A smartphone, tablet, or iPad can be used for therapy, communication and/or scheduling. Using the technology we have available is one way we can recycle what we already own to use for something our child needs. Let’s discuss affordable learning apps for autism that we know work as well as how to afford them.
Affordable Learning Apps For Autism
This communication app is the holy grail by which all other communication apps are compared. It’s uber expensive at almost $200. Not saying it’s not worth its’ price, just that’s a wad of cash. The best time to get it is during April when they discount it for Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd) to half price. Always check for it then or see if your speech therapist will recommend insurance pay for it. They also have a printed version you can use in a pinch and it’s FREE! You can download it even if you don’t use their program.
Duolingo kids is an amazing way app for children to work on speech therapy. The lessons are based on games so kids will be having plenty of fun while learning. There are also lots of cute animated characters to help them along their way! Duolingo helps your kids to build up expressions and sentences, and repeat those often helping them to hear and practice sounds that they are working on in speech. You can use the app both online and offline making it available for use wherever you are.
Spellwick is a magical spelling game, where your kids get to earn ‘witch money’ within a time limit (set by the magic wand). Your kids will defeat evil wizards, while perfecting their spelling and playing magical karate! Spellwick focuses on the spelling 300 of the most commonly used words in English, including plenty of high frequency words. If you’re looking to help your child with spelling, Spellwick is definitely worth a try.
The handy app is FREE! It’s an app that details all the apps designed for people with special needs. My favorite part is that it reviews them as well allowing you to get a glimpse into the app’s strengths and weaknesses before purchasing. This can be a lifesaver for seeing if an app will do what you need it to do. Find it in the app store on iTunes and Android.
My Tutor Lab
My Tutor Lab is an on-demand tutoring app, simply download and search ‘math tutor near me’ and you’ll have a tutor within a matter of minutes! You can book one-offs, repeat sessions, or create a schedule with your favourite tutor. You can have your tutoring session at your home, a friend’s or even at the library! From math to English, history or science; whatever your child is struggling with, one of the excellent tutors can help get them up to speed.
This is a great way to get an assessment of where your child is in relation to his peers. The tutor can spend some time working with your child and give you some ideas on how to work on their weaknesses. Sometimes it takes a tribe to homeschool autism. It’s also a great idea for subjects that your child may learn better from someone else. Relationship trumps academics so if there is something you need to hire out then do it.
National Geographic Kids
The National Geographic Kids is an excellent print magazine where children can read about science, animals, geography, archaeology and more. You can also do all of that in an app. There are project ideas for your kids to make things plus regular competitions- which are pretty exciting! You’ll find cool quizzes, jokes and puzzles, photo games and lots more.
This is a fun app that will keep kids busy while waiting for all those therapy appointments. It’s educational too. Win-win for everyone.
Mixerpiece is an award winning app designed by artist Giuseppe Ragazzini. The app functions as a digital board with hundreds of shapes and items that your kids can use to create art pieces. Along the way, they’ll also learn about art history. The objects that you can mix together are mostly taken from famous art pieces. Simply click on the object and you can learn about which painting the item was originally from. When your children are all finished, they can save their art or send it as a postcard. Grandparents love to get postcards even if they are digital.
You get the added benefit of fine motor work as they move the pieces around. I find this works best on an iPad or tablet.
Need a resource for visual schedules and timers? ChoiceWorks allows your child to follow along visually what is happening. This enables transitions to go smoother. We all know children with autism think in pictures. Giving them the visual of what happens next helps keep their world orderly.
Social Stories Creator and Library
FREE! An app for creating, sharing, and printing educational stories, visual schedules and other items. There are in app purchases so always know what you are clicking on. It helps to be able to get an appropriate social story for your situation. When you are approaching a new situation, it always helps to get your child comfortable with what’s going on. Social stories help them know what to look for in a situation. It also becomes a great way to practice in advance some appropriate reactions to situations that may occur.
FREE! There are several versions with different categories. Developed by parents with the help of their speech pathologist, it helps work on expressive language skills which can be deficient in children with autism. It offers in app purchases as well.
An online magazine that lets you read the articles in an app on your phone. The app is free to download with the purchase most likely being the actual magazine. Great magazine. Highly recommend you subscribe. There is always a ton of useful information to make your autism journey easier.
Sesame Street and Autism
A FREE app that has videos as well as articles for both children and parents to learn more about autism awareness. Who doesn’t love Sesame Street? Elmo has always been a fast friend here in Autismland.
How do you afford learning apps that are helpful for autism?
Most of the apps listed above are for iPhone, iPad or iPod. I’m not saying Android has bad apps. I know that the Apple ones are tested before approval. This makes it less likely that you are going to purchase an app that completely doesn’t work. The best time to buy an Apple product is either the back to school sales or Black Friday sales. Be bold in telling your family and friends which ones would be beneficial for your child with autism.
Some of them are certainly available in the Google Play store for Android. We are an Apple family so I can attest to that facet.
How to afford the apps? iTunes gift cards. Ask for them for every major holiday. Target often has them on sale for 15% off then use your Redcard for an extra 5% off as well. Sam’s Club often has discounts on them as well. What I have often done is to set aside a few dollars or just a dollar every week to buy them when they are on sale. You could apply this same concept to the necessary item to save up while you wait for the best sale.
Point is that apps can be an integral part of your child’s autism action plan. You just need to be smart about when and how to purchase them. No app is worth going broke or going into debt. Apps are a tool to be used to make life with autism manageable. Be smart in how and when you purchase them.