how-to articles for parents. It’s a perfect choice for preschool-aged children on the autism spectrum.

Sensory Baby Toddler Learning

iPhone rating: ★★★✩✩

Android rating: ★★★★★

Price: Free

Sensory Baby Toddler Learning wasn’t specifically designed for children with autism, but it’s certainly useful for parents raising children on the spectrum. You can choose between backgrounds and multiple effects that put your children in an underwater adventure. They can control where fish swim using their fingers and create bubbles and fireworks with just a touch.

Autism Read & Write

Android rating: ★★★★★

Price: Free

From social exchanges to traditional education, the experiences of children on the spectrum are unique. Autism Read & Write attempts to tackle one small area of their journey: reading and writing. Designed for school-aged children, the app allows parents to customize difficulty levels and jump from lesson to lesson.

ABC Kids - Tracing & Phonics

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: Free

Tracing & Phonics from ABC Kids wasn’t specifically designed for autistic children, but like many others on our list, it’s completely appropriate and could prove fun and educational. The app’s bright colors and simple, engaging design walks children through tracing activities, showing them how letters are drawn using their finger on the touch screen. Paired with sounds to help teach phonics, the app is a great tool.

LetMeTalk

iPhone rating: ★★★★★

Android rating: ★★★★★

Price: Free

Some children and adults on the autism spectrum are completely nonverbal. LetMeTalk is designed for them. It utilizes augmentative and alternative communication, allowing users to select images to create sentences. The app contains more than 9,000 images and allows users to create a profile that stores their personal vocabulary. Bilingual families can even switch between languages.

Autism Parenting Magazine

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Android rating: ★★★★✩

Price: Free

Autism Parenting Magazine is a print magazine designed for parents raising children on the autism spectrum. This app is made for subscribers. The app itself is free, but subscriptions cost $2.99 monthly. With a subscription purchase, readers are delivered the insightful, engaging issues monthly. They feature expert advice, tips, news, research, and personal stories from other families living with autism.

Kinder Tangram: Build a House

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: Free

Tangrams have had a special place in early classrooms for decades. This app brings those tools to your phone. Using tangrams teaches children spatial skills, critical thinking, and geometry. The colors are bright and the difficulty levels are progressive. This makes the app engaging and customizable.

iPrompts

iPhone rating: ★★★✩✩

Price: $49.99

This app’s design is based on peer-reviewed scientific research. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education. iPrompts is used by special educators and therapists in the treatment of children with autism. It allows users to design visually based daily schedules for their children. The app includes a timer and voice and video prompts.

Proloquo2Go - Symbol-based AAC

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: $249.99

Proloquo2Go is an app specifically designed for people who are nonverbal. It promotes language development and allows people to communicate through the use of pictures. It’s designed not only for children with autism, but their families, therapists, and educators. It presents users with images they’re most likely to use and has a level-based system for basic to advanced vocabularies.

Avaz Pro - AAC App for Autism

iPhone rating: ★★★★★

Price: $199.99

Another comprehensive tool for children who are nonverbal, the Avaz Pro app is a tool that gives a voice to children who struggle to communicate. According to the creators, it was designed with 25 schools and 500 children in an effort to create the most useful tool possible. There are over 15,000 images that can be turned into words along with the ability to track your child’s progress. You can even turn their vocabulary into a print book.

TouchChat HD - Lite

iPhone rating: ★★★✩✩

Price: $9.99

TouchChat HD - Lite is a wonderful communication tool for people with autism who are nonverbal. It lets you use a voice synthesizer in English or Spanish or recorded messages to communicate. There are multiple voice personalities, so you can pick the right one for you. Almost everything about this app is customizable. You can even upload your own images using your phone’s camera.

Birdhouse - for Autism

Android rating: ★★★★✩

Price: Free

All parents need help staying organized, but parents of children with autism may have even greater needs. With Birdhouse, parents and caregivers can keep track of behavior, medical information, schedules, nutrition, and more. You can track your child’s diet and sleep cycles, too. The app also lets you track changes in their medication and notes from their therapy sessions as well.

ABA Flash Cards & Games - Emotions

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: $0.99

Learning to identify and react appropriately to emotions is something that people with autism may have difficulty with. With ABA Flash Cards & Games, your child can begin to learn these concepts. Help them learn to identify when someone is happy, afraid, or sad using more than 500 photographs. You can save favorites, switch between 12 play modes, and customize speed to make the learning process highly individualized.

Endless Reader

iPhone rating: ★★★★★

Android rating:★★★★★

Price: Free

One of the first steps in learning to read is recognizing sight words, which are some of the most commonly used words in children’s books. Endless Reader begins here, teaching children the words most important in learning to develop reading skills. The app and first package of words are free! The app uses colorful monsters and fun sounds to keep users entertained and engaged.

Touch and Learn - Emotions

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: $1.99

What does a sad face look like? For people with autism, the answer to this and similar questions isn’t always so simple. This app helps teach these facial cues to autistic children. It uses more than 100 photos to show expressions and body language that we encounter every day. You can customize the app so the images and emotions are appropriate for your child.

Mood Meter - building your emotional intelligence

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: $0.99

People on the autism spectrum may not only have difficulty understanding how other people emote. They may have difficulty understanding their own emotions, too. Mood Meter is specifically designed to help people get in touch with their emotions. You use it to gauge your feelings each day or at regular intervals throughout the day. Look back and identify any patterns and grow your emotional vocabulary.

Starfall ABCs

iPhone rating: ★★★★✩

Price: Free

Starfall ABCs is an app created to help children learn the alphabet. It’s a great tool for some children with autism. It allows them to progress at their own pace, learning to recognize letters and the sounds associated with them. The app uses bright colors and games to keep children engaged and entertained.

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