Category Archives: technology for autism

Simple Ways to Encourage Reading

Studies show that reading is beneficial to children in many ways including social growth, intellectual progress, and emotional understanding. But how do you encourage your child to develop a love of reading?  Here are just a few ways to integrate reading into your life and help your child develop a lifelong love of books.

  • Read to and with your child for 30 minutes a day. Talk about what you have read and find books that intrigue or excite your child.
  • When a child is an infant or toddler, supply lots of books to look through and make reading a part of their daily routine either at bedtime when he/she is more likely to be sleepy or as another part of your daily activities.
  • Go to the library and get your child his/her own library card. The idea that they can borrow and read anything opens up an amazing world for children.
  • Model good reading by reading books for enjoyment yourself.
  • Write notes to your child in their lunch or around the house that they will want to read.
  • Put signs around the house that label items.
  • Play games to find words and letters while you are out doing errands.
  • Work with your child’s school to find ways to encourage reading.
  • Create a cool place to read in the child’s room or playroom. A tent or nook can really make reading fun.
  • Listen to storytellers at story hour.
  • Don’t be too picky about what books your child is reading – any reading is good reading.
  • Listen to audiobooks in the car instead of playing on handheld devices.
  • Read as a family.
  • Take field trips to places he/she has read about.
  • Encourage your child to write a story themselves.
  • Praise any progress in reading.
  • Give books as gifts. There is just something about having books to call your own that every child should experience.
  • Text your child.
  • Have fun!  Reading should be a joy not a chore so make it fun in your own way!

Helpful Apps for Autism

Ole Ivar Lovaas, Ph.D., a world-renowned autism expert, once said, “If a child cannot learn in the way we teach, we must teach in a way the child can learn.” The recent explosion of technology, specifically in the form of the easy-to-carry and operate tablet has opened many doors to students who learn and communicate in different ways – most notably children with autism.  There are hundreds, possibly thousands of apps out there to help children with social, behavioral, and communication difficulties.  Finding the right one is the trick.  Going to the app store and searching under “autism” will only overwhelm you.  Instead, search for the skill that you wish to work on such as: behavior and social skills, cause and effect, alternative communication, rewards, assessments, social stories, visual schedulers, and, of course, play time!  Here is a list from experts at Parents Magazine, Parenting, Autism Speaks and Laptop that can assists with many of the skills teachers and parents hope to improve upon this school year.

Communication –

  • Proloquo2Go is an award-winning symbol-supported communication app providing a voice to over 125,000 individuals who cannot speak. It is designed to promote growth of communication skills and foster language development through research-based vocabularies. Its innovative features provide support for parents, teachers and therapists to implement AAC best practices.
  • Similar to Proloquo2Go, TouchChat HD is another AAC app, which uses pictograms to help individuals construct sentences. TouchChat has seven English-speaking voices, and sentences can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, text message and email. TouchChat HD Lite ($9.99) lets users build sentences, but does not have audio playback.

Visual Scheduling –

  • First Then Visual Scheduling – is helpful for children with autism who require a clear, set schedule to help prevent them from acting out as a result of something unexpected.
  • Choiceworks – The Choiceworks app is an essential learning tool for helping children complete daily routines (morning, day, & night), understand & control their feelings and improve their waiting skills (taking turns and not interrupting). Created with the support of leading hospitals and child development specialists, this app is designed for caregivers to provide clear and consistent support to foster a child’s independence, positive behavior, and emotional regulation at home and in the community. It can also be customized for teachers in a school setting.

Skills –

  • My PlayHome – allows children to work on play and social skills.
  • ModelMe Kids – Great for modelling behaviors.
  • Social Stories Creator – An amazing app for easily creating, sharing and printing educational social stories, visual schedules and beautiful memories.

Autism Speaks has an excellent resource that organizes apps and research completed on each at Autism Apps – Autism Speaks