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Dec 02 2014 - 07:00 PM
AutisMate
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AutisMate is an iPad-based visual learning platform for students who struggle with cognitive and developmental delays. The app helps students comprehend language and assists with transitioning, routines, and organization through visual displays, schedules, and video modeling. The app brings reading to life for children struggling to master literacy skills. Developed by SpecialNeedsWare LLC in 2012, AutisMate is designed to be used by children of all ages.

Pros:

AutisMate features personalized visual scenes for each child. These scenes are created when users take pictures of their home or neighborhood with the app's timer-linked photo schedule and GPS-incorporated location identification. Other functions, such as video modeling, the full sentence builder, the content library, and the app's visual stories also help special needs students comprehend their surroundings by guiding them toward specific activities using media clues. The app allows children to work with pictures or visual symbols by choosing scenes and tapping buttons associated with audio-visual communications. Each button can play audio, video, or a sequence of images and/or videos. The array of options on the app suggests many potential use cases in learning and communication both at home and in school.

Cons:

AutisMate is available on the iTunes Store for $149.99, which is expensive compared to most educational iPad apps. Moreover, making the tool usable requires major customization including producing images, recording audio clips and videos, and creating categories or assigning pictograms to different scenes that reflect home, school, and other spaces. Customizing and creating media for the app may pose a digital-literacy challenge to parents and teachers. AutisMate could consider offering targeted digital literacy workshops to help adults customize the platform.

Our Takeaway:

AutisMate is a flexible and powerful app that can be used in many contexts with children of all ages for communication and learning purposes. Despite the high cost, it is low compared to other computer programs for students with special needs, which often start at around $10,000. Parent testimonials online suggest that integrating the app into life at home is seamless and could produce promising results.

The Bottom Line:

AutisMate is an innovative visual app for teachers and parents who work with children with special needs.

Image: Logo via AutisMate

|By: Carmen James|724 Reads