There are many apps available on the market today which have been specifically designed to help children deal with the challenges of autism spectrum disorders. Kids with ASD can sometimes display difficulty with both verbal and nonverbal communication (such as poor eye contact or a lack of understanding of body language). Fortunately, there are some great apps available which help kids to reinforce social understanding and build better communication skills.
However, while there are a slew of excellent augmentative alternative communication apps for autism available, these options can cost over 100 dollars to purchase. That’s a large investment to make for many parents. While digital media does hold great potential for alternative learners, we recommend parents first introduce their kids to some of the free apps for autism before investing in some of the more robust (and pricier) AAC apps.
Below, you’ll find some of our top picks for the best free apps for autism. Read over the recommendations, and be sure to click through to the full guides for usage tips and activities to help make the most out of your child’ time with the apps.
Some of our Favorite Free Apps for Autism:
This app features flashcards, matching games, and visual multiple choice games across a wide range of subjects. For children who struggle with identifying non-verbal communications such as facial expressions, Bitsboard features mini-games designed to help users identify emotions in their peers, and users can create their own custom “boards” to review other social and communicative actions.
Smurks is designed to help users express thoughts, opinions, and emotions in digital communications via the use of pre-loaded cartoon facial expressions. The app comes with over 350 unique facial expressions encompassing a wide range of emotions. For children who struggle to identify and understand non-verbal language, Smurks can be a great way to help them to consistently and accurately identify indicators such as facial expressions.
See.Touch.Learn is another visual learning tool for the iPad that allows users to create image-based digital flashcards to review. Parents of children dealing with autism spectrum disorders can use the app to create their own custom visual flashcards and review material covering everything from social cues and body language to proper greetings and communication.
One of the largest challenges for many young children with ASD is overcoming issues involving the disconnect between people and the surrounding social experience. Designed specifically for children with autism spectrum disorders, FindMe presents various scenarios in which users will have to find and point out a human cartoon character amidst various other distractions.
Children facing the challenges of ASD sometimes have trouble associating objects with their uses. Put It Away creates a visual guide to help children learn about the objects around them and organize them by use and purpose. Because of its customization ability, this app can serve as a visual ‘map’ of common household activities and help your child understand how he fits in to the day-to-day functioning of the house.